Calling, burnout, and things we need to remember...

Photo Credit: Pixabay There have been a few times in my life when I have felt overwhelmed, stressed-out, and exhausted. It's easy during times like this to lose focus on what really matters; the people we care about, the things we are passionate about, and our calling in life.

About three years ago I went through a time such as this. It was one of the most difficult times in my life. I was stressed, passionless, making poor choices in regards to my eating habits and overall health. I constantly had a bad attitude, and I was exhausted almost to the point of complete burn-out. (At a later time I will blog more in-depth about the reasons why this happened to me and about some of the symptoms I displayed during that time)...

I am thankful for my wife, my five friends, who are also my mentors & accountability partners (Mike, Mike, Brian, Tony, and Tim), my coworker and good friend Jay, and Shan, who was my boss at the time. I am thankful for them because they listened to the Holy Spirit when I was unable to. They had the courage to speak truth into my life. They spoke words of encouragement, challenged me, provided healing, and direction. I especially want to thank my wife, who stood by me during this time; I was a very difficult person to live with.

Ultimately though it was up to me to take the steps towards healing, health living, and rest. Once I took these steps, my eyes opened to things God had been trying to show me about myself and His desire for me to have a full life. I was told that I had lost focus of the values that were important to me, and I had forgotten my calling.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

When We Lose Focus...

Having the wrong view of our problems and losing sight of our calling can lead to depression, unhealthy habits, and ultimatley poor choices. These things can have adverse affects on us and the people who we have community with.

Wayne Cordeiro states it this way,

"The way we view our problem often times is the problem. If our perception is poor, opportunities become terrifying and invitations appear as threats."

When we are in the midst of our problems, stress, depression, temptation, or exhaustion it is important for us to focus on what God has called us to—Wayne Cordeiro says to remember your divine commission and your high calling.

When I started to try and remember my "divine commision" and my "high calling," I couldn't center or focus my thoughts. I asked myself over and over again this question: What did God call me to? I had trouble answering this. It was difficult for me have clarity with all the familiar noise and sights around me.

I needed to find rest and more importantly I needed to get away. Except I couldn't allow myself to take time off and rest. I felt if I did I wasn't being productive and that I was lazy. I had one of my mentors tell me that rest was not a sin and when I began to truly believe that statement, I found freedom to remove myself from my geographical surroundings and take a break.

I went on a retreat to the Rocky Mountains through an organization called CIY (the retreat I went on is called Wilderness), and my wife sent me away to the Oregon coast for a week to visit my friends Mike and Tony.

It was here that I was able to focus and center my thoughts so I could answer the question: What did God call me to? And when I was able to do this—recovery and healing began to flow into my life.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

My Calling...

I must state here that not everyone's calling is the same and sometimes our calling changes or takes different turns in different seasons of life.

The calling I received when I first became a Christian over twenty-one years ago remains the same calling for me today. I wrote my calling down during my get-a-way to the Oregon coast. It was helpful for me to I list it in seven bullet points.

Seven things about my calling I need to remember:

  • I need to not fear, but have faith.
  • I will be asked to do some difficult tasks for the kingdom of God (My family and I).
  • I will be empowered by the Holy Spirit.
  • Jesus will be with me and go before me.
  • I will preach the good news about Jesus to His people and to those who don't know Him yet (In both, word and action).
  • I will be a servant-leader and shepherd of His church.
  • I will write about Him (Jesus) and about His grace, forgiveness, goodness, and His love.

This is my calling.

There are still moments that I fall into a funk of worthlessness, stress, and exhaustion; usually when I lose my focus on Jesus and His grace in my life, and my calling.

When this happens I ask myself... What did God call me to?

Dad, I want to be a Pastor...

998854_10151788772289801_845024673_n-1 Something really cool happened after church this past Sunday. My son and I started having a conversation on what it means to be a pastor.

My son is a senior in high school and wants to follow in my foot steps and attend Ozark Christian College (My alma mater), and go into full-time ministry.

We talked about what the calling of a pastor means. We talked about how some of the things to remember is that ministry is about people. Programming and stage decorations and paint have their place, ministry is always about people.

And specifically the job of a pastor is to guide people back to the heart of God, and help them see grace operating in their lives. 

As he and I journey this year together and as he moves closer to graduation and Bible College, I will teach him some of the most important things about what it means to be a pastor.

Here are some of the things I will share with him...

The biggest thing to remember is that a pastor is a servant to the people of God, and an under-shepherd to the Chief Shepherd, Jesus. Pastors must always remember that Jesus is the Pastor of the church and we are blessed to be a part of of his bride. Jesus leads his church through us not the other way around.

He will learn that no one makes you be a pastor, but you willingly submit yourself to the authority and calling of the Holy Spirit in your life. Being a Pastor is rewarding and burdensome at the same time.

I will share with him what Eugene Peterson suggests the three things a Pastor should focus on: 1. Pray 2. Preach the gospel 3. Listen

pastor2I tell him that being a Pastor immediately puts you in the position of a servant. That as a pastor we seek to be last and the servant of all (Jesus - Mark 9:35). It is caring and leading people through servant-leadership. As pastors, we are shepherds of God people and it can be messy and difficult at times.

I can't wait to have more conversations with him about what it means to be a pastor. We have only a short time before he graduates high school and heads off to Bible college...

For now I have him reading this passage and journaling his thoughts on it.

"Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. " - 1 Peter 5:2-4