Pain Management

Click Here to read part 1 of this series where I gave an inside look at the emotional weight that all pastors shoulder.

Feelings can become too much for anyone.

This post was supposed to be done a month ago. It was actually finished and ready to share two days after Part 1 but then life happened and I felt like a hypocrite.  I had all this great stuff written about how we should handle emotional overload in light of our Christian faith but I couldn’t bring myself to click “publish” due to the realization that I wasn’t actually doing it myself.

Regardless of if you are in ministry or not, everyone can hit that point where they are emotionally overwhelmed.  That “full” line on our inner emotion tank is closer than we realize and if one is not careful it can spill over – like it did for me.  It can spill over and affect other areas of our lives and the lives of others if we are not mindful.

Examining our habits can be uncomfortable because we tend to realize in those moments of clarity that we don’t actually have it all together like we thought!  I shared in Part 1 how a few Christian leaders in my life have handled their emotional overload but now it’s time to bring it full circle – how do I handle my emotional overflow?  How do you?

Want to make yourself squirm?  Ask yourself what you do when you’re overwhelmed: Continue reading

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Emotional Baggage

In my experience, most leaders in the faith guard themselves with gusto which can prevent their church family from understanding the burden that they carry. My goal with this post is not to mindlessly rant. I simply wish to be frank about the emotional weight that all Pastors shoulder.


As a pastor, I encounter a lot of emotion.

These emotions do not originate with me and are in addition to what comes naturally – I am, after all, a living breathing person.  This “foreign emotion” is called empathy and most normal people have the ability to feel it.  Empathy allows society to function and lets us “put ourselves in their shoes” when connecting with other people.  There’s a downside to empathy though which that it can get overwhelming after awhile.

I tend to care about pretty much every person I encounter.  I feel “happy” or “sad” based on other people’s attitudes which is often an annoyance to the point where I wish I could stop caring completely – I can get so bogged down with feelings that it can be a struggle to even function.  I remember being told by an older friend of mine (who had a couple decades experience in Youth Ministry) that I needed to develop some thick skin so that I wouldn’t burn out.  Realizing that I had to protect myself from other people was a harsh wake-up-call.

Everyone can experience “empathy overload” from time to time.  But where most others have the ability to bury themselves in their work as a way to escape, I can not.  Pastors don’t get to enjoy the luxury of “losing themselves in their work” because when we do we end up coming into even more contact with the emotions of other people.  Day in and day out we are surrounded by those who need love and comfort and, to be honest, it can be exhausting.

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Cat Theology

I found this via /r/christianity, posted by /u/1nstrument.  All credit goes to them.

God gave us cats to show us exactly how He sees us.

Here are the similarities between us and them:

  • They ignore us most of the time, but won’t shut up when they want something from us.
  • When we open doors for them, they’re hesitant to go through and often come right back in a few minutes later.
  • They’re nearly impossible to train.
  • They scare easily, scattering and hiding at the first sign of trouble.
  • They often get into spats with other cats.
  • Not content with their own yard, they go and piss on other cats’ territory.
  • They think we’re reaaalllly impressed when they bring us dead animals.
  • They leave disgusting messes for us to clean up.
  • They get up on ‘high places’ the moment we turn our back, even though we know they know not to because we can see the guilt on their furry little faces.
  • Their antics are often hilarious.
  • They put themselves into situations that they need help to get out of.
  • They hate it when we try to dunk them in water.
  • We buy them nice things but they spurn them and go with cheap substitutes.
  • If they get lost and find their way back to us, we are overjoyed.
  • They can be quite cuddly when they want to be.
  • Even though they’re flawed, we love them terribly and want them to live in our houses so we can dote on them and enjoy their company forever.

The Importance of Being Earnestly Christlike

Those that know me have noticed that I’ve mellowed quite a bit over the last few years.  I haven’t lost my zeal or fervor but I have learned (and am continuing to learn) that there is a time and a place to offer a counterpoint to those who I disagree with; those places rarely include Facebook or Twitter.  Remembering what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:4 helps considerably in that effort – I often repeat it over and over to myself so that I don’t fly off the handle when facing a topic that is especially important to me.

Love is patient. Love is kind.

It breaks my heart to see so much hatred in this world – at times I almost want to remove myself from it all and be a hermit so that I wouldn’t have to encounter so much brokenness.  Pain and anguish is all around us and I am torn between wanting to give the victims a big, Iowan bear-hug or to go straight at the offenders to give them a piece of my mind.  I don’t like seeing injustice and my parents can attest to that worldview being part of me for my entire life. Continue reading

Fatherhood: The Prequel

I’ve started work on preliminary plans for a Crib and Changing Table for the the Nursery.  While I could just go out and buy them or put them on the registry, I’d rather build these items myself – I can then make sure they are exactly what we are looking for while making sure they are build out of quality materials.

This first example is from Babies R Us.  We like the size (Steph can comfortable reach over and into the crib) but materials and color leave us wanting.

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This second example is what I have specific plans for.  While it is sturdy and we like the natural color, it is far too tall and couldn’t be used without a step stool.

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As I continue sketching out ideas, I’m sure the problems will be able to be resolved.  Before construction, I plan on buying the mattress so I can make sure it fits properly.  I’ll also be looking into how to convert it later to a toddler bed so it can be used down the road.

Hello/Goodbye

Yes, I stole the title of this post from the name of a band.
No, I’m not sorry.

After hemming and hawing about the decision for the past few months, I have finally decided to pull the metaphorical lever and drop Facebook out of my life.  I’ll keep it around for a little while in order to convert old logins to good ‘ol fashioned username+password but I won’t be posting or sharing things to my personal account.  I’m done with that.

Why?  When I returned home from vacation (which was a short period of being “unplugged”), I realized that a large portion of my attitude and worldview was being negatively affected by the posts I saw on Facebook.  This was the final push I needed to start the separation process. Continue reading

No Shame

I’ve always been overweight.  Always.

There has never been a time in my nearly 28 years on this planet when I haven’t been fluffier than my peers or felt paralyzing shame at the thought of having my shirt off.  With that history has come an ever shifting attitude; my mindset has ranged from “I’m worthless because I don’t have a 6 pack” to “this is the way I am and I don’t need to change.”  In fact, I’ve blogged about the later on this site before.  I’ve tried diets and supplements and even gym memberships but it always came back to food; I love food and I love everything that goes along with it!  The time with people, the process of crafting a meal, the various tastes and combinations thereof – there doesn’t seem to be anything about food that I dislike except for the fact that with it often comes judgement by others.  And plain, raw veggies.

The bottomline is that I’ve been a failure when it comes to food for most of my life.  I’ve used it for a cure to boredom, relief from constant teasing, and as a barrier to unfair expectations.  I’ve had ups and downs in the battle against this addiction but they mostly have tended to repeat over and over because I don’t learn from my errors.  That changed this year with my efforts to live a Low Carb, High Fat lifestyle (LCHF, also known as Keto).

Over the last 5 months I’ve successfully lost 56 pounds.  I’ve gone down 1.5 shirt sizes and 3 pant sizes by simply changing what and how much I was eating.  With 19 pounds left until I hit my extended goal, I’m happier and healthier than I have been in quite some time.  I still love food, even though I’ve been steadily losing weight, and I have been able to grow my love of cooking by discovering new and different recipes.  It truly has been an adventure and I don’t see it ending.

Why has this worked when so many other methods failed?  Here are 5 things I have realized in my 5 months of Keto:

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