Dangerously Tired

It's been almost a month since my last post. A conference in Chicago. My son's wedding. Normal stuff of pastoring a church. Then throw in a bout with the flu in June. Whew! The pace of this last few months has made it tough to keep up with some things I most enjoy. 

The conference I attended was actually a retreat designed to help leaders take better care of our interior world and soul. I'll be attending it quarterly for the next two years. I thought it might be fun to share the journey with you. One of the first things we talked about was the symptoms of being 'dangerously tired'. There's a difference between 'good tired' and 'dangerously tired'. Good tired is what we feel after a demanding job well done. A few weeks ago Jim Woods helped me build a stacked-stone landscape wall on the front of our home. It was two days of moving dirt and stacking stone. When it was over I felt a 'good tired'. Being 'dangerously tired'' is very different. It's more emotional and spiritual than physical. Rather feeling satisfied with something well done I feel overwhelmed and out-of-control. 

I'm learning to create enough distance to recognize when I might be in danger...

  • Restlessness that lingers beneath the surface of my life (busyness simply masks it)
  • Irritability (small things push me over the edge)
  • Rage that is inordinate to the situation
  • Numbness that keeps my real emotions hidden and buried. At first this numbness feels good but over time I stop feeling much of anything. I think "I can't go there' because I lack the stamina to deal with life.
  • Compulsive and escapist behavior that robs me of energy (too much television and too little rest) rather than life-giving behavior that requires energy (i.e., riding my bike and meaningful conversation with friends).
  • Hopelessness that resides deep in my bones
  • Slippage in my spiritual practices
  • Going through the motions with everyday experiences
  • Using what energy I have to defensively dodge people and keep them at bay our of fear they may discover where I'm living

Maybe the most important gift you can give yourself, your family...and your spiritual journey this summer would be a 'gentle noticing' of where you might be in danger...

In my next entry I'll look at some of the sources behind our tiredness. I was caught off guard...

Fighting for your heart,

Gary