The nature of ministry is filled with stress and a good measure of anxiety. For our own emotional health, we need to develop strategi es in which we interrupt that stress by entering a sanctuary, whether physical or psycho-logical, and refocus ourselves. Even brief Sabbaths of 10 to 20 minutes, practiced on a regular basis, can have both a calming and rejuvenating effect on us.
Try a simple experiment. If you have either a watch or an electronic calen-dar that has an alarm built in, set it for 10:30 and 3:30 every day for a month. When the alarm goes off, enter a brief Sabbath time in which you offer thanks to God for your life and God’s call in your life. If you are with someone when the alarm goes off, simply zone out for a minute for an interior prayer, or if that is impossible, make a note to do that at the first opportunity. If you are not with someone or can excuse yourself, perhaps for a bathroom break, enter the stall and spend 5 minutes alone with God. The objective is not measured in length of time but the regularity of interrupting your day twice to enter a sanctuary that helps you stay in touch with that which is important.
There are many ways that we can care for our emotional health. It can be as simple as making sure that you interrupt the intensity of your work with occasional experi-ences of fun. That is why a hobby can be so important. For some people keeping a journal can be a way of caring for their emotional life. Exercise can care not only for the body but emotions as well.
Taking time to engage in the pleasure of relationships can also help our emotional state. God’s statement in Genesis 2:18 that it is not good for humans to be alone speaks to a major truth that transcends though certainly includes the issue of sexuality. Good relationships are critical for our emotional health. This is the value of lunch or coffee with a clergy colleague.
Stop and make a list of the ways that you can interrupt the intensity of your life through some type of Sab-bath experience. Add to the list other ways that you might try. Then intentionally practice healthy interrup-tions on a daily basis.
Submitted by Brooke Newell, Director of Public Policy Advocacy, NYS Council of Churches[clear]