Use all your vacation time!

I read this in this month’s issue of Youth Worker Journal:

Not taking vacation is about as all-American as the Liberty Bell. Americans typical get 14 days of vacation time every year, compared to 26 vacation days the average German gets and the 36 days (that’s more than seven 5-day workweeks) folks who live in France pull down.

But alas, we can’t even use that minuscule amount of vacation. Americans typical use only 11 of those vacation days. (Money magazine)

I plan to use all of my vacation time every year, not because I’m lazy and hate work (I love my job!), but because I know that in ministry, if I don’t take alloted time to relax and rest in the short-term, I’ll eventually burnout in the long-term. The temptation is continue working and accomplish as much as possible, which may help me complete a couple more days of work every year, but what does that matter if I drop out of ministry 10 years from now because of it? When I haven’t had time for myself or my wife for a while and I’m faced with a lot of work, I usually ask myself, “What’s the worst that could happen if I don’t finish this today?” Usually, the petty consequence works out anyway because I think God blesses my boundaries when I keep my wife and my ministry longevity a high priority.

Posted on September 3, 2007

  • Hey Tim…. so so true! I get 20 over here in the UK and last year ended up only using 10 and didn’t get to take my public holidays either, so I ended up rolling over 19 days worth of holiday…. so far this year I’ve worked it down to 20, which have to be taken by 30th Jan 08 ideally but my upcoming delayed honeymoon should help with that!

    Hope you get to take all your vacation time off this year!

  • Probably not completely fair to compare our vacation time to that of the German’s or French simply because they are two countries that have a MUCH higher rate of unemployment and many of their regulations, including vacation time, are an attempt to get companies to hire more people.

    However, you are right! We need to use our vacation time, get out and get away. We need to remind ourselves that we are NOT what we do! We need to have time with family, keeping those relationships tight.

  • Pingback: Preventing “burnout”… « A Case of The Mundys()

  • before my question, i’d like to say that i take vacation and days off during the week. so this is just a question;

    what about people who can’t take vacations? wouldn’t you agree that we are in the tiny minority of Christians who have the means and opportunities to take vacations? i think it’s safe to say that many believers around the world have no opportunity to ‘take alloted time to relax and rest in the short-term,’ so why don’t we see the Indian church or the Chinese church full of ‘burn out’?

    if we were under persecution like our brothers and sisters in parts of asia, africa, etc, would we (or should we ) still take vacation?

  • Tim

    Whether or not they take actual “vacations” or not isn’t quite my point. It’s more that we all need to take personal time away from the ministry. I don’t know enough about the actual habits versus perceived habits of Christian leaders of other nationalities to comment either way about them. Good question.

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