It is not unusual for a pastor and a pastor’s family to experience what I can best describe as a post-sabbatical depression upon returning from a refreshing sabbatical experience. Pastors and their families are very aware that they are moving back into a frenetic schedule not only with the normal demands of ministry but also all that has been building up awaiting their return. It is returning from a good long vacation multiplied by ten. You have experienced the pleasure of having time to reflect, spend time together as a family, and learn to enjoy some of the simpler pleasures of life. Now you are moving back into the life pattern that has drained you of some of those pleasures.
You will benefit from being strategic in planning for your return.
First, regardless of how much you love your congregation and the practice of ministry, be honest about some of the negative thoughts and feelings of resistance that may emerge within you.
Second, make a commitment with your family to gather to reflect on how all of you are coping with the return at least once a week for the first six weeks.
Third, build in some specific prayer time to reflect on what you are experiencing and what God is saying to you within these experiences.
Fourth, schedule immediately a full day one month into your return where you will pull back and reflect on how you want to adjust your practice of ministry to continue to drink from the sabbatical well while responding to the needs around you.
Sabbaticals can be wonderful, refreshing experiences. Being intentional about how you respond in your return can help extend that refreshment into your ministry.