How to Know You’re Too Busy

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I was talking with some pastors the other day and the topic of burnout, being too busy and doing too much came up. This seems to be a common thread among people, no matter what they do.

Here are some of the things they asked:

  • How do you know if you are close?
  • Are there warning signs that you are getting too busy?
  • How do you know that your busyness is not just a season, but becoming a way of life?

I know in my life, there are warning signs when I am doing too much or taking too much on. Sometimes I adhere to them and make changes, other times I bulldoze through and pay the price.

Here are some warning signs to be aware of:

  1. What is normally easy is now hard. This is one of the first things that happens. For me, it centers on preaching, sermon prep, reading leadership books. Whenever I find myself not feeling motivated in one or all of these areas, I know I am past the point of running too fast in life. To combat this, I take periodic breaks from preaching (I try to not preach more than 10 weeks in a row) and I work in books that have nothing to do with sermon prep or church ministry to give my brain a break.
  2. Sleep is hard to come by. For many Americans, sleep is hard as it is. We go to bed too late, we don’t take enough naps, spend too much time on technology and get worked up. I try to get to bed by 10:30, I try to not look at social media or texts after 8pm so that my brain is able to take a break. I’ve read studies about how using a smartphone after 9pm can be harmful to sleep and productivity. If you have to take sleeping pills, watch TV to fall asleep or find yourself going to bed at midnight or staring at the clock at midnight, you need to work on your sleep.
  3. It is hard to get going in the morning. Some people are morning people and can’t wait to get going, others are not. I’m not a morning person. But, when I find myself having a hard time getting going in the morning, needing multiple cups of coffee to stay awake or to focus, that’s a warning sign. Think about this morning, how hard was it to get out of bed? The harder it was, the closer you are to burning out.
  4. Motivation is hard to come by. It is true that you are more motivated and alert at certain parts of the day. For me, it is first thing in the morning, which is why I reserve that for sermon prep and not meetings. It is when I am most creative and I need to give that mental time to the most important part of my job: preaching. When I find that motivation not there, I know I have a problem.
  5. You get angry fast. When you are tired, you tend to get angry fast. Your fuse is shorter with those closest to you: family, friends, coworkers.
  6. You use things to calm down. This might be food, sex, porn, exercise, drugs, smoking, alcohol. While these things calm you down and all of these are not necessarily sins, when used to calm us down or help us relax or sleep or “take the edge off” we have a problem. If you think, “I just need ____ to calm down or feel better” you have a problem.
  7. You don’t laugh as much or have fun. This is connected to what we’ve already said, but if you can’t remember the last time you laughed and had fun, that’s a problem. When you are tired, the last thing you have energy for is fun or community.
  8. You have pulled back from community. When you are tired, especially if you are an introvert, the last thing you want is to be around people. Ironically, one of the things that can be the most helpful to warding off burnout and helping to bring you out of unhealthy patterns is community, being around people who care about you.

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In Search of a Hero

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I love the first week of a series and I have been waiting to kick off Fight for months.

So excited about Sunday!

For the next 5 weeks, we will be looking at the life of Samson and learning about the battles that men fight and how to win those fights. The implications of this have huge ramifications on families, marriages and single men and women.

To start off, we will be looking at Judges 13 this week and the idea that all of us are looking for a hero.

Growing up, we maybe looked to a parent or a teacher or a coach as a hero. As we get older, we might look to our kids, spouse, a degree or career path, we may even look to ourselves to be a hero. A hero is someone who saves us, rescues us from our life and takes us to something new, something better than what we have at the moment.

This is natural. This is how we are wired. We are wired to look for a hero, to look for something more, we are wired to fight for it as well.

The problem?

All the heroes we prop up in our lives and in our culture fail us. 

If you or someone you know struggles to be the man they need to be, who is unsatisfied with their life and wish that it could be more than what it is, this is a great week to be at Revolution.

Remember, we meet at 10am on Sunday mornings at 8300 E Speedway Blvd.

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A Wife Worth Finding, A Woman Worth Being

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Beautiful is a word we’ve been talking about for 2 weeks now.

