Sustainable Rest in the Midst of Ministry : Jess Connolly
As pastors and ministry leaders, we all know that rest is vital. Yet, how can we experience true rest when it seems unrealistic in our busy ministry lives? In this week’s conversation on FrontStage BackStage, host Jason Daye is joined by Jess Connolly. Jess and her husband Nick planted Bright City Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Jess has written a number of books, including her latest entitled, Tired of Being Tired. Together, Jess and Jason look at some of the struggles that we have as ministry leaders when it comes to experiencing rest and refreshment. Jess spends some time focusing on the different types of exhaustion that we experience in ministry and provides some helpful insights on how we can create sustainable rest in our ministry lives.
Looking to dig more deeply into this topic and conversation? Every week we go the extra mile and create a free toolkit so you and your ministry team can dive deeper into the topic that is discussed. Find your Weekly Toolkit below… Love well, Live well, Lead well!
- Video links to this week’s episode – easily share with the ministry leaders in your church
- Audio links to this week’s episode – easily share with the ministry leaders in your church
- Additional resource links from this week’s conversation – so you and your team can easily find what is mentioned or referenced
- Ministry Leaders Growth Guide – key insights and concepts from this week’s conversation as well as engaging questions for you and your team to consider and process
- Full-text transcript of this week’s episode – review something you heard, pass along snippets, post tweets, create presentations to share, or use in whatever way you find most helpful in developing your ministry leaders
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Additional Resource Links
www.jessconnolly.com – Explore a variety of valuable resources on Jess’s website, including books, blogs, podcasts, and speaking engagements designed to support and enhance your spiritual journey.
Tired of Being Tired: Receive God’s Realistic Rest for Your Soul-Deep Exhaustion – You can break the cycle of living like you’re constantly on the hook and come to Jesus to find rest for your weary and burdened soul. This book will show you how to find new rhythms so that you can experience the abundant life God intended for you.
www.brightcity.church – Helping people see the light, be the light, and shine the light of Jesus.
Feeling overwhelmed, burned out, or just want to talk? Complimentary Coaching Session for Pastors http://PastorServe.org/freesession
Ministry Leaders Growth Guide
Key Insights and Concepts
- Acknowledging the struggle with rest in ministry underscores its paradoxical nature—essential yet elusive, tied to a commandment yet often neglected in practice.
- Ministry leaders, driven by a profound love for God and people, often find it challenging to prioritize rest amidst their deep-seated desire to serve wholeheartedly.
- The tension between knowing the importance of rest and practicing it reveals deeper motivations, blending noble intentions with internal and external pressures.
- For ministry leaders the call to rest can be overshadowed by the ease of preaching about rest, leading to a disconnect between teaching and personal obedience.
- The narrative of rest often clashes with the relentless pace of modern life, particularly for those in ministry, where responsibilities rarely pause or diminish.
- Integrating biblical principles of rest into the reality of daily life requires a shift from viewing rest as occasional retreats to embracing consistent, sustainable rhythms.
- Recognizing the diverse forms of exhaustion—physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual—highlights the multifaceted nature of rest, calling for tailored approaches to restoration.
- Fatigue often leads to emotional detachment or suppression which can impact personal wellbeing and hinder a leader’s ability to lead effectively.
- Contemporary society has created a culture where emotional exhaustion is normalized and often goes unrecognized, especially within leadership roles.
- Overcoming emotional fatigue involves reclaiming the capacity for genuine emotional expression, aligning with the scriptural portrayal of Jesus’s own emotional depth and engagement.
- Personal testimonies of burnout underscore the cumulative impact of disregarding small exceptions to self-care, revealing the profound significance of honoring one’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.
- Embracing rest involves a willingness to recognize and overcome an unhealthy understanding of perpetual sacrifice. This requires a mindset shift that acknowledges and values God’s abundant provision for personal well-being.
- True rest isn’t just a cessation of activity but a profound recognition of God’s relentless love and compassion, inviting individuals to cease striving and receive His unending grace, kindness, and sovereignty.
