Friday my brain wasn’t working right. I was having difficulty concentrating, typing was excruciatingly error prone, loud noises made me jump, and when people spoke to me my entire body tensed up. This happens from time to time, typically as allergy season ebbs and flows through the year. It’s never fun, but the cure is very simple.
I take a mental health day.
Friday morning, as I struggled with completing my sermon, I knew it was time for one of these days. My level of frustration with myself was off the chart, and I simply didn’t feel well. My wife graciously came up to our room and said, “I think you just need to lie down and take a nap.” So after I finished my sermon, I did.
Friday is still a “work” day, however, so I felt obligated to put up a flag which let people know I wasn’t going to be “on top of things” that day. My brain simply couldn’t cope. So I went on FaceBook and posted,
Feeling awful, grouchy, and keep screwing up everything I touch.
I declare a mental health day.
I know a great many pastors would not dare to post such a sentiment on Facebook, lest they bring the wrath of their congregation down on them. I know pastors who are spied upon to make sure they are keeping office hours – posting such a comment would warrant a comment at the next council meeting. I know pastors whose people think they really do only work one day a week 1 – if they said they needed a “mental health day” their congregation certainly wouldn’t understand. I know pastors of congregations which believe their pastor’s entire existence should be devoted to them – a comment about being weary in such a setting would be considered selfish or weak.
I didn’t pause for a second.
This is not a boast of my pastoral prowess or incredible spiritual authority, the truth is I have little of either 2.
It is an acknowledgement of the strength of Central Baptist’s community. Folks from the congregation didn’t berate me for showing public weakness. Rather, they were actually quite supportive.
I resemble that remark!
Some gave me a pass,
You have my permission.
Others seemed like they wanted to join me,
Sounds good to me…….
Still more were just interested in my overall well-being,
How’s the healing process coming along?
I see that I need to step up my prayers for you.
More than that, folks in my wider ABCNJ family also chimed in with many similar sentiments. It’s wonderfully freeing to know I can be myself around my Christian family. I know from experience when I am lost out in left field someone will take me aside and tell me to get a grip 3. I also know when I’m a mess and need to step away to let my whole-being get back on the same page, they will stand aside and tell me to take the time to settle down.
On Friday afternoon I laid down on the couch and watched several episodes of MASH. The family went out and I enjoyed the quiet.
I feel better, and I’m thankful for the freedom to take the time to do so.