Manic Monday and brain fog
So, yes, there are Mondays. Every worker has one. One person recently said that waking on Monday morning is a reminder of a universal proposition that all men are created jerks. That may be so. But, it's still the day when the regular schedules resume, when we re-join the rat race and punch the clock again after a day or two of R & R. In a world that works around the clock they're not always on Mondays anymore either. In my previous life as a banker and hospital financial administrator Monday was sometimes a relief from the rigors of heavy weekend house work, family time on the run, and hard play. But, usually, it was manic Monday. Since answering his call to ministry 36 years ago Mondays have morphed into something else. They became the day of brain fog.
Most of my old pastor mentors advised me to take Mondays off. It's a down day physically and emotionally so they usually set Monday aside for recovery. Early on I tried to play golf on a few Mondays. or spend some time with Harriet, or just read and relax for the day. I flunked all of them---too physically spent to be my best on the golf course, too emotionally wasted to be good company for Harriet, and too distracted to get much out of a book, even the light reading stuff. So, I soon decided to take Fridays off when I could be more of my best for my golf partners and family.
That brings me to Monday fog. What do I advise younger pastors and church staff ministers to do when Monday fog shrouds them throughout the day. Here's a few thoughts---
1. Don't fight it. Monday is usually a down day. Go with it.
2. Avoid doing creative things. Brain fog robbed me of my usual ideation
theme. So, I wrote news letter articles on the previous Thursday and took a
pass on anything requiring creativity.
3. Be pastoral. On Mondays I would visit the hospitals, do pastoral care for
those needing my attention, and concentrate on relational ministry. They are
all perfect activities for a day when the synapses aren't firing 100%.
4. Use the telephone or other contact media. Down days are good times to
park, make a few calls, catch up on emails, do some contacts, and other
duties that don't require a lot of movement.
5. Contact fellow ministers. Be an encourager as they experience brain fog
too. They will encourage and lift you in the process. Maybe even have lunch
with your accountability group on Mondays.
But, the deal is, don't take your day off when you're experiencing Monday brain fog.
Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.
Mark 6:31, ESV
He was teaching them the discipline of rest. That's a hard one for those of us on call most of the time. But, we must learn how to find rest and recovery, and also how to use those days when we know we're not going to be hitting on all cylinders.
How about the rest of us who would rather have our gums scraped and two root canals rather than face Monday? How in the world can we make best use of the time (see Ephesians 5:16, ESV) when one-seventh of it is taken by Mondays? Here's another thought or two---
1. Focus on others. Philippians 2:3 commands "...in humility count others more
significant than yourselves", certainly a good intro in manic Monday.
2. Let your light shine. Monday is not a day off being a Christian. it is often the
darkest day of the week for some people. So, shine brighter on Monday. i
know a lady who made a set of flash cards for use in her car during the
Monday morning commute. You know, "Have a nice day", "Can I pray for you
right now?" (Expecting just a nod or wave), "Be safe as you travel", "God
loves you", etc. In several years of this she's never had a negative reaction.
3. Be an encourager. Road rage happens on Mondays more than any other day.
How about a wave or a smile, letting someone change lanes or make a turn,
or any other nice gesture that takes some pressure off for someone.
4. Know God is working in your life. Read John 5:17, ESV for a reminder.
5. Give thanks. Do I need to explain this one?
Oh, yes! Today is Monday. I'm no longer in the workforce or the active pastorate so there's none of the manic Monday or brain fog stuff anymore. But, all day I will be out and about in this work-a-day world and try to find a way to brighten it for the people who are singing, "Monday, Monday, Can't trust that day".
Happy Monday! Smile!