Questions for Reflection
- How do I personally perceive the concept of rest within the context of my ministry or leadership role?
- How am I doing when it comes to embracing rest?
- In what ways do my motivations for serving others intersect with my struggle to prioritize rest?
- Reflecting on the episode discussion, what are some positive and negative reasons that were shared which I identify with regarding my difficulty in embracing rest?
- How do I reconcile the discrepancy between my understanding of rest and my actual practice of it in daily life?
- Considering the demands of my ministry or leadership responsibilities, how can I integrate biblical principles of rest into my ongoing commitments? What will that look like?
- How does the ministry culture of our local church help or hinder our leaders when it comes to rest? What changes need to be made?
- What types of exhaustion—physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual—do I most resonate with? How do they impact my ability to rest?
- Am I aware of any tendencies to suppress or detach from my emotions? How might this affect my overall well-being and capacity to lead effectively?
- What are my thoughts on sacrifice as it relates to serving in ministry? Do I recognize any patterns of disregarding my own needs in favor of perpetual sacrifice? If so, how can I address these tendencies?
- How can I cultivate a healthier understanding of rest as not merely a cessation of activity but a profound acknowledgment of God’s provision and love for me?
- Considering the insights shared about the importance of saying “no,” am I saying “no” enough? How can I practice discernment with making commitments in a manner that better safeguards my well-being and prioritize rest?
- What practical steps can I take to establish sustainable rhythms of rest in my life, considering the unique demands and challenges of my ministry context? What will this look like?
- How can I shift my mindset from viewing rest as a luxury or inconvenience to recognizing it as an essential aspect of stewarding my physical, emotional, and spiritual health?
As pastors and ministry leaders, we all know that rest is vital. Yet, how can we experience true rest when it seems unrealistic in our busy ministry lives?
In this episode, I am joined by Jess Connolly. Jess and her husband Nick planted Bright City Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Jess has written a number of books, including her latest entitled, Tired of Being Tired. Together, Jess and I look at some of the struggles that we have as ministry leaders when it comes to experiencing rest and refreshment. Jess spends some time focusing on the different types of exhaustion that we experience in ministry and provides some helpful insights on how we can create sustainable rest in our ministry lives. Are you ready? Let’s go.
Hey, friends, welcome to another insightful episode of FrontStage BackStage. I am your host Jason Daye. And every single week, it’s my privilege actually to get to sit down with a trusted ministry leader. And we dive into a topic in an effort to help you and pastors and ministry leaders just like you embrace healthy, sustainable rhythms for both your life and your ministry. We are proud to be a part of the Pastor Serve Network. And each week, not only do we have a conversation, but our team creates an entire toolkit that complements this episode. And you can find that toolkit at PastorServe.org/network. And there you’ll find a ton of different resources including a Ministry Leaders Growth Guide. We encourage you to use this for your own personal growth but also for the growth of the ministry leaders in your local church as you dig more deeply into this conversation. So be sure to check that out at PastorServe.org/network. Now at Pastor Serve we love walking alongside pastors and ministry leaders and our team is offering a complimentary coaching session. So if you are interested in that, please head over to PastorServe.org/freesession. And you can learn more details about that coaching session. Now if you’re joining us on YouTube, please give us a thumbs up and take a moment to drop your name and the name of your church or your ministry in the comments below. We love getting to know our audience better, we’ll be praying for you and for your ministry. And whether you’re following us on YouTube or joining us on your favorite podcast platform. Please be sure to subscribe or to follow because you do not want to miss out on any of these great conversations. Super excited for today’s episode and for today’s conversation. At this time, I’d like to welcome Jess Connolly to FrontStage BackStage. Jess, welcome.
Hey, thank you so much for having me. A huge honor to be here.
