Tomorrow morning, less than 12 hours from now, I’ll go back to work after an entire week of vacation.
It seemed as if it had been absolutely forever since I had a vacation. There was, of course, maternity leave, but I only took a month off and there was, of course, a newborn and not much sleeping. In March, I went back to work full-time and despite the occasional sick day and my trip to Malawi, this was my first time off.
Six glorious days, plus weekends.
I love my job. I would continue to work in my department at our church for my entire life if God so willed, but even still, work is work sometimes, and I think that’s ok. Sometimes, the nitty-gritty details aren’t so life-giving. I don’t particularly love hanging up memory verse posters or hole-punching or restocking animal crackers, and goodness, all the e-mails.
And sometimes, ministry is stressful. Eternity is in the balance, and while I know Jesus is in control, there is so much riding on what happens on Sundays. I know that God can open a child’s ears even if the curriculum is not just so, and I know the Holy Spirit can soften an adult’s heart even if my welcome isn’t perfect. And yet. I just want to do my job so. well.
These days, my perfectionist tendencies have lessened their grip on my home life. I don’t mind that there are crumbs on the floor or that a frame on the gallery wall is hanging crooked. I don’t mind that I forgot to buy a cinnamon broom at Publix, and I don’t mind that we ate frozen pizza for dinner twice this week.
However, I haven’t been able to shake my perfectionism at work. I pride myself on working really hard, on accomplishing a lot, and on making things better. God has humbled me quite a bit over the past several years with that regard, but I still find myself desperate for approval and terrified of failure. It’s exhausting, and it often leads me riddled with guilt when I just can’t cross every item off the to-do list, fill every hole in the schedule, execute everything perfectly.
All that to say, I needed vacation. I almost cried tears of joy driving away from work that Thursday, because I needed rest and relief so badly. I felt it deep in my bones.
Before we left for Charleston, I purged my iPhone apps. I deleted Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, as well as the Gmail app. I deleted the only two games I play. I tried to remove everything that I go to when I need rest but doesn’t actually re-create or rejuvenate me.
This week, I spent time reading and scrapbooking. I cleaned or did laundry only when I felt like it. I desperately ignored the word “should.” I went for walks, which is, admittedly, something I have to talk myself into but know is worth it. I got a pedicure and a frappuccino, using gift cards I had saved expressly for this purpose. I took lots of photos with my nice camera, I added more stuff to our “donate” pile, I decorated for fall. I took naps. I wrote.
I am going back to work tomorrow more refreshed than I have felt in a long time. I know, without a doubt, that I will be able to do my job better this week–more focused and more energized–than I have in a very long time.
Here’s the deal, though: I had to fight off the guilt every. single. day. Every day, I needed to pray.
Jesus, help me walk in freedom and not guilt. Help me remember that my worth does not lie in my job. Help me remember that You are at work in our church whether or not I am. Help me value important over urgent. Help, help, help. Thanks.
As He does.