I Don’t Like Wearing Pants!

Ok, let me explain.

Not wearing any pants is frowned upon in most parts of our society. But I’m talking about shorts! I love wearing shorts. They breathe, and are simply more comfortable than full-length pants.

pants

And today is the first day I’ve gotten to wear shorts after a very long, snowy winter here in central WA State. It’s a small thing, but it makes me very happy. And somehow putting my shorts on this morning reminded me of soul care.

Taking time to actually take care of you when needed is unfortunately viewed today (by some) as being selfish. But if we are careful and pay close attention to our physical, emotional, and spiritual health, we will quickly learn to recognize those moments that we need to change things up a bit.

What does that look like? It’s different for everybody. Take an afternoon nap on the couch. Read a good book at your favorite coffee shop. Go for a long walk. Take a trip to the beach or go camping.

My wife and I take a 24/hr Sabbatical every two months. We try to get out of town, go offline and off of social media, ignore our phones and email, pray, read, journal, and enjoy solitude. And for those of us who are believers, we can count numerous references in the Bible that instruct and model the practice of good soul care.

Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” – 1 Kings 19:7  Sometimes the journey IS too much for us. So we must eat, drink water, regain our strength so we can continue moving forward.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” – Mark 1:35  We read about Jesus doing this often! He got alone and spent some quiet time with God. But it was a ‘solitary place.’ Jesus removed himself from people.

So, what’s the purpose in practicing comfort and soul care? I’ll tell you. It interrupts our chaotic rhythms of life so that hopefully we might rest and take honest inventory of ourselves. It’s like stepping off the football field and sitting down at Row 50 on the 50 yard line. That athlete has a better vantage point than the rest of the players on the field. He has stepped out of his current reality and into a place where he can see the bigger picture all at once.

Challenge: Take time to determine what your personal Soul Care plan might looks like. Or what it NEEDS to look like. Write it down, pick a date and time, and then make it happen!

I’d love to hear about your experience with this.  Join the discussion and LEAVE A COMMENT below.

You can also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram!

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Manage your life, or your life will manage you!

photo by: www.southernfriedscience.com
photo by: http://www.southernfriedscience.com

Are you tired, stressed, or in any other way overloaded by the pressures of this life?  Well, I have good news and bad news.

Bad news:  Join the crowd!  All of us experience this from time to time.  In our busy society, this is not going away.  (I know, encouraging, right?)
Good news:  These pressures of life can be limited to short seasons and not the daily ‘norm’ that most Americans have come to believe.
Let me suggest 3 methods that I have personally begun to implement over the past year.  Don’t get me wrong on this.  I’ve still got some improving to do here, but I’ve come a long way in this area.  I hope and pray for you to experience the same.
#1  Take a real day off:  Everyone needs rest…both mental and physical.  You are not super human.  Seriously, there’s no law that says you cannot take care of you.  And let me say this loud and clear.  If you happen to be employed at a company/business that expects you to work 10-12 hours a day seven days a week (and even working from home), you need to find a different job!  You can read more on how to take a day off effectively here.
#2  Set healthy priorities:  I’m not talking about writing a productive task list for work.  Try spending a couple of hours contemplating your current life while sitting in your favorite coffee-house.  Take a notepad (or notes app) with you to jot down your thoughts.  List 2-3 lifestyle changes you would like to make.  Maybe its reading a good book for half and hour each night before bed.  How about not responding to email or phonecalls (texts) after 6 or 7pm?  Perhaps its doing some intentional grocery shopping on the weekends so you’re prepared to eat healthier during the busy work week.  I think you get the picture.
#3  Plan ahead:  To make the prior two points a reality you must schedule them as if they are actual appointments.  Before my daily morning quiet time  and trips to the gym became routine I actually put them on my iCloud calendar.  Place all your work and personal items on the same calendar!  This way they won’t overlap.  And we all know what happens when they overlap…….our personal time gets bumped every time.  Plan your entire week before your work week starts.  If your job is a difficult one to do this with, plan for each day on the evening before.  Trust me, mastering this practice will greatly decrease your stress levels.  It has for me.
Whether you are an executive in corporate America, fast-food worker, pastor, parent, or student…these are all possible for you.  Make them a reality, both for your sanity and for your future (not to mention for those around you).
Pray and meditate on this Psalm each day.  Give your life focus.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.  Psalm 51:10 (ESV)
Prioritize your life, or life will make your priorities for you!  

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Comments, prayer requests, and questions are welcome below.

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The Dark Side of Ministry

photo by: deathstarpr.blogspot.com

Just before Summer kicked in to full swing, I was able to take a few of my key leaders to the FAM Conference at Azusa Pacific University in CA.  Its a new conference…their first year.  And what an amazing experience it was!  So many great speakers were there, including Doug Fields.  My wife and I were able to sit in his final breakout session.  He started off the hour with this quote:

The dark side of ministry = always more to do.

Wait…there’s a ‘dark side’ to ministry?  (that’s sarcasm)  Ha, ha, ha.  If you’ve been in vocational ministry for even 6 months you probably know what Doug was referencing.  Work, work, work only leads pastors to neglecting their own health, family, and living life to the fullest!  Look, when God commanded mankind to honor a day of rest he didn’t include a special clause that excludes pastors.  We need rest too!  The real question is are you ceasing to work when you must?  Stop!  I can answer that question for you…and I don’t even know you.  If ‘most’ of your weeks in ministry (in and out of the physical office) consist of 50-65 hours, you are slipping to the Dark Side.

Its true, there IS always more to do!  Always one more phone call to make.  That important email can’t wait until morning.  I really need to be the one to visit so-and-so in the hospital.  Etc…..etc……etc.  The examples never end.

The bottom line is this:  There’s no shortage of work for tomorrow, but rest for today is a rare commodity!

I ask you, how can you be proactive to address this and remain healthy enough for God to use you to your fullest ability?