So I am wiped out.
I am tired and rather cranky, to be honest. Today, little things like poor table manners and noisy kids programs are scoring a 9 out of 10 on the irritation meter when they should be closer to zero. And the really good news is that my oldest daughter is about to practice her recorder. Awesome.
Now truth be told, this last week was amazing. We had services for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday (2 of them), and of course Easter. All of these were great services. Jesus was proclaimed and celebrated. Our worship teams did an absolutely amazing job. The people of God were fantastic.
Simply put, it was an awesome weekend.
But now, as I write this on Easter Monday, I am tired. And cranky. Mainly, I am cranky because I am tired. So I guess it makes sense.
The Danger of Tired
When I look back at my spiritual journey, I can see that our biggest failures and sin-filled falls usually come in one of two key places. As I have talked with other pastors and Christians, we all agree
- Falls Happen When We Are Stressed. I am amazed by the regularity of character challenging moments that come leading up to Easter or Christmas or Mission trips or other “mountain top” experiences. Little things like cars breaking down and silly conflicts provide the small, but damaging character challenges that often set up larger moments of failure. After all, who wants to see the pastor losing his mind because he got cut off in the express lane at Meijer? (Granted the “express lane at Meijer” is always a bit of an oxymoron, to begin with.)
- Falls Happen When We Are Tired. Of course, after a great mountaintop moment like Good Friday and Easter, we are tired. Emotional and physical exhaustion is a very real thing. In those moments, spiritual and relational falls happen quickly. They happen to me. They happen to all pastors. And to all Christians.
The bigger question is what can we do to guard against these falls in our walk?
The Jesus Prevention Plan
Part of what I love about the ministry of Jesus is that he gives us some good, proactive steps to renew our hearts and spirits.
- Regular Spiritual Disciplines. Luke 5:16 records that Jesus would often go off by himself to pray. Many times, these personal times of prayer and renewal happened after busy and draining times of ministry. While I may be a decent pastor, if Jesus needed to take time away, I absolutely need to do the same thing.
- Plurality of Ministry. Jesus had 12 disciples. Most people, even non-Christians know this. Part of being a disciple was that they shared in Jesus’s ministry with him. Of course, within the 12 Jesus had an inner core of 3 who shared some of the most intense ministry moments with Jesus. (Mark 9:2-8). One problem that many of us as pastors face is that we are lone wolves. When we keep our cards “close to the vest” we set ourselves up for a fall. Do we have a core group around us that we can lean on and expect to hold us accountable? (for those in and around Muskegon, check out John 17:23 Groups.)
- Rest. One of my favorite Jesus stories is in Mark 4:35-41. In this scene, Jesus is asleep in the back of a boat when a huge storm kicks up. While the miracle that follows is great, I love that Jesus is taking a nap. I don’t think it is a coincidence that after the storm Jesus has a dramatic encounter with a demon-possessed man. So, prior to a dramatic ministry moment, Jesus intentionally rests. I think there’s a lesson here. . . at least for me.
What’s Your Plan?
Looking back on last week, it was great. I loved it. However, if I am honest, I was too busy. I didn’t have any time for me to rest or reconnect with my family. The ministry was great, but I think next year I need to handle my schedule differently.
What about you? What steps do you take to fight against emotional and physical exhaustion in work or ministry?
Join the conversation below.
What steps do you take to fight against emotional and physical exhaustion in work or ministry?