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For pastors, Sunday can be the most draining day of the week. Intense people interaction, teaching or preaching, seeing our critics, trying to remember names, and attempting to put our own problems aside to listen to other peoples’ problems add up to a stress-filled day. The very day we want to be at our best requires more from us than any other day. As a result, we can easily make one or more of the five biggest mistakes pastors make on Sundays. Evaluate this list to find out how many you make. I follow the list with some suggestions on how to avoid them.
Failure to recognize allostatic load.
Term - Wear - Body - Stress - Bodies
This term describes the wear and tear on our body from chronic stress. Our bodies have limits. Yet, when we are under stress for long periods of time, our bodies suffer. Prolonged stress causes sustained high levels of the stress hormone cortisol which, along with an overabundance of other neurotransmitters and hormones, can cause heart problems, weight gain, impaired immunity, decreased memory due to brain cell atrophy, and diminished brain functioning. If we don’t manage our stress during the week, we will limit our ability to function at our best on Sundays.
Too much emotional labor.
Psychologists - Work - Job - Labor - Effort
Psychologists call the emotional work necessary for any job emotional labor. It’s the effort required to put on a public face when we interact with others. Unless you’re a grump or you hole up in your office until right before the Sunday service, your role requires considerable emotional labor as you interact with people on Sundays. However, when we surface act too much, put on a fake smile, we’ll quickly use up the energy stores God gave us for the day.
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