Saving my life and my ministry

I don’t mind living a little bit “out there” so people can examine what is going on in my life spiritually and theologically. I don’t mind engaging in hard issues, like racism, immigration, etc.

It does get a bit tougher when it comes to very personal matters, but I also know there are people who have the same struggles I have and for whatever reason don’t voice them. If I share just a little bit more of my life, there is an opportunity for people to identify and think, “Maybe it’s time for me to try this.” 

This year has been a difficult year. The stress has been at whole new levels for me. One of the last pieces to help me deal with this amount of stress fell into place for me a couple of months ago and as I’ve measured my inner life in the past two months, I feel comfortable recommending some things that have been helpful to me. There isn’t anything earth-shattering and I have no book or diet plan to sell you. It’s just life and sometimes we need to let each other know how life is going.

Exercise

I got back to the gym at the end of last year. I added in a group training session as well. The reason for me on putting out that money is it keeps me accountable. If I’m spending the money, I make sure I am getting the use I need out of that expenditure. Free gym space at one of my work places wasn’t cutting it.

The added challenge of being in a group with guys MUCH younger than me also called me higher. I’ve been at this all year and it’s the longest stretch I’ve gone. A few weeks ago I came into a group training with so much stress I felt physically ill. I almost bailed. But then I broke a barrier I’ve heard others talk about. All of a sudden, the stress was giving me the energy to blow through my routine for the day.

My trainer saw how I was reacting and asked how I was doing. I mentioned it was a high-stress day. She said, “You may want to go hit the punching bag when we’re done.”

It was that kind of day.

But it was a breakthrough day and now I have a positive memory hooked to dealing with stress and my workouts have reached a new level.

Diet

My eating habits haven’t changed. My wife keeps me eating healthy and I haven’t binged on junk like I would have in the past if I was stressed out. I keep my meal schedule rather than skipping. My body is fueled and it helps me deal with the anxiety I feel at times.

More concentrated prayer

I’ve taken a couple of more intensive times for prayer than normal and it has reset my spiritual compass in much needed moments.

Counseling

This was the latest key piece. I’ve known the massive benefit of having someone to talk to privately in the past. It had been about ten years when I had several things hit me hard. Now, I could feel that stress level blowing past what I experienced even ten years ago, and that was a horrible time in my life.

I meet regularly in private with a counselor where I can unload my week. I don’t have to worry about anyone’s feelings. I don’t have to be “proper.” And it has brought the needed release I’ve needed to keep walking through a very tough year.

See? Nothing groundbreaking here. These are simply core elements that I have found are needed in my life to keep in practice so I CAN deal with stress levels in life. The stress is simply going to be there. Dealing with it is my issue.

These very core exercises keep me sane and save my life and my ministry.

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