Yeah, very excited to have you with us. We’re going to dive into a conversation that is not a new conversation to those of us in ministry. It happens to be a topic that we’re really good at encouraging others to do, to engage in, right? It is intrinsically tied to one of the 10 commandments. And yet it is something that so often in ministry we struggle with, right? And that is this idea of rest. Jess, so let’s kick off. Let’s just talk about why you think it is as one who’s been in ministry for years, a church planter, Pastor, you and your husband there in Charleston. Why do you think it is so challenging for us as ministry leaders who know how vital it is to rest? Why do we struggle with it so much?
You know, I think that there are some great reasons here. And there are some bad reasons here. So I think, truly, what I want to say about most people I know in ministry, most pastors, most people in servant-leadership positions in general, is that they love people, and they love God, and they want to love people, and they want to love God. And so I think at the core of why we don’t rest, there’s some really beautiful things going on here. I think for sure there’s some negative stuff that we have to pay attention to as well. But I just have so much compassion for any pastor, any person in ministry or in leadership who would say, I know a lot of truth here. I know a lot of wisdom here. I teach other people the same truth, but it’s harder for me to take it. Because I think the root of that is really often we just want to love people well, and we want to love God well. Now, some other reasons why. I think because it’s easier for us to preach than it is for us to be obedient sometimes. I think sometimes it’s easier for us to teach and harder for us to actually do what we know God’s asking us to do. I think some of this might be rooted in pride or a sense of over-responsibility. I think a negative reason that maybe we’re not even directly responsible for, I think many of us specifically in ministry have received really untrue teaching about what it means to be a pastor, to be a servant-leader, or to show up. And we’ve actually had people that we trust and respect in a spiritual capacity tell us that it’s biblical, spiritual, and mature to push past our own limitations. So the answer is, I think there’s lots of reasons. I think some are beautiful. I think some are pretty messed up. But I think we need to talk about all of them.
Yeah, Jess, I love that. What a great answer. I absolutely love that. And I think it’s so true. Because I reflect on my own life and colleagues, people I love in ministry, and it really is that passion for God, passion for people, passion for the mission, and that sense of calling that often pushes us into these seasons of urgency, and we want to be present, we want to give our absolute best. So I love that beautiful piece, I’m glad that you touched on that. But the reality is that so often, we have been trained or formed in certain ways. We’ve been influenced in certain ways that really are unhealthy when it comes down to it. So I think that’s valuable for us to think through. Now, one of the things, Jess, I love about your book, Tired of Being Tired, is that you use some adjectives to talk about rest that I think are so very important. And that a lot of conversations about rest are going on. Especially since there’s been a lot of pastoral burnout and all of these types of things. But you use some adjectives I think are so vital that I don’t see as often. You talked about the idea of realistic rest and sustainable rest. I would love for you to unpack a little bit of what was going on in your mind and in your heart as you were putting pen to paper as you’re working through this. And why the focus on the realistic piece and the sustainable piece?
Well, I love getting talking about this specifically for people in ministry, right? Because if they’re anything like me, if they’re anything like my husband, we’ve read the books. We’ve read the books, we’ve listened to the podcast, and I listen to all the episodes on rest, I’ve read all the books on rest. And the hardest part for me is that what I kept hearing was that I needed to have this kind of quiet, shushed life that was really a lot more peaceful and a lot more slowed down. And the problem was is I am on a train that cannot be stopped right now. Personally, in my actual life, I’ve got four kids, three are teenagers. They are just careening towards adulthood for better or for worse. And we’ve got this church that we planted that can not, in a sense, move backward. I can’t undo a lot of the rhythms we’ve done, I have to keep showing up. And I can change my language about that and say, I get to keep showing up, which I do believe. But the truth is, Sunday is coming. People are going to die this year that I’m going to have to shepherd their families and their loved ones through, and new babies will be born, and marriages will have crises, and people will lose jobs, and great and incredible things will happen, too, and someone has to be there for all that, right? And so I would read book after book after book about rest. And I would say the problem is my life is not going to go backward. It’s not getting shushed or quiet. There are these actual real responsibilities that I cannot take off my plate. And so I have to find a new way because if Jesus says in Matthew 11, Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I’ll give you rest, come and walk with me. I’ll show you that my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Then that has to also be true for pastors. And it has to also be true for people in ministry. So I just kind of went on this quest to want to understand rest. Not only from a biblical perspective but also to apply some of those biblical principles to my life in a realistic way. Because for me, there was no going to a quiet retreat. There was no monk-like existence coming for me. And while I write to anyone who will listen in this whole world, I predominantly work with a lot of women, and so I specifically had this heart for women who I was hearing from who are like maybe my pastor husband, or this man I know read this book on rest, but I’m also now the one who has to keep the things going. And so this is true for men and for women alike, the responsibilities just aren’t gonna go away. We don’t all have an assistant. We don’t all have somebody who can sweep things up for us. So what do we do if we have to keep showing up, but we want to experience what God says is the rest He wants to give us?
