The below excerpt is from my book The Renegade Pastor’s Guide to Managing the Stress of Ministry.
The reason why we need to take time to become clear about the real stressors we face is that often those stressors aren’t rapidly apparent. They may even deceive us at first. This happens for a number of reasons:
Sometimes we are too close to a situation to make a good judgement about what’s really happening. We have all been there: we are in a conflict with another person, or someone has done something that irritates or offends us. Those things cause an immediate, natural emotional reaction in us. Under those conditions, it is often difficult to clearly see what’s happening and how we should respond.
There is a time when it is especially important to rely on the wisdom of others. When you are in an emotional situation, or when you have a lot invested in something, get someone you trust to be your eyes and ears. That may keep you from making decisions you later regret.
There may be underlying stressors you aren’t consciously aware of. We all have activities that make us angry, or nervous, or afraid. We find these things taxing. We may not even realize what those triggers are. We may not see that those are the tasks that are causing us great stress. When we take time to reflect, we may find that there is something particular that is causing the bulk of our stress.
Many people, pastors included, have trouble with procrastination. When we put responsibilities off, it causes stress. But it may be just one thing that you find daunting, and that’s the thing you need to address. For example, maybe you’ve put off following up with recent guests in your church. You need to write thank-you notes to some, send emails to others, and call a few more. But maybe you really dislike calling people, and that’s what is derailing your progress. Once you realize that, you can come up with a strategy for dealing with this one thing you find stressful. (We recommend calling people right away to get it over with, but there are other effective strategies as well.)
Maybe you’re not in a good place physically to do what needs to be done. Fatigue is often the enemy of faith! If you are tired, you might find certain things overwhelming when they don’t need to be. I (Richard) once had a member who told me, “Sometimes the most godly thing you can do is take a nap!”
We pastors like to think we are Superhuman, able to power our way through anything. But Renegade Pastors know that they are only human. Sometimes we just need to rest so we can have the strength to handle ministry stress another day.
– Nelson Searcy and Richard Jarman
The above excerpt is from p. 32-34 of The Renegade Pastor’s Guide to Managing the Stress of Ministry
Pastors Nelson Searcy and Richard Jarman share their secrets to effective stress management with practical steps and insights that you can start implementing immediately! God wants you to be a fruitful, faithful minister of the gospel. He wants you, as a Renegade Pastor, to rise above average as you pursue God’s best for you, your family, and your ministry.
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