There is not enough time to meet all of the demands.
You wonder if this is what burnout is.
We think that the answer to being overwhelmed is better productivity. Find the best "life-hack" blog. But there's a secret weapon that very few are talking about. Instead of being more productive, be less.
Instead of adding things, subtract some.
There's a spiritual discipline formed around this philosophy. Fasting. And it's not just about food. Here are four "fasts" to use when life is overwhelming.
This is a message for fake Christians. Which, by the way, includes you . . . and me.
We put on a face. Pretend to be someone who is not truly us. Conceal what's real in order to appear attractive.
As a Christian, do you ever feel pressure to be someone you're not?
I had just begun my pastoral studies in September of 2001. There were hurried clusters of conversation in the seminary quad. Then students and professors crowded around TV's in the cafeteria.
Later that day, I drove to a juvenile detention center for a 10 week chaplaincy module. I tried to explain evil to teenagers in orange jumpsuits. On the way home, every gas station I passed had lines of cars backed up around the block.
Every American was trying to process impossible images. We all remember where we were, what we were doing, and who we were with.
Where were you on 9/11/01? How were you changed?
For me, a key realization was this:
These are the pictures we post and see on our social media feeds.
These are the pictures you won't post:
I want to give you a free chapter from my upcoming book. It's in a mini-book format called Discover Your Calling.
This mini-book deals with some of the most common questions I've gotten in my ministry. How do I know what God wants me to do? What should I do with my life? How can I stay focused when I'm so busy?
You'll get this free mini-book when you sign up for My Tribe. If you haven't seen the pop-up yet, sign-up in the upper right corner of this page. Your copy will be e-mailed to you shortly after you subscribe.
This chapter is from my upcoming book, Loved and Sent: How Two Words Define Who You Are and Why You Matter. The full book is currently in the production phase - formatting, review, editing, cover design, etc. I'm hoping for an early November release. I'll keep you posted.
No roads or cars.
No bathrooms or outhouses.
No cell service.
Just water, a pack, a paddle, and a canoe.
I went off the grid for three days last week in the far recesses of Northern Minnesota, near the Canadian border. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area is a swath of land that includes 1,100 lakes and no human civilization.
Here's why I went off the grid:
I've been too busy. Maybe you have too. This is what I'm doing about it: Rest.
The word rest in Hebrew is shabbat, from which we get the word Sabbath. Shabbat means "to cease or stop." There is a time to be active and work. Then there is a time to cease doing the things you do the other six days of the week. Of the Ten Commandments - before killing, stealing, or committing adultery – the third calls us to “remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.”
Tomorrow I get on a bus with 55 teenagers and ten adults from my church. Twelve hours later, we'll join 25,000 teens in New Orleans for an event that occurs every three years in my church body: the National Youth Gathering.
Miles of walking ("Oops, that's Bourbon Street.")
Crowds of sweaty high school students.
Speakers, bands, and mass gatherings in the Superdome.
Why do this?
One outcome of tragedy is that it further polarizes existing opposites. Everyone retreats to their respective corner. We use the tragedy to reinforce our stereotypes and justify our worldview. By this, we are driven further apart.
In the last 30 days we've had multiple national tragedies. Orlando, Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Dallas are a few. We have retreated to poles such as:
Christian vs. Muslim
Pride vs. Anti-gay
Trump vs. #nevertrump
Black vs. White
I write this as I prepare for a daunting task: confirmation camp. Three days of 7th and 8th graders at a summer camp. Swim time and campfires. Juvenile flirting and smelly boys who have yet to apply deodorant with any consistency. Somewhere in the middle of all this, my team of leaders must impart our deepest held beliefs and convictions.
Impacting the lives of young people is a great responsibility. I don't take it lightly, and I tremble a little every time.
Am I effective?
Am I making a difference?
Is there more I could do to connect with these kids?
Whenever I freak out over a big challenge, I refer back to a quote by Charles Haddon Spurgeon:
“The Christian should work as if all depended upon him, and pray as if it all depended upon God.”