Yeah, so that begs the question, right? The next question is, How, then, because there’s so much reality in what you’re speaking about, I think so many people will resonate with this. And I do want to say that, one bit of caution, is we can kind of excuse ourselves from resting because we’re going going going, you know, the train can’t be stopped. And so then we kind of justify it, right? So and I know, Jess, because I’ve read your book, you’re not advocating for that. You’re saying, that in the midst of that train that can’t be stopped, Jesus has promised us rest. So it’s possible. One of the things that you focus in on is that there are these different types of exhaustion in our lives, right? So we can be exhausted in different ways. And I think for me this, as I was reading, is kind of one of the keys to this idea of thinking about realistic rest, because not all exhaustion is the same. So talk to us a little bit, Jess, about how there are different types of exhaustion in our lives, and how that helps us grab a hold of this idea of okay, maybe I can wrestle into some rest. Because there are these different types of exhaustion, right?
Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s where the realistic portion really comes into play. Because I think a lot of us and this is again, another thing I found doing, like reading every single book I could get my hands on, is that a lot of what was prescribed for me or prescribed for like a blanket audience was not actually helpful, because it wasn’t hitting the parts of my life where I was the most fatigued. And so for many of us, there might be a real sense of physical fatigue, what we need is physical rest. And I love that you touched on that Jason saying, like, for sure my book does not advocate that you keep going and all the things. Because I would say, especially to pastors, and especially to people in ministry, a lot of us are actually doing things God didn’t ask us to do. And we’re like, I’m so tired. I just have to keep doing everything. And he might be like, did I ask you to do that? I don’t know. Did I ask you to have the sixth service? I think that might have been on you. I don’t know. So we have to actually look at that, too. So for some of us, there may be some very real physical exhaustion where we need just realistic daily ways that we can put our bodies back together and honor the limitations and boundaries that we’ve been given as humans living here on Earth. But to be honest, especially for people in ministry, I think a lot of us are actually feeling this intense soul-deep version of exhaustion, because we’re spiritually tired, or we’re emotionally tired, or mentally tired. And the truth is, if you are spiritually, emotionally, and mentally tired, no amount of mask is going to help you. It’s just not going to. We need a better way to process our emotions on a daily basis. We need a better way to sort out the mental load that is absolutely overwhelming just being alive in the year of our Lord 2024. And I think, especially for people in ministry, we need to have honest conversations about what spiritual exhaustion and spiritual fatigue look like. Again, not so that we can pull ourselves out of ministry and say, Oh, I just can’t do it anymore. I’m burned out. I have to stop. I know that that’s not going to be realistic for most people. But how do we handle our spiritual exhaustion in a very real and practical way and keep going for the long haul?
Yeah, so let’s dig into that a little bit. Well, first, Jess, are there ways to help us identify and kind of put our thumb on the pulse as to what type of exhaustion we’re experiencing?
