The Power of Setting Things Aside

Have you ever found a sermon got better overnight? The sermon you were sweating over Saturday night suddenly becomes preachable on Sunday morning. I used to draft my sermons on Thursday and come home and say to my husband, “I drafted my sermon, but it’s terrible.” I took Friday off, and predictably and mysteriously the sermon got better by Saturday.

Sermons aren’t the only thing that benefit from setting aside. E-mails that get your anxiety up (you know: you read them and your heart starts pounding) probably shouldn’t be answered until tomorrow. A staff conflict that comes to a head: usually, you can say, “I’ll have to think about this.” Most of the time when you face a ministry dilemma, you can take the time to reflect on it. And you’ll make a better decision if you do so.

Of course, usually some action must be taken. The e-mail must be answered, the staff situation addressed, and of course that sermon has to be preached on Sunday. That may take courage on your part. But a thoughtful response is often (always?) better than your first, reactive response.

The old cliche, “sleep on it,” isn’t such a bad idea, after all.

1 replies on “The Power of Setting Things Aside

  • Israel Galindo

    Good advice, Margaret. I always need to set aside any writing project and come back to it at a later time (at least two days) with a set of fresh eyes. And I’ve found that the larger the project the more time I need away before returning to it.


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