But what does it actually mean to be beautiful?

What does it look like to be a woman worth marrying, a daughter worth raising and a woman worth being?

That’s what we’ll be looking at this week as we wrap up our series Beautiful, we will look at Proverbs 31:10 – 31 and see the picture of a woman who in the eyes of God, is the goal of all women.

For single guys, these verses give you a picture of what you are looking for in a wife. For parents, these verses show you what kind of daughter you are to raise and what kind of woman you are to help your son find. For women, this is a picture of what God calls you to be and has designed you to become over the course of your life.

This is a talk that hits everyone in our church and is incredibly relevant in a culture that has no idea what a beautiful woman is like or what it means to find a wife worth finding. Because of that, it’s a great week to be at Revolution and bring someone with you. 

Don’t forget as well, we are one week away from kicking off our man series Fight

Remember, we meet at 10am on Sunday mornings at 8300 E Speedway Blvd.

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Making Room for What Matters

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As part of our  Breathing Room series at Revolution I shared 6 simple ways to create margin in your life so that you are able to enjoy what really matters. If you missed them, here they are:

  1. Get a good night sleep. 
  2. Take a break every 90 minutes.
  3. Control electronics instead of letting electronics control you.
  4. Pay people to do what you hate.
  5. Life the life you want, not the life others want you to live.
  6. Use your schedule for your advantage.

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Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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Harvard Business Review on How using a smartphone after 9pm hurts your productivity tomorrow.

Our new research indicates the greater connectivity comes at a cost: using a smartphone to cram more work into a given evening results in less work done the next day. The reason for this, as we’ll explain, is that smartphones are bad for sleep, and sleep is very important to effectiveness as an employee.

5 ways people pleasing can undercut your parenting.

It starts with the best of intentions. In life, you end up becoming a people pleaser because you: can’t stand the thought of letting people down, so you tell them what they want to hear, lack the self-confidence to do what you think you need to do, so you don’t do it, desperately want to make everyone happy, so you try. And once the pattern is established, it very naturally repeats itself at home.

Lindsey Carlson on Stay at home moms with a missionary heart.

Have you ever watched someone else living your dream, the thing you really, really wanted for your life?

Erik Raymond on How to preach a stale sermon.

There is another aspect of sermon prep that is too often either assumed or neglected. I am talking about the preparation of the pastor’s heart to actually preach the sermon. Preparing a sermon is not only about exegesis, reading commentaries, articulating propositions, and finding appropriate illustrations. Sermon preparation is also about personally discovering, digesting, and delighting in the truth.

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Monday Morning Mind Dump…

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  • What a weekend at Revolution Church
  • I love the first day of a series
  • And yesterday did not disappoint
  • As you can see here
  • Katie and I taught together on what it means to be made in the image of God
  • The implications of this is not just for women and how they see themselves, but also for men and how they see themselves and the world around them
  • Lots of people getting prayed for after the sermon
  • Love seeing that
  • If you missed it, you can listen to it here
  • We also celebrated baptism yesterday
  • Love hearing the stories of life change and seeing the power of the gospel
  • Nothing like it
  • We also had one of our highest attendances ever
  • Love seeing our volunteers jump into action and helping guests park and find seats
  • We are getting ready to kick off our next FPU class
  • If you want to change your finances, get out of debt, plan for the future, go here
  • Friday, I got to perform the wedding of Joey and Bernadette Morrin
  • So fun being a part of their wedding
  • The weather was incredible for an outdoor wedding in Tucson
  • I’m blown away the emails I’ve gotten about the Beautiful series so far
  • It seems like it is definitely striking a chord
  • It’s sad the bondage that many women live with
  • I’m talking this Sunday about how to be free from your past as you move forward into your future
  • So many people let their past be a compass for their future and it is heartbreaking
  • All of this makes me really excited to kick Fight off in a few weeks and talk to men
  • I’m sad that this Sunday is the last football game in a long time
  • Love football season
  • Thankfully the Olympics start soon afterward
  • My kids can’t get over how excited they are for the Olympics
  • Having lunch today with a new Revolutionary
  • Love meeting new people at our church and helping them get better connected
  • Say a prayer that this coming Sunday is even bigger than this past Sunday
  • Lots of freedom waiting to happen as we apply 2 Corinthians 5:17 in our lives
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Making Room for What Matters | Use Your Schedule to Your Advantage