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I have a quiz in the book, literally, it’s that simple. It was like, Hey, let’s talk through this. What are some of the different areas in your life? But I think most of us could do a quick scan and even just hearing these four different types, even just hearing it helps us pause and scan and say like, okay, hold on what I’m feeling might not be this or might not be that. I think just noticing how you feel when you say you’re tired is huge. Just paying attention to what happened before that, or noticing certain things that do kind of help us feel put back together, feel renewed, or feel refreshed. So again, of course, there’s a quiz in the book that will help you think through it and descriptions of each type of exhaustion. But I think a lot of us just pausing and kind of scanning like oh, how do I feel and what do I think would make me feel better? We often have enough wisdom and introspection in ourselves and we hear from the Holy Spirit. So we get to identify where we’re at. But as far as how we actually least start to practically receive and engage in God’s rest for each of those different things. Again, this is where the realistic piece comes back to me is that I think, for whatever reason, the enemy has done this incredible campaign, again, especially against people in ministry, that has made us see rest as these big sweeping moments where we get away, or we have sabbatical, or we take a vacation, and I am all for all of those things. I love sabbatical and I love vacation. But what I started to realize, too, is that even the practice of Sabbath, taking Sabbath once a week, which again, I think a lot of pastors would tell other people to do, but they are not doing themselves. So we’re trying to live these lives of obedience and worship, but we are not actually obeying God. We are not taking a Sabbath. But I noticed that even Sabbath, even this once-a-week, kind of more realistic rhythm of receiving rest, would not hit for me, it would not work if I was not receiving daily rest. If I was not on a daily basis, saying what are my physical needs to be recreated? What are my mental needs to be awake to and aware of in my own life? What are my emotional needs? How can I process what I’m feeling about what I’m doing, what I’m hearing, and what’s happening around me? And also spiritually, do I know where I end and God begins? Do I know the boundaries of what’s mine to hold and what’s God’s to hold? Do I know what I’m capable of, again, especially as pastors, especially as ministers of the gospel? Do I know what my responsibility is? Or am I seeing all of my work and all of my spiritual life as something he needs me to do, not only for him and his glory but also for other people?
Yeah, so let’s lean in a little bit, especially on that last topic, because I think this is really, really helpful. Kind of where that line falls between what God really is asking of me and what I might just be offering up or putting myself through. So, Jess, practically speaking, as pastors and ministry leaders, how do we begin to define that? How do we begin to kind of pull back and look where that boundary is? Where’s that line? Am I overstepping my responsibilities?
Yeah. It’s so interesting, since writing Tired of Being Tired, and just watching the world of Christiandom unfold online, which is now what most of us are doing. For good and for worse, like we’re learning from other people, and we’re seeing what other people are doing. But I’ve noticed that I’m almost allergic to pastors or any spiritual advisors, teachers, or guides in any way, shape, or form, insisting in any capacity that God needs us. And I don’t know when exactly this will air for us. It’s the middle of January as we’re recording this, and I’m at the part of the Bible reading plan that I think a lot of people get stuck on if you’re doing any kind of year-long Bible reading plan. So I just finished the book of Job today, which is where I think a lot of us get stuck. But one thing that I noticed in this pass of Job, is that when God comes back to Job and he’s like correcting him and calling him up and reminding him who he is, God, and who Job is and what their roles are here, there’s this long narrative like, do you think I need you? Do you think I’m all-powerful? And so that being said, I’m answering this in the longest way possible. But I think for a lot of us, we need our minds renewed with truth and a reminder of truth before we can start to live a little bit differently. And so I think for many of us, especially those who have been in ministry or have been in service for a long time, or leadership in any capacity, we need our minds renewed with the truth that God does not need us. It’s for our joy, and absolutely for His glory, that we get to be a part of doing kingdom work. But God will do what God wants to do, and God will get his glory, and he will use whoever willingly comes and he will honor that obedience with absolute abundance in our life. But I think that specifically when we’re in ministry, we really do start believing that it’s all on our shoulders and it’s dependent on us. And it’s just such a perversion of the gospel in general because none of us would be walking with Jesus, would be walking with our Father if at just the right time he hadn’t moved toward us in Mercy. So that being said, there’s some renewing of the mind of the belief that we would say, with our mind, we would absolutely say like, Oh, totally, totally. I