As the Sunday school activity concluded, the children called, “Do it again!” Usually this request for a repeat makes me feel pleased the children enjoyed the activity. However, on this Sunday, I was worn out with the activity. During the week I had purchased materials, created a mock up to make sure it would work, and practiced giving the directions. Doing it again was not appealing to me. I had worked all week to get it done the first time!
“Do it again” is a constant call in our lives. My mom friends and I lament how the dishwasher and laundry machines are forever in states of load and unload. It is a constant cycle of “do it again.” My minister friends and I confide that sermons are always in the state of written and to be written. Prayers for the local business lunches, Bible studies for Wednesday night, and newsletter articles are always coming full circle asking to be done again. Yes, dirty dishes and whirling dryers remind us that we have loved ones who we cherish. And unwritten sermons remind us we have congregations to serve. However, “doing it again” can become cumbersome and unappealing.
There are weeks when I don’t feel like doing it again. My creativity is tapped out by taking care of the details. My quiet time gets usurped by unquiet family and friends. I reach the point of not wanting to write another sermon or prepare another Sunday school lesson. I succumb to “do it again” fatigue.
Yet, I must prepare for Sunday and I have to wash the load of laundry with the favorite shirt in it. I have two coping skills when faced with “do it again” fatigue. First, I find ways to do less. I forego the Sunday school activity requiring hours of preparation. I wash the glasses that must be washed before dinner. I read the scripture for my sermon and let it rattle around in my head while I ride my bike or make a quick grocery run. I release some of the must dos and do less. And second, I persevere. My favorite writer, Annie Lamott, says the secret to writing is “butt in chair.” Even if I am uninspired and do not want to think about next Sunday, I read the scripture for the sermon or Bible study on Monday. Procrastination heightens my lack of creativity and energy, so when I have “do it again” fatigue, I still get started on the task but give myself permission to do less.
Most days I love what I do. I enjoy the creativity of writing prayers and creating activities for children’s Sunday school. I feel honored God has chosen me to serve God’s people. Yet, there are weeks when doing it again elicits a cry of “No! Not again! I just did that.” When this happens, I remind myself to put one foot in front of the other and to lighten my load as much as I can.
Tammy Abee Blom is an ordained Baptist minister, regular contributor to BWIM’s blog, mother of two amazing daughters, teacher for children’s Sunday School, and lives in Columbia, South Carolina.