This article is about the crash that happened to me after Easter and how I responded. But first, let me tell you what happened on Easter.
Easter is a pretty big deal in the Wood household. As a family, like many, we have Easter egg hunts, dye eggs, and open fun baskets of candy and treats. We tell stories and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, which has changed our lives and the entire world forever! I also work as a pastor. That means I lead a church community through a week long process of celebration, cultivating a series of large gatherings and experiences. It is the biggest and most significant week of our entire year.
We started on Palm Sunday, kicking off holy week together. After that we led the church community through a three day fast from Wednesday to Friday. A fast simply means going without food or other things for spiritual purposes. It is an ancient tradition in the church and a powerful way of encountering the Spirit of the living God. We broke the fast with a potluck feast and experiential worship gathering on Good Friday- the day Jesus was crucified. On Saturday- the traditional day of waiting- I went about final preparations for Easter Sunday. And on Easter, we threw a big celebration complete with worship, baptisms, bounce houses, and family photos. It was a really fun party and celebration together.
I had the great privilege and opportunity to lead the church into a day of celebration, explain and make sense of the death and resurrection of Jesus, and to invite the entire community to experience and live resurrection lives. And it was amazing. We had a great turn out and tons of people responded to the invitation to live a resurrection life. It was one of the best days as a church that I can remember. Obviously we didn’t do this alone. We have the privilege of working with the most incredible team of elders, staff, leaders, and volunteers. Everyone went big and worked really hard together to guide our church through Holy Week. And again- it was amazing.
But then…. on Monday, I crashed. Oh, man. I crashed. When you pour yourself completely out, it turns out that you are empty afterwards…for awhile. I gave the whole staff team the day off and I had to rest.
When you go through a season of excessive or strenuous output, I’m finding that you have to balance it with a time of rest and input. This might sound obvious, but I haven’t always done this well. Here is what I am learning and here’s what was helpful for me in recovering quickly this week after pouring myself out:
Suspend Judgment and Avoid Comparison At All Costs!
When you are tired, empty, or poured out avoid comparison (or judgement for that matter) at all costs! Even though our Easter weekend at church was incredible and so special, when I got on Instagram on Monday morning and saw other pastor’s posts about their gatherings, I began to compare and it wasn’t helpful. So, I decided to turn it off. You can’t adequately judge your own work and its results in an empty state. You can’t adequately celebrate the work of others when you are in a depleted state either. In reality, when it comes to faith and spirituality, you never truly know the outcome. Suspend all of that and just rest.
Be Still In The Presence of God!
The Psalmist says, “Be still and know that I am God.” When I am that wiped out, I can’t do some of the things that normally give me life. I couldn’t rally to exercise or do other high energy things I often enjoy on days off. So, I dropped the kids at school and went down to the beach and just sat at the water’s edge and stared out into the vastness of the Pacific ocean. It was a reminder of the vastness of the Living God and how He has everything in his hand as well as the vastness of His love and embrace. I just sat and breathed deep for a long time. It reminded me of times that I have had the wind knocked out of me and that little bit of air that is necessary to keep your lungs open so you can breath gets knocked out and you have to struggle to force air back in so that you can breath again. Be still.
Then, Do What Gives You Life!
After that, came life. On Monday, Jen and I played and had a fun day. I read things that breathed life into me. We had dinner with our elders (the primary leadership team of the church) and celebrated the weekend together. On Tuesday, I took my entire staff on a full day beach adventure to North San Diego county in my adventure mobile to celebrate, surf and just laugh together. It was so fun! Being wired as a futuristic and visionary person, I used to end one big event and head straight into the next thing without pausing and celebrating the fact that that thing just happened or even really stopping to rest at all. These days, I am learning the importance of pausing, celebrating and resting along the way. I am learning that it’s not just about the destination, it’s also about the journey. And I’m learning to enjoy the journey more and more.
Now, it’s Wednesday and we all jumped back in filled, rested, and ready for the adventure of the next season! What do you do when you crash or pour it all out to get filled back up? What can you do to stop and celebrate moments along the way?