When You Don’t Want to Get Out of Bed

Do you ever have days when you just don’t want to get out of bed?

I’m not talking about the days you wake up and wish you could hit the snooze button a few more times. I’m not referring to days when you didn’t get enough sleep because you stayed up too late watching David Letterman. Those days are normal. For some they happen everyday.

I’m talking about the days when you don’t want to get out of bed, because you don’t think you can face the world outside the covers. I’m talking about days when it hurts to think about facing life.

Do you ever have days like that?

Perhaps you’re like me, and you’ve had seasons where facing the day seems unbearable. It can last a day, a week, or months at a time. I’ve spoken about this before, but I went through a mini-depression a few years ago. My boys were leaving home, my father and Cheryl’s father died, and the stress of ministry was greater than ever. Some days it was all I could do to put on my pastor smile and keep going.

At times, the stress of life can cause a person to wish they didn’t have to face another day. In a world of constant changes, uncertainty, fear, trials and steady burnout, keeping your chin up and continuing to smile can often be a challenge. Has that ever been your story?

I wish we were better as a church and a society of realizing those times are natural, allowing people to be honest about them, and helping people through them rather than looking down on them because of their inner struggles. Even godly, people of extreme faith have times when they fell all is hopeless. (Read about Elijah and Paul for a couple of good Biblical examples.)

What do you do on days like that?

After years of experience, both personal and walking with others, here are a few suggestions for those times:

Get up and do something – No, you may not feel like it, but doing nothing during times of depression, mild or otherwise, almost never solves the problem. You may not be able to do what you need to do, and you certainly may need rest, but continuing a vegetative state of existence is not the right answer. Discipline yourself to get out of bed, be around people, and stay active.

Do the best you know how today – You may not be at 100%. You may only be 20% today. Okay, perhaps you only have 1% to give today. That’s okay. Give that. Do the best you can do today and don’t feel guilty about not doing all you normally would do. My guess is there’s probably something you can still do that will bring value to the people around you…yet another reason to get out of bed.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help – This may mean professional help and don’t be ashamed of that. Most of us need professional counseling at some point in our life. But, also soak up energy from others for a season. It’s okay to need others. In fact, that’s one primary purpose of the body of Christ. We are to bear with one another during tougher times of life. Chances are you’ve been there for others when they needed help. Now let others be there for you. (Note: Relying on others should not be an excuse to ignore the other principles here. You still have personal responsibilities and ignoring them will not help you, but only enable you to continue in your current condition.)

Prepare and build – This is a time to practice healthy discipline, get consistent rest, exercise, eat healthfully, and prepare mentally and physically for a day when you feel better about your surroundings. Watch for the healing moments, the days when a smile comes easier and for the door of opportunities to open, which encourage you. Those are good days and you should be even more productive on those days. You’ll be able to celebrate your progress and, when repeated over time, it will help lift your spirits. God does heal when we submit our pain to Him. In these seasons, you’ll also learn to recognize the signs that a period like this is coming again. Store up that wisdom and experience to help others and yourself in other similar seasons of life.

Wait and listen – God will use these times of desperation to build you more into His heart and character. This should be a time of constant prayer, crying out to God for help. Many of the Psalms were written during times like this in the Psalmist’s life. Read a few of them. Don’t make drastic decisions during these days as you wait for God to speak clearly again.

Have you been there?

You may now want to read my post “God WILL Allow More Than You Can Bear“.

Have you ever wished you could stay in bed and not face another day? Are you there now?

What steps have you taken to heal from times like these? What or who helped you the most?

Share your story so it will help others.

5 Ways I Breakout of My Introversion

I am frequently confused for an extrovert. On Sundays and other important days of ministry I can perform as an extrovert. I assure you, it’s not the real me! :)

I’m an introvert. I’ve written extensively about it here. You might read:

True Confession: Life as an Introvert

Don’t Quit the Ministry Because You’re an Introvert

7 Ways Extroverts Can Help Introverts

7 Pitfalls of Being an Introverted Pastor

7 Ways I Work with Introversion to Protect My Ministry

It’s not that I’m fake in those incidents. I love people. I love connecting. I genuinely want to engage with others. It simply doesn’t come natural to me.

As a result of my ability to appear extroverted, a question I receive frequently is: How do you do it? How do I appear so extroverted when I am so introverted? (I almost max out that preference on the Myers Briggs.) How do I perform on Sundays…and other days of the week?

Recently I went through a week of interviews for my new ministry assignment. I was expected to meet and engage at several affairs each day. I was exhausted, but I kept going. I’ve never been so extroverted for a week. How did I do that?

Here are 5 ways I break away from my introversion to perform as an extrovert:

Prepare mentally – I have to prep myself before Sunday, for example, that I have a job to do, people are expecting me to engage with them, that it’s not going to be easy, but that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. It’s a mental exercise before any event where I need to be outgoing.