know God’s in control. I know he’s got it. But we don’t actually live like that. And so I think we need our minds renewed and transformed to remember the truth about who’s in control of all this, and who’s responsible, and who’s gonna get the glory, and who holds it all together. And like God reminds Job, it’s just not you. You don’t know where I keep the oceans, you didn’t start all this thing and you’re not sustaining it, you’re not going to see it to fruition, but for your joy, I’m gonna let you be a part of it. So I think we need some renewal there with our minds. But then what I noticed is right after we have our minds renewed with truth, right after we’re reminded with truth, and we experience a refreshment that comes from repentance, and says, Okay, I got off track here, what I noticed is the very next thing that can change, that I believe often leads to really practical life change for people. And this is super applicable in the area of rest, too. It’s just changing the way we talk. Just this kind of cellular level, that we have capacity over the words that we put in our mouths, what we speak, and what we say. And so I noticed, again, people in ministry, pastors, we are really sometimes the worst at this. The way we talk about our jobs, the way we talk about our roles, the way we talk about how other people need us, rather than talking about their dependence on God, talking about his power, talking about his capacity, we’re talking a lot about ours. And so that is going to create rhythms in our life that we’re going to keep trying to sustain.
Yeah, that’s good. It’s just that little switch. And there’s that mental piece you talked about, Jess, but then just that little switch about the words we’re using, how we’re talking about our ministry, how we’re talking about the activities that God invites us into, does begin to kind of change and shift, I think. One of the things you mentioned, Jess, is this idea of daily rest, right? You know, we’ve got the big vacation or unplugging, we’ve got the weekly Sabbath, but this daily rest. So, Jess, can you share with us some practices that you have adopted into the rhythm of your life, or maybe others, others on your ministry team, or other churches, other ministry capacities that you’ve seen that have really been helpful when it comes to finding these moments of rest on a daily basis?
Yeah, I’ll give you a smattering of a couple, knowing that not all these will work for everybody. But these are just some. One that I would advocate that almost everyone kind of just hold space for and see, hold it up to God, see if this might be helpful for you, is I really believe in 2024, if we are not saying no on a daily basis, we are probably saying yes too much. We’re just being offered too much. We’re being offered too many opportunities. Whether it’s like actual logistical invitations to something or whether it’s an invitation from the internet to get your attention, to get your affection, to get your money, to get your time, to get your something. We’re just being offered to do too much. We have too many invitations. And so I would love to make saying no cool again, make it look obedient again. But again, I don’t advocate for saying no for saying no’s sake. I advocate for saying no because I just think there are too many invitations. So the cool thing is, as people who know Jesus and walk with God, we get to ask God for insight every single day about what he asks us to do and what he wants from us. So this is only more opportunity for intimacy. So I would just say pay attention to the last time you said no because, for a lot of us, it’s been too long. It’s been way too long. But I would love to advocate for everybody to just try to say at least one little brave, faithful, spirit-filled No, every single day. Some other ones are we just need sleep, our bodies need re-creation, and we need to be put back together. No physical sleep will keep us from mental health, spiritual health, or emotional health, it’ll keep us from all sorts of abundance that God has for us. But again, we have 8 million different excuses for why we can’t sleep and why we don’t. But at some point, it’s just an act of disobedience. So I’d say we need physical sleep and there are seasons where it’s not attainable. People having newborns, or are caring for those who are sick, etc. But those caveats and those kinds of moments where we can play devil’s advocate shouldn’t keep us from taking it on a daily basis. I think everybody for some kind of mental rest in their life needs some digital rest every single day. I think it’s something all of us nod our heads at. Yeah, totally. No blue light. But I just don’t typically really believe that most people are getting them as far as they need. So actually turning our phones off. Maybe sitting in the car before you go inside, in between work and being with family, and not holding your phone but just scanning your mind. They’re simple practices like making a to-do later list when you leave work rather than carrying all of the weight, whether it’s spiritual, or logistical, or practical, or bigger than us. Like some kind of list that says, This is what I’m leaving today to do for tomorrow because the work is going to keep going. But tonight, I need to rest. Those are all just a couple of little practices that again, are so practical and so small. But I actually believe that the wild obedience and taking the small little practical things is what’s gonna lead to life change for most of us.
