I’m not an overly emotional guy. I think I was a little more sensitive when I was younger than I am now… I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not. I have been known to cry on occasion. I cried on my wedding day, I cried when my son was born and I absolutely will cry overtime I watch Homeward Bound (I know, it’s my burden). I’ve also found that since being in full time ministry, I typically have a “break down and cry moment” once a year.
The first time this happened was about 8 months after I gotten into full time ministry. I remember feeling overwhelmed. I had jumped from being a part time CP at a church of 200 to a full time CP at a church of 2000. I was feeling the pressure of a really busy day and I just snapped. I closed my office door, turned off the lights and wept like a baby. Twenty minutes later, I cleaned myself up and treated myself to a Route 44 Lemon Berry Slush. And that was it.
I had another one of these moments in October. It had been a stressful week at work. It had been an incredibly busy summer that just merged directly into an incredibly busy fall (due to decisions outside of my control). I needed some serious time off. I was playing racquetball early one morning with one of my fellow children’s pastors before work. It was a Tuesday (my busiest days filled with meetings from start to finish). I felt an incredible amount of pressure weighing me down as I played. After playing, I sat in my car for about 30 minutes before calling my boss and telling him that I would not be in. I then drove out to my favorite spot in the DFW area (a beautiful park with miles and miles of horse trails through woods along Lake Grapevine). I spent a few hours just walking, praying and worshiping. By noon I came home feeling so much better. I just took the rest of the day off and hung out with my family.
I’ve learned that these are normal occurrences in my life. They only come once a year… sometimes less. But I’ve found that it’s important to listen to your mind/emotions. Close the door, clear your calendar and just get it all out. Cry it out, pray it out, run it out… just release! It’s a normal part of being human. When people ask me why I was out, I tell them “I was simply curled up in the fetal position under my desk, crying like a little girl… but I feel better now.”
So, I don’t know if it’s just me… but I don’t think it is. I’ve talked to too many CP’s who have gotten frustrated, stressed out and on the verge of burn-out. Just know that it’s okay to clear your calendar and take a time for your mental health. You’ll feel better and you’ll be glad you did.
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Wow! Thanks for this post. I am learning to give myslef permission to break from everything. I find it’s hard not to feel guilty about it or as though I am slacking off because of it. Yet I know that there are times when I just need to give myself permission to go and sit near the lake or go to the aquarium or some other place of relaxation, and be more aware of myself and know when I’ve reached my limit and simply need to pause.
I don’t always need to cry, but I do need to find a body of water/lakefront to sit by – but I’m in Chicago, so I am a much better minister in the summer time (because I can walk near the lakefront) than I am in the middle of winter. I need to figure out a winter plan….
Thanks again for the post, I very rarely hear people in ministry talk like this.
Hello, my name is Kenny and sometimes I get overwhelmed. Hmmm… refreshing. I wasn’t aware anyone else felt that way… like you said, it’s not something you hear very often. Maybe it’s good that this gets out in the open. I do know a lot of people who get burnt out. Maybe more people have been here than choose to verbalize it… until they’re burnt to a crisp.