Act purposeful – I remind myself that there is a reason to be extroverted in some occasions. Often people are waiting on me to engage them. To be a Kingdom builder, I have to converse with others; even when it’s uncomfortable. The reason I am willing to act outside my comfort zone is that I love people more than I love my individual preference or comfort. I have to be purposeful.

Discipline myself – At some point, I just do it. I simply have to make myself do what I may not want to do. Work the room. Make the initial approach for a new relationship. Talk! Engage! Connect! Do it!

Practice – It gets easier with time. It really does.

Reward myself – After an extremely extroverted occasion…I crash heartily. Sunday afternoon naps are the deepest sleeping I ever have. Plus, my family understands if I’m quieter than normal at Sunday lunch.

Okay, introverts, your turn. How do you breakout of your introversion when you need to do so?

God is not afraid to make you wait…

One verse I’ve learned by experience:

Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. Isaiah 30:18

Are you waiting for God to answer? Don’t be surprised if He makes you wait. He’s not being silent without reason. He’s not withholding an answer without purpose. God is working His plan. He’s never late and never early.

Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! Psalm 27:14

But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

Are you currently waiting for God to move? Can I (and my readers) pray with you in that situation?

Taking Initiative

This is a guest post by Joey Berrios. Joey is an educator, writer, and designer. You can read his blog at joeyberrios.com. He is the author of Addicted To Love.

Taking Initiative

We all have the fear of rejection. We all have the fear of putting ourselves out there. We all have the fear of taking a risk. We all have the fear of failing. We all have a part of ourselves that wants to play it safe and hold back when it comes to our personal creativity and innovation.

Seth Godin says the following about our fear of taking initiative in his book Poke The Box: “The simple thing that separates successful individuals from those who languish is the very thing that separates exciting and growing organizations from those that stagnate and die. The winners have turned initiative into a passion and a practice. The challenge, it turns out, isn’t in perfecting your ability to know when to start and when to stand by. The challenge is getting into the habit of starting.”

Fear holds us back from personal breakthroughs and innovation. Fear keeps us from speaking up when we have a great idea. Fear keeps us from creating something beautiful that can enhance the lives of others. Fear causes us to be mediocre. If we are not careful, fear can rob us of our creativity and passion. By playing it safe, we rob ourselves of the difference we can truly make as leaders in the lives of others.

One of the greatest qualities of a leader is the ability to take initiative. A great leader does not wait to be told what to do: he finds what needs to be done and does it. A great leader understands that he must fight to keep himself from being controlled by fear and doubt.

Examine the following quotes from a few of our world’s great leaders:

“Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” -Conrad Hilton (Hilton Hotels)

The right man is the one who seizes the moment.” -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“I would rather regret the things I have done than the things I have not.” -Lucille Ball

“An idea is worthless unless you use it.” -John Maxwell

Is there a project you have been dragging your feet on? Is there an idea that you are passionate about? Is there a goal that you want to accomplish? Don’t let fear keep you from taking the necessary steps to reach your desired future. Yes, you will have haters. Yes, your ideas might not always workout the way that you planned. But what option do you really have? You cannot afford to do nothing. You must step out and take a risk. You must take initiative and bring your dream to life.

Success comes to those who are extraordinary. There are far too many people who are playing it safe in our world today. Our world needs leaders who are willing to take the risks necessary to bring their ideas to life. Playing it safe and refusing to take risks will only chain us to mediocrity. By taking initiative, we can begin to see our creativity and innovation make an impact on our world.

Where in your life do you most need to take initiative?

5 Ways to Truly Embrace Forgiveness

Biblical forgiveness is hard. I’ve wrestled through this issue personally and with dozens of others over the years. The deeper the wound the harder it is to forgive. Those of us who have been forgiven, however, must learn to forgive. My guess is that includes you!

Here are 5 ways to truly embrace forgiveness:

Give it first. Before it’s “deserved”, extend forgiveness. It seldom will be.

Expect nothing in return. Forgiveness is based on a choice you make, not the reaction you receive.

Make it genuine. Forgiveness should never be lip service. You have to get gut-level in your release; even of the right to get even.

Make it permanent. It’s not forgiveness if you continually take back the grudge. Forgiveness means you let it go. Period.

Do it now. The longer you wait, the more damage it will do to your heart and harder forgiveness will be.

I’m not saying any of these is easy. I’m not saying it removes consequences, which need to be in place. I’m not saying you won’t be tempted to remove your forgiveness the next time the person comes to mind. I am saying that if you want to offer Biblical forgiveness, you must embrace it…not partially, but fully.

To clarify some of these in detail, read:

7 Things Forgiveness Is

7 Things Forgiveness Isn’t

Who was the hardest person you’ve ever struggled to forgive?

(I’ll go first. Mine was my father, but granting him forgiveness paved the way to a deeper intimacy with Christ and a restored relationship with my father.)

4 Things I Need from a Mentor

I am a fan of the term mentoring. I have been and had a mentor for over 25 years and can honestly say mentors have helped make my life better.

