Archive for the ‘emotions’ Category

Ever feel like you are one step from triumph and one step from the wheels coming off the tracks at the same time? For those of us that find ourselves emotionally wrapped up in what we “do” it can seem like there’s a thin line between feeling like a victor or a victim. When I begin to feel like I’m teetering on that line I make an effort to remember three things: 

1. Life is seasonal. As a pastor I have to constantly remind myself that my life is full of seasons: our church, my family, myself, in the lives of others. As much as we’d like to we can’t park at one perfect spot in life. The writer of Ecclesiastes nails this idea when he writes: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…” (Eccl. 3:1) Now deep down we know this, but it can be easy to forget when we’re in the midst of a down time. It feels like we’ve been here forever and things we’ll never change. That’s just not true.  Do this: reflect on the various down seasons in your life that you’ve walked through. What were the nuggets of truth that you picked up during that time. Choose to see the wins and the wisdom God has given you.

2. Obstacles Can Bring New Possibilities: Author Michael Hyatt writes, “One of the best questions you can ask when something negative happens is this: What does this make possible?“.  Asking this question allows you to take another look at your circumstances in a positive light. Seriously, try it. If you’re honest there most likely is an upside to the situation: more time with the family, less pressure at work, an opportunity to learn a new profession or trade, it could be anything! What you see as a negative, God is working for your good. (Romans 8:28)

3. You are not the sum of your successes or failures. We tend to fall into the trap of one side or the other. We either define ourselves by what we’ve achieved or by how we’ve blown it. This is a double edged sword. While we may feel great when things are riding high, we feel like we need to be on suicide watch when things hit the tank.  We have to be careful not to hook ourselves up to the crazy train of our emotions. You’re value can’t be measured by your success in money, number of clients, promotions, Facebook likes, attendance, acclaim…..the list goes on. If you hook your self-worth up to external inputs you’re headed for a train wreck. ( I write more about that here.) You’re value doesn’t come from what you’ve made of yourself but from who made you.

Here are some action steps I  move through when I’m discouraged:

1. Pray: I have clearer perspective on my life and my circumstances by bringing my needs to the Lord and allowing Him to speak to me.

2. Share: Don’t default to isolation and throw yourself a pity party. Take some time to share with a trusted friend how you’re feeling and allow them to give you some feedback.

3. Go: Don’t retreat and shut own. If you’ve taken time to reflect and learn from your circumstances it’s time to move forward. Anyone can shine during prosperity, maturity shines during adversity by moving forward.

I’d love to hear from on how you deal with life’s frustrations or when you encounter obstacles. Drop me a line below.

Advertisements

This week I met with a brother in Christ who was walking through a difficult time. As we talked I began to hear some similar issues and failed methods that I had walked through in my own life. Like me in my past, my friend had hooked his life up to what I call The Crazy Train. The Crazy Train is when we hook our personal value to the acceptance or rejection of other people and/or our success or failure. It goes something like this.

The train goes up the hill when: someone praises you, accepts you, friends you, recognizes your hard work, invites you, when the opposite sex desires you or needs you, when you win or succeed.

The train goes down hill when: people stop praising you, don’t friend you, stop inviting you, stop giving you recognition, don’t call you, when the opposite sex doesn’t desire you, when it seems no one needs you, when someone’s upset with you, when you fail or lose.

You can understand why people hook up to this train. The highs are surreal. It feels great, as if you could do no wrong. However, the downside to the crazy train is a steep one. If you’re hooked up to this train the valley is horrifically painful when your pipeline of acceptance and love from people or success is cut off.

So what’s the remedy? You can’t get off the track of life. Your life is going to be hooked to someone or something regardless.

Remedy= Hook your life up to Jesus Christ. Your definition in Him isn’t based on your performance or people’s high or low view of you. You don’t have to go any farther than Jesus Christ to find an ocean of love and acceptance waiting for you.

So take it from a guy that was hooked to the Crazy Train for a long time. Pull the pin on the dysfunctional locomotive that’s pulling you up and down and hook your life up to Jesus who is faithful, steady and reliable.

All aboard,

Nathan

Every pastor I know (including myself) lives for Sundays. We live for Sunday because we desire to see Jesus Christ  lifted up in worship and in the preaching of His word!  It’s our game day.  During the week we are praying, counseling, studying, writing, meeting with leadership, putting out fires and at times dealing with crisis in the lives of others. No matter what happens during the week, Sunday is still coming and while it’s not the only thing the church is about it is a major component.

Cue the Emotional Curtain to be Pulled Back)                                                                                  

As much as I love Sundays, Mondays are a huge let down. Let me explain. A pastor goes 90mph during the week and hits Sunday like a Mac Truck because he’s passionate about the church and what he believes God’s calling the church to. Monday’s are my current day off. For me Monday at times hangs on my like a wet coat…..a downer….a drag. There have been seasons when I felt like having a day off was pointless. I would have times when I didn’t even know how to use my day off. I would just sort of wander around the house or run errands that just seemed lame compared the overarching mission of leading and making disciples. When I feel that way, I hate it. I hate it because I know my wife and boys have to live with some of the residual effects of that Monday let down in my world. I’ve got to be intentional about making sure my view of my day of rest is not hooked up to that emotional roller-coaster that is pastoral ministry.

Bottom line:  God longs to be exalted in our Sundays and our Mondays. The ups and the downs. He’s just as present in both.

What about you? How are you managing the “let-downs” in your life? Are you allowing your emotions to rule you or are you digging deep into that shelter that is Christ Jesus?

Have a good Monday,

Nathan

>Pushing Through….

Posted: May 6, 2009 in emotions, Life, worship

>Two years ago I was at Fort Jackson, SC doing some training with some chaplains. One night in the pouring rain I was on a live fire course (where they were shooting real bullets over your head). I was crawling face down in sand, in the rain, with all my gear and armor plated vest….crawling for about 200 yards. At first when I came out of the trench I was pumped and excited and the adrenaline was flowing, but after about 50 yards my body caught up with my mind. Every part of my body was hurting (did I mention I had been up 32 hrs at this point?) I continued to push on for about another 100 yards and had another 50 to go when everything within me said, “I’m done”. My heart felt like it was going to explode….my muscles were cramped and I rolled over on my back and cried out to God (literally) as these loud artillery shells were going off. As I gave my situation over to God I rolled back over on my stomach and dug deep and pushed through the pain, as I did that a Sargent at the end begin to call my name and told me to keep pushing, to keep pushing through the pain, that I could make it. Bottom Line: We must push through our circumstances and emotions. Submit and Worship God despite how you “feel”. Secondly, Call out to those that our struggling. Tell them they can make it…be an encourager.

You heard Me,

Nathan