In the USA, April 15 is the day that income tax filings are due. The forms are somewhat complicated, and can be quite frustrating at times. Every year, many Americans work on their returns on the very last day, hoping to get them into the mail on time to avoid penalties.
Now that the deadline is past, I’d like to think about the budgets in our own lives – not so much for money, but for time, energy, nourishment, fun, etc. How do we seek balance between the demands on us and the self-care we need?
With that in mind, I offer a tax-inspired Friday Five for our spiritual, emotional, physical, and social budgets:
- Taxes: What events do you find “taxing” – taking energy, time, or otherwise being a bit of a drain? Maybe Christmas or Easter takes a lot out of you. Maybe it’s the annual meeting. Maybe it’s gearing up for confirmation. Or maybe it’s something that’s not church-related at all – maybe it’s doing laundry, or taking the car to the shop.
- Withholding: Aside from money, what do you put aside for when you need it? Do you save up vacation time for a needed rest? Or perhaps stash a little chocolate away for a needed binge? How do you prepare for those times when you just don’t seem to have enough?
- Exemptions: What things do you do to take some time off or to get a break from the demands on your time and energy? Do you always rest on the Sundays after Christmas and Easter? Do you have a regular time to rest each week except for “dire emergencies”?
- Deductions: What things in your life help you get through trying times? Maybe you have a particular tea that helps you relax, or a pet that cuddles with you when things get rough. When you can’t “exempt” yourself, what lessens the burden?
- Refunds: How do you realize the benefits of what you do all year? What makes you feel “it’s all worth it”? Does your congregation celebrate a “Pastor Appreciation Day”? Do you feel the benefit when someone sends a note from college or their new home far away, telling you how much they miss worship with you?
Please join in the fun! You can be as serious or silly as you want with the answers. If you play on your blog, please remember to post a link in the comments section below.
Rainy Day / Bills image courtesy Steve Woods