I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately. On my life.

A week ago, I was totally, utterly spent. Dead on my feet. I was actually struggling to walk stairs last friday.

Now, some of it was self inflicted, some of it down-and-dirty demonic, and some just happened — but because I had put so much on my plate, I had no reserve left to deal with it. No emotional energy, no time. So it knocked me flat. I can see how I could be tempted, from this point, to try and suck it up and keep going. Lots of pastors do exactly that. And end up burnt out long term. But I read the signs. It wasn’t hard, actually.

So I’ve stepped back this week, inhaling, resting, sleeping, praying, drooling, letting some things go. And the color is blushing its way back into my spiritual cheeks. Thanks, Jesus. I’m not there yet — I’m still only at 50%. But that’s better than 5%, right?

I can see too how I could be tempted to rest just enough to get myself back up to 51%, call it good, and then push myself right away. And crash fifty yards from now because I didn’t wait to launch until I was in healthy range. So I’m still taking it slow. After Sunday, I have two weeks in a row where I don’t have to preach. So that will help.

I can see, though, how it would be tempting to wait for the green light after the two weeks and then go-go-go, shrugging and calling this an “episode” without first laying out my lifestyle before God. What led to this? How can I prevent it in the future? What’s a sustainable pace for me and my family? So I started working on that this morning. Put my sermon prep aside and stared at a calendar. Filled it in month by month with stuff that happens in church. Saw the rhythm of my year, factored in what I was able and not able to handle this year. And began to plan for the next year. Pray for me. It’s harder than it sounds, especially in my line of work. But it’s part of guarding my heart, the wellspring of my life, according to Proverbs 4:23.

But what about you?