We are back from vacation and I am looking at mounds upon piles upon loads of things that all have to get done RIGHT NOW. Everything is a priority when you get back in the groove of things. As I have started to work through the piles on my desk, the books in my “to read” stack, and all of the stuff in my various inboxes, my general inclination is quite simple:
I don’t think this is unique to those who suffer from depression, but that does make things worse. When you have a lot of things to do, with many different responsibilities that often compete with one another, it is very easy to go into shut-down mode and not be able to get off the ground.
How do you move forward? Here are a few things that work for me:
1. Recognize what’s going on and be honest about it.
2. Try to gather everything that has to get done into one place, one list, so that it is all there and there aren’t any loose ends niggling at your mind.
3. Try to prioritize as much as reasonably possible what has to get done when.
4. Work it down to manageable chunks of what you can actually DO.
5. Start on the list.
6. Breathe and remember that you are one person, not a god. You can only do what you are able to do.
That’s what comes to my mind. What’s in yours?
As many of you know, the book has gone extremely well thus far. So well, in fact, that they are already out of print! We were able to offer them at no charge thanks to the generosity of LCMS World Relief & Human Care.
This brings me to my plea. Every box or book that went out included a donation envelope. They are currently trying to figure out how to do a second printing, but I expect it will come down in part to dollars and cents.
If you received a copy of the book and found it of benefit, I would ask you to consider making a donation to LCMS World Relief. You can send it and ask if they would consider reprinting it. I know that everyone want to do so, but finances are tight everywhere right now. Obviously I am biased, but I believe that a copy of this book ought to be sent to every pastor in the LCMS, or at least every circuit counselor. But to do this will cost several thousand dollars.
I’ll keep you all informed as I learn more. Thanks again to the good people at LCMS World Relief and Human Care for making this resource available!
-Pastor Todd Peperkorn
Every year for a while in the summertime I take my pastor hat off and put on my “Kathryn’s husband” hat on. My wife is the artistic director for an arts organization called SouthEast Wisconsin Performing Arts (SEWPA). Their flagship program is called Opera ala Carte, and involves about 30 high school and college students, 30 elementary students, a dozen dancers, and about a bazillion volunteers. This year they did an amazing production of The Fairy Queen by Henry Purcell and The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert & Sullivan.
It pretty much consumes the Peperkorn household for about a month and a half. It is also more fun than one family ought to be allowed to have. Between building sets, singing, working on publicity, parades, and heaven knows what else, we all get in the act somewhere.
But it’s all over now. The kids are heading back to school or off to college. Things slowly return to normal. The sets are struck, the paperwork is coming, etc., etc., etc.
This has also gotten me thinking of how much this mirrors the life of the pastor. We go through cycles and periods of intense work and preparation, where it culminates and is then over in a short period of time. Lent. Easter. Advent. Christmas. VBS. This is interspersed with the daily work of the office that never ends (calls, weekly services, bible class, etc).
How do you manage these cycles so that they can have their own fulfillment, yet at the same time continue to look forward to what is coming next? I have a pretty obsessive personality, so it is easy for me to immerse myself in an event or an emergency or a place. What is hard for me is the daily grind. If I don’t have some big thing coming, I get bored, which makes me depressed.
How do you manage these fine lines of time and energy? Do you think there is a comparison here?
Below you will find a link to an article that indicates anti-depressant use has doubled in the US:
Reuters AlertNet – Antidepressant use doubles in US, study finds
Here’s the quotation I found most interesting:
“The survey did not look at why, but the researchers made some educated guesses. It may be more socially acceptable to be diagnosed with and treated for depression, they said. The availability of new drugs may also have been a factor.”
What do you think? How taboo is it to be diagnosed with depression? Is it more or less so if you are a pastor or some other type of church worker?