We need to keep in mind that our stress levels can rise every minute of the day. If we aren’t careful, we can find ourselves continually building pressure until we are ready to explode. The reason this happens is that we don’t let stresses go. We hold onto them until we can’t hold anymore. When the stress gets to be too much to bear, we tend to see it by how we react in other taxing situations. Do you see yourself in any of the following reactions to stress?
When our stress level gets too high, we often find ourselves not able to invest emotionally in our environment.
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- You shut down emotionally. When our stress level gets too high, we often find ourselves not able to invest emotionally in our environment. After all, we can stretch ourselves only to a certain point. If we are still fighting previous battles or ruminating on previous encounters, we won’t have emotions left to engage the current circumstances.
- You disengage from people. When we are overly stressed, we tend to shy away from those things that stress us out. And that includes people. The problem is, we are in the people business. We can’t do our job effectively if we are avoiding people. And we also can’t do our job effectively if we are constantly angry or frustrated. Stress causes us to be less effective leaders and ministers.
- You get overly angry about relatively minor events. When our stress level is high, we lose the ability to respond appropriately to frustrating issues. While most of us will never explode into violence or yell at co-workers or other ministers, we can respond with a level of anger that isn’t warranted. And that means we can make circumstances worse instead of better. We also run the risk of hurting people by being overly angry.
- You become physically fatigued. Stress is not only emotionally and mentally taxing, it can cause us to become physically exhausted. If we don’t do things to release our stress during the day, we will be overwhelmed. And that will affect us physically. We won’t just be more tired. We will also likely be overweight and have all the health effects that come with it. Decompressing isn’t just a good idea — it’s a necessity!
Decompressing isn’t just a good idea — it’s a necessity!
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Many of us haven’t really thought about the effects of stress on our minds and bodies. And most pastors have never thought about how we can minimize the effects of stress. It’s worth it to take the time and learn new habits of dealing with stress. Stay with it, even if it feels like you are going slowly at first. You will continue to reap the benefits of doing these things.
– Nelson Searcy and Richard Jarman
The above excerpt is from p. 98-100 of The Renegade Pastor’s Guide to Managing the Stress of Ministry.
Pastors Nelson Searcy and Richard Jarman share their secrets to effective stress management with practical steps and insights that you can start implementing immediately! God wants you to be a fruitful, faithful minister of the gospel. He wants you, as a Renegade Pastor, to rise above average as you pursue God’s best for you, your family, and your ministry.
Your partner in ministry,