Yeah, I absolutely love that. There’s some great examples. Jess, one of the things you touched on is the emotional exhaustion. And I think, obviously, physical exhaustion is easy for us to wrap our minds around. Spiritual exhaustion, even, I mean, especially in ministry, I think we can sense when we’re spiritually drained. Mental exhaustion, yeah, too many meetings, too many logistics, and all that stuff. It seems like the emotional exhaustion can sometimes, I don’t know if it maybe masks itself as something else. And so it’s harder to kind of put our finger on it. But talk to us a bit about that emotional exhaustion piece, and how we can identify it, and how can we kind of process through it in a healthy way.
So you’ve brought up such a great point. I think one reason why emotional exhaustion is so easy to mask is because we praise people for it. So we really glorify emotionless living, especially in people in leadership, and we set this standard that no one can actually live up to, including Jesus, because he did not live an emotionless life. And so the problem is that for many of us, emotional exhaustion is going to look like we just can’t access them anymore. We don’t cry when we feel compassion for someone. Or we have a hard time laughing when something is really funny. Or we maybe are a little more stoic when things happen to us. And again, the problem with that is that we’re praised for it. And we’re told, ah, that makes you strong, that makes you above all of this. But what we see in Scripture is that our Father, Holy Spirit, and our friend and Savior, Jesus, so much emotion is exhibited in the triune, God toward us, for us, and on our behalf. And so I think that if someone is saying, I don’t struggle with emotional exhaustion, I’m actually like, pretty put together, I would say, pause, rewind that back. Can you still feel emotion? Can you still access it? Does your heart still break for people? Does your heart still break for your own self? Do you feel joy? Do you let yourself feel confusion or feel anger? And when you do feel those things who do you process them with? Is it God? Or maybe is it a vice? Or maybe is it a substitute space where you can let all of those things out? So that’s the one thing I would say if you’re noticing emotionlessness in your life, again, no shame, shame off of all of us, because the pace with which the world is asking us to live is leading most of us to an exhausted place. But we can recover those emotions with God. But then I would say the flip side of that is someone who can’t control their emotions, who’s like, I don’t know why I’m crying. This is coming out of nowhere. I’m not really sure maybe the emotional output doesn’t match the input, like what should be making them feel those emotions. And so I would say both of those would be markers that we could look for that we might have hit a place of emotional fatigue.
Yeah, that’s excellent. Just so good. Thank you so much for that. As we’re kind of winding down the conversation, I would love to give you an opportunity. You have the eyes and ears of brothers and sisters serving on the front lines. I’d love for you just to share maybe some words of encouragement. Because again, going back to the very beginning of this conversation, we’re really good at talking about rest. Really good preaching on it, teaching on it, and encouraging others to do it, but we struggle with ourselves. So what are some words of encouragement that you’d like to leave with your brothers and sisters?