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On Sunday, I finished our Breathing Room series at Revolution by looking at how to find breathing room between work, life and everything that has to get done. This week, I want to share 6 simple ways I’ve done that and you can to. I’m going to share one each day so you have time to process them and hopefully put some things into practice.

The first one we looked at was how to get a good night sleepTuesday, we talked about why you should take a break every 90 minutesWednesday, we looked at what electronics can do to our margin. Thursday we looked at what will probably be the most controversial or at least, the one you think is unattainable: Pay people to do what you hate and yesterday we looked at one of the most important things to making room for what matters most: Live the life you want, not the one others want you to live

As we wrap up this series today, I want to share something that we often don’t think about when it comes to our lives and schedules and it is crucial to finding breathing room and making room in life for what matters most. It’s this: Use your schedule to your advantage. 

Every job, career, has a schedule and a rhythm. If you have kids in school, you know this. If you are in school, you know this. No matter what you do, no matter what stage of life you are in, there is a schedule and a rhythm. There are times that are busy and times that are slow. You have days that are more stressful and hectic and tiring than others.

Use them to your advantage instead of letting them use you. 

Simple right?

Here’s what I mean.

For my rhythm as a pastor, the fall and spring are the busiest times of the year. The slowest times? From Christmas Eve until the first week of January and the middle of June to the middle of July. Because of this, I strategically take breaks then. During my week, Tuesday and Wednesday are my most stressful and intense days so I don’t plan much on those evenings.

I am also blessed with being able to make my own schedule so I can work on my sermon, plan meetings when I want.

Maybe you work in the evening and have the days free. How can you be more strategic with those days?

Can you make your own schedule and decide to take a break for your kids during the day? Some people can.

Can you start work earlier to get done earlier? Some people can. Most people can’t (not because their company won’t let them but because they haven’t asked).

When is your slow time? When is the busiest time of the year for you?

Plan accordingly.

The problem for most Americans is we never think about this. We simply roll from one day to the next, one season to the next without ever catching our breath.

When I begin preaching in January, I know it is a long time until summer. That’s okay because I took some downtime over the holidays.

It’s the same in the fall.

Sit down and look at your calendar for the year. If you don’t know when you are busiest, look back and see what you did and how it went. If you are a teacher, you know when it slow down. Use that to live the life you want to live.

Don’t let your schedule dictate your life.

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Making Room for What Matters | Live the Life You Want

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On Sunday, I finished our Breathing Room series at Revolution by looking at how to find breathing room between work, life and everything that has to get done. This week, I want to share 6 simple ways I’ve done that and you can to. I’m going to share one each day so you have time to process them and hopefully put some things into practice.

The first one we looked at was how to get a good night sleepTuesday, we talked about why you should take a break every 90 minutes. Wednesday, we looked at what electronics can do to our margin. Yesterday we looked at what will probably be the most controversial or at least, the one you think is unattainable: Pay people to do what you hate

Today is the second last one, but also one of the most important things to making room for what matters most: Live the life you want, not the one others want you to live. 

This came up in the first week of our Breathing Room series and it is a game changer for me.

Too many people live the life others want them to live, make choices others expect them to make and miss life. They leave their dreams on the table and live a life they don’t want to live.

How sad.

This can be seen in the jobs people take, the houses they live in, the sports and activities their kids do, even the people they have as friends or marry.

Think for a minute, what is it that you want to accomplish with your one and only life?

What things if you don’t do will you regret? Travel? Writing a book? Retiring early? Taking up a hobby? Starting a ministry or company?

What is keeping you from those things?

Fear stands in the way of many. What will people think about it?

