Exhaustion and Depression

“But he [Elijah] himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” (1 Kings 19:4).

In the pastorate, the fall is usually a busy season, which rolls into the joys and challenges of Christmas programs and activities. The holidays can also trigger some depression. Sometimes this is due to comparing our families and circumstances to the ideal, or maybe it’s due to exhaustion—physical and psychological.

Our devotional and biographical heritage reveals that burnout can also be an opportunity to discover–in a new and deeper way–how God’s strength can be perfected in our weakness. As the apostle Paul testified,

“For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead…” (2 Cor. 1:8,9 emphasis added).

For more on the “not I, but Christ” illumination, see Hudson Taylor’s testimonial letter here.

For an article that gleans practical suggestions from the account of the prophet Elijah, see “When You’re a Pastor Who Suffers from Depression: What the story of Elijah (and psychological research) tells us about how to cope.” By Stephanie Dyrness Lobdell. It’s at the CT blog here:
http://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/2017/december-web-exclusives/when-youre-pastor-who-suffers-from-depression.html?

Taking Time To Rest

by Chip Ingram  (reposted)

You might be overworked, overwhelmed, and overcommitted if:

  • You can’t remember the last time you took a nap without feeling guilty…
  • You’ve bumped into someone at church and wanted to get together, but didn’t have room in your schedule for the next six months…
  • Your family meals together consist of McDonald’s drive-through on the way to several activities during the week…
  • You live from one “to-do list” to the next with the illusion that someday, in some way, things will slow down and then you’ll take that time to build relationships and serve God. But that someday never comes.

I used to live this way 30 years ago. Until one day, my doctor looked me in the eye and said, “Chip, you’re either going to die a young man, or you’re going to learn how to live very differently. You live at a pace and at a level that will kill you if you don’t change.”

Continue reading: Livingontheedge.org

How God Reveals His Faithfulness in Our Lives

chip_faithfulness

Whether we’re conscious of it or not, we all believe in someone or something to “hold us up” inside. When that person or thing comes through for us, then life is good! But when that person or thing doesn’t come through for us, then we experience a sense of anxiety, dissatisfaction, and ultimately despair.

But the truth is, there isn’t anyone or anything that will come through for us 24/7 – except for God Himself.

Continue reading and watch a video clip here.

by Chip Ingram  (reposted from LivingontheEdge.org)

 

The Risk of Pastoral Burnout

wilson

Burnout Main Reason for Pete Wilson’s Resignation
From Cross Point Church in Nashville

On Sunday morning, Wilson announced his decision to the congregation. In a video of the announcement posted to Cross Point’s website, Wilson shares, “We’ve said that this is a church where it’s okay to not be okay, and I’m not okay. I’m tired. And I’m broken and I just need some rest.”

The main reasons he shared for leaving were being tired, “leading on empty” and neglecting some things that should have been prioritized. Wilson was diligent to assure the congregation that he is for the church and wishes them to continue in the vision of “loving the unloved.”

continue reading…
reposted from Church Leaders.com


One of the lessons about avoiding–or recovering from–burnout is to appreciate and appropriate the Rest of the Gospel.

Finding Soul Rest, By John Woodward

Friends who went camping described their enjoyable get-away. When I asked if they slept in a tent or trailer, they told me that they used hammocks. They tied the fabric between trees, suspended above the ground–a comfortable way to relax and get a good night’s sleep.

What a picture of rest. We need times of rest for our bodies, but we also long for a rest for our souls. Like the Galatian Christians, many have “begun in the Spirit” (have been saved by grace), but are trying to be “made perfect by the flesh” (Gal. 3:1-3). The result is that we serve God with self-effort and end up exhausted.

Martha lapsed into this common syndrome, however well-intentioned. You recall that Jesus and his disciples were staying with His friends, Martha, Mary, and Lazarus:

“Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.’ And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her'” (Luke 10:40-42).

Continue reading…

Stop Trying…Start Exchanging

stop_tryingStop...Trying to make it happen and get it done. “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.” Ps. 37:7.
Stop...Focusing on yourself, your issues, your needs, your problems, your sin and “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith”. Heb. 12:2
Stop...Trying to do right and not do wrong and not sin and “Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus”. Rom. 6:11
Stop...Being anxious about your circumstance and your situation and “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you”. 1 Pet. 5:7

Continue reading...

Courtesy of Freedom in Christ Ministries.
https://ficm.org/free-downloads/

Feeling Overwhelmed?

Overwhelmed[reposted from ChurchLeaders]

The Best Question to Ask Yourself When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

by Mark Altrogge

I remember one night when I expressed to my wife, Kristi, that I was feeling overwhelmed. At that time she asked me an incisive question: “What are you believing about God right now?”

This is a brilliant question to ask any time you are feeling disquieted in spirit, or anytime you’re feeling depressed or discouraged. I answered Kristi, “Well, if I am feeling overwhelmed, I guess I’m believing that God is giving me too much to bear. I guess I’m believing that God won’t be faithful to help me. Which in essence means I guess I’m believing that God has lied to me and is not good.”

Kristi’s question revealed that I was thinking hard thoughts of God. Continue reading…

For more on correcting our concept of God, see video, Journey Home to Love and this article.