Yeah. So in Tired of Being Tired, I share about what got me to write this book, which is that I had an emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical breakdown. That was a long time coming. I’ve been in ministry for over two decades. And this one just built and built and built until it was time for it to come out. And recently, I was talking with my friend Sharon Miller, who’s also in ministry. She’s a pastor. And she was asking me about the book and she said, I have a really honest question for you and I hope it won’t be rude. She said The thing is, I think that most of this wisdom that is in the book you knew before your breakdown. She was like, I think you knew most of it. She was like some of it’s written really beautifully or you’ve shared a new Bible study or like a fresh insight on some general wisdom. And she was like, I’m pretty sure you knew all this before. And I was like, You’re right. I’m pretty sure a lot of us know all of this. And she said, What is different now? What made it different for you? And what made it different after you wrote the book? And I said, the biggest difference for me is this, is that I stopped making small exceptions. I stopped making small exceptions. So I stopped making small exceptions about how many hours of sleep I would get. I stopped making small exceptions about what I would do on my Sabbath. I stopped making small exceptions about like pushing my emotions down or not paying attention to them, for the sake of ministry. I stopped making exceptions about how much I would say yes to when I knew mentally and physically I couldn’t handle it. I stopped making those exceptions because I realized that especially for those of us in ministry, small exception on top of small exception on top of small exception leads to a breakdown. And the problem isn’t just the breakdown that is headed for all of us if we don’t pay attention to our need for rest. The problem is actually in that every single one of those small exceptions, I was missing out on God’s kindness, love, and compassion toward me. I was missing out on his love and abundance toward me by believing that what he was asking for me was to put down my own needs my own feelings, and my own relationship with him, for the sake of the gospel. And so it was just like, moment after moment after moment of missing the whole point of God’s love and kindness toward me, which is actually what empowers me to share it with anybody else. And so my massive encouragement would be like most of this if you read Tired of Being Tired, most of that, you’d say like, yeah, that sounds right. There’s nothing groundbreaking in there. But I do believe that if we will stop making small exceptions, and if we will practically take realistic steps and have our minds changed about what God’s rest looks like for us and toward us, so that we can receive it every single day, and every single week, and every single month, we really just will see more of His kingdom and His kindness and his love toward us, which will empower us to keep going for the long haul.
Yeah, I love that, Jess, that’s awesome. So appreciate it. Want to encourage everyone to read Tired of Being Tired, an absolutely incredible book. And I just want to say that I’ve read a lot of books on rest. It’s a big part of what I do, and what we do here at Pastor Serve. And so this book has a different flavor, it definitely adds to the conversation, Jess, and I appreciate that from a personal perspective. And I really want to encourage people to pick it up. And we’ll have links to the book, and links to to connect with Jess, all in the toolkit for this particular episode. And guys, I really want to encourage you to download that. You can get that at PastorServe.org/network. And there are questions that you can reflect upon, that you can dig more deeply into this idea of rest, the sustainable, realistic rest that Jess writes about. So appreciate that. So, Jess, thank you, sister, for hanging out with us today. Thanks for putting this out into the world, encouraging us, and helping us as we look at this vital component, this gift from God, of rest.
Thank you, it’s my honor. Thank you for all you’re doing to serve those of us who are out here doing God’s work, or trying to, at least.
Thank you so much. God bless you.
Now, before you go, I want to remind you of an incredible free resource that our team puts together every single week to help you and your team dig more deeply and maximize the conversation that we just had. This is the weekly toolkit that we provide. And we understand that it’s one thing to listen or watch an episode, but it’s something entirely different to actually take what you’ve heard, what you’ve watched, what you’ve seen, and apply it to your life and to your ministry. You see, FrontStage BackStage is more than just a podcast or YouTube show about ministry leadership, we are a complete resource to help train you and your entire ministry team as you seek to grow and develop in life in ministry. Every single week, we provide a weekly toolkit which has all types of tools in it to help you do just that. Now you can find this at PastorServe.org/network. That’s PastorServe.org/network. And there you will find all of our shows, all of our episodes and all of our weekly toolkits. Now inside the toolkit are several tools including video links and audio links for you to share with your team. There are resource links to different resources and tools that were mentioned in the conversation, and several other tools, but the greatest thing is the ministry leaders growth guide. Our team pulls key insights and concepts from every conversation with our amazing guests. And then we also create engaging questions for you and your team to consider and process, providing space for you to reflect on how that episode’s topic relates to your unique context, at your local church, in your ministry and in your life. Now you can use these questions in your regular staff meetings to guide your conversation as you invest in the growth of your ministry leaders. You can find the weekly toolkit at PastorServe.org/network We encourage you to check out that free resource. Until next time, I’m Jason Daye encouraging you to love well, live well, and lead well. God bless.
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