Margaret Marcuson: You don’t live longer, it only seems like it

A friend recommended food star Ina Garten’s interview on the New Yorker podcast (“New Yorker Radio Hour,” December 16, 2022). At one point she says, “You don’t really live longer if you only eat low-fat--it just seems like it.” I decided some years ago that after a lifetime of low fat milk and yogurt, I was going for the full fat. It tastes better, and it’s far more satisfying. I always thought I should eat low fat. But it turned out I didn’t need to--(slight brag here) my doctor says my numbers are fine.

In ministry, it’s easy to spend a lot of time on the clock during the week and on the calendar over years doing things that don’t bring you joy, because you think you should. Most clergy have a powerful sense of obligation. The days can drag if you are doing only that which you should be doing, and not what you want to do.

There’s been plenty of obligation over the last few years. Yet I wonder if you have to do all the things you think you have to do.

Is there one thing you hate you could stop doing altogether? Or ask someone else to do?

Try this: Make a list of your least favorite tasks. Circle the ones that would be easiest to get rid of. Pick one. Stop doing it for a week or a month, and see if anyone notices.

You might even last longer in ministry.


For more clarity about your responsibilities in ministry, check out chapter 2 in Leaders Who Last, “Take Responsibility for Yourself.” If you don’t have the book, you can find it _here.