So far, we have done 2 things that friends and family thought were crazy. We were told by friends and family members that planting a church was not a smart career move because of the percentage that don’t survive. We were told that adopting would bankrupt and set us back financially.

Yet, if we didn’t do those two things, we would live with regret and always wonder, “What if?”

Living with regret is not living.

Make a commitment today, not to live with regret. Live with passion and abandon.

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I Want Breathing Room in Work & Life, Now What?

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When it comes to breathing room, checking a box on Sunday can be the easy part. Actually putting it into practice, having conversations with a boss, a spouse, a child or friend, creating and sticking to a budget or cutting something out of your life, that can be the hard part.

As you move forward with breathing room, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Pray for yourself and the person you are going to talk to. Confess your sin and ask God to be with you and them as you have a conversation. If you are fearful, confess that. If you are worried that they won’t be open to what you’ll say, ask God to move (Daniel 1:9) and change their heart.
  2. Be humble as you talk to those affected by your choices. Daniel was humble, he didn’t go in guns blazing and throw a verse at anyone. He asked and allowed God to work and he allowed the King’s men to be in authority over him.
  3. Be like Daniel, asking your boss or spouse how to move forward, let them be a part of the solution. Let them talk with you about how to move forward, they might have a better idea than you do.
  4. Keep your commitment. Don’t shy away from this as you move forward. The Holy Spirit moved in your heart and our job is to move forward in faith. Trust that.  
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Making Room for What Matters | Pay People to do What You Hate

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On Sunday, I finished our Breathing Room series at Revolution by looking at how to find breathing room between work, life and everything that has to get done. This week, I want to share 6 simple ways I’ve done that and you can to. I’m going to share one each day so you have time to process them and hopefully put some things into practice.

The first one we looked at was how to get a good night sleepTuesday, we talked about why you should take a break every 90 minutesYesterday, we looked at what electronics can do to our margin. Today I want to look at what will probably be the most controversial or at least, the one you think is unattainable.

Pay people to do what you hate. 

When I first came across this idea in Randy Frazee’s book Making Room for Life: Trading Chaotic Lifestyles for Connected RelationshipsI thought, “that’s what wealthy people do.”

Hear me out though.

Think about the things you hate to do: laundry, yard work, cleaning your house, or something else. What if you paid someone else to do it?

Unattainable? Maybe right now. Wasteful? No way.

The reason I reacted like I did when I first read this was because we had just planted Revolution church. We had 2 kids with 1 on the way. We lived on $2,000 a month and our rent was half that.

Slowly, we have begun to work some of this into our budget.

Why do this? The goal of life is to enjoy it and use it for God’s glory. Not be miserable or wasteful.

You already do some of this, you maybe haven’t been as strategic about it. Every time you eat out or go to Starbucks, you are paying someone to do something you don’t want to do. So before you tell me you don’t do this, you do. Most of the time, we don’t have a reason for it, we just do it in that moment.

Here’s something our family did, this past year as our family expanded to 5 we learned how much water costs and how much laundry we do. So, we saved up and bought the biggest washer and dryer on the market. The ones that save energy and water. Consequently, we do less laundry because the loads are bigger.

Now, could that money go to something else? Yes, but we chose it to save Katie time on laundry so she could do other things.

Don’t miss this about time: You get 24 hours. That’s it. 

Every minute you spend doing something is one minute you don’t spend on something else.

It takes a long time to clean your house? Pay someone else to do it so you can be freed up to do something else.

Now, should everyone do this?

No.

I know someone who has 1 child, the wife doesn’t work and they pay someone to clean. Not to save time but because all their friends do that.

You must be careful about motivation on this.

Some people love yard work and find it relaxing. Others hate it. Yet, it has to be done for all of us.

This might be an area to cut back on.

The point is this: is there something you do that keeps you from experiencing life that you can give away or pay someone to do?

Consider doing that.

Here’s the pushback I get: If you have that extra money, you should give it away and be more generous. 

Here’s my response, “I am as generous as I feel God has called me to be. On top of that, if I can be generous to my wife and kids, why wouldn’t I do that? It is stingy to be generous to everyone but my family.”

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