I’ve written several posts on mentoring previously:

The Mentor Recruiter

5 Types of Mentors

How do I find a mentor?

Why I (You) Need a Mentor

5 Questions to Help You Know What to do with a Mentor

One question about mentoring I am consistently asked is, “What should a mentor do?” That’s an obvious question. What do you do when you have been asked to be a mentor or you decide to intentionally recruit someone to mentor you? What role should the mentor play in the mentee’s life?

Well, I don’t believe the point of a mentor is to script another person’s life. That’s not what I’ve ever wanted from my mentors or what I’ve attempted to do with those I mentor. I can’t share everything you may need in a mentor, but I can share what I have sought in one.

Here are 4 things I want in a mentor:

Help shape my path – Mentors have been used to help me make life altering decisions. Whether it was with career choices, marriage issues or character development, I need a mentor to help me make the major decisions in my life.

Allow me to learn from their experiences – Mentors have shared the good and bad elements of their life which has helped protect me from needless pain and guide me to better results. This is why I generally prefer mentors a generation ahead of me.

Help me me meet my goals – In business and in ministry, mentors have taught me valuable insights, discover paradigms, built principles into my life, which have helped me to be more successful in the things I hope to achieve.

Challenge me – Mentors have been there to encourage me to improve my life in areas of struggle, moments of fear, or in a resistance towards needed change. Mentors give an objective, but caring outside perspective that often gives me the nudge to do what I need to do.

My life wouldn’t be the same without the mentors in my life. Who have been some of the mentors in your life?

What else would you want from a mentor?

Don’t Be Your Own Rock!

HE ONLY is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved. Psalm 62:2 KJV

If you are trying to be your own rock, WATCH OUT!

The forecast is calling for rough winds throughout the rest of the century up until…at least when Jesus returns.

I use several versions of the Bible, but for this verse I particularly like the King James Version. Notice carefully that the Psalmist is being gut honest with us. It says when God is my rock and my salvation, my defense, I shall not be greatly moved. Here’s the part not to skip…the Psalmist does not say he will not be moved, he says he shall not be greatly moved.

I can identify with the Psalmist.

Now I don’t know about you. Maybe you are much more righteous than I and you “never” experience movement in your Christian walk. Your trust is never affected by the changing times, the uncertainties of life, or the fear of the unknown. You simply trust Him every day. The winds and trials of life don’t sway you from a solid faith. There is no doubt in your heart. You have rock-solid faith everyday. Good job with that super faith.

But as for me, I still move.

No, I don’t want to move. I don’t want to waver in my faith. I know God can do immeasurably more than I can think or imagine. I want constant, powerful, unmovable faith.

Sometimes I still struggle a bit in my faith.

Okay, total transparency here…sometimes…depending on the day or the circumstances…sometimes I struggle a lot…

Thankfully though, I have found from steady experience that the more I grow in my relationship with Christ, the more I get to know Him, if I will consistently seek to make Him Lord of my life, even though the winds keep coming, they have far less impact on me.

My faith is stronger today than it was in years past. That’s probably good, because storms and times of testing seem only to get bigger as time passes. The good news, however, as my trust in Christ has grown…

I’m less likely to be GREATLY moved.

I bounce back to my faith in the Solid Rock of God quicker than I used to do. Over time and by experience, I’ve learned that when I allow Him to be the Rock, instead of me trying to be my own, or even relying on others for my strength…when I cast all my cares on the One who cares for me…I find I am much more powerful to meet the storms of life.

Be honest. Are you allowing Him to be your Rock, or are you trying to do things on your own?

Sometimes It’s Impossible to Breathe Normally

I travel frequently, so I’ve mostly tuned out the safety routines at the beginning of the flight. One line, however, always causes me to pause and think. Have you heard this before?

In case there is a loss in cabin pressure, yellow oxygen masks will deploy from the ceiling compartment located above you. To secure, pull the mask towards you, secure the elastic strap to your head, and fasten it so it covers your mouth and nose. Breathe normally. Even if the bag does not inflate, please keep in mind that oxygen is flowing. Please make sure to secure your own mask before assisting others.

I’ve highlighted the part that causes me to reflect.

Breathe Normally.

Yea, right!

If I’m on an airplane, and oxygen masks are necessary, I’ll not be breathing normally. I may still be breathing, but it won’t be normal. I’ll be breathing heavily…very heavily…if at all. I’ll be gasping for air even if the supply of air is plenty.

It’s a great reminder to me. In times of tremendous stress or pressure, I shouldn’t expect to feel normal. I shouldn’t expect to feel completely natural when life makes no sense. I can’t breathe normally, because nothing is normal about life as I currently know it.

What should I do during times like this?

Find my center of gravity – I have to find my grounding again. When life is in chaos, it’s important to cling to what makes sense. Obviously, my relationship with Christ is premier here. The more I can base my life on truth, the more naturally I can breathe.

Surround myself with the right people – Let’s face it; some people are encouragers and some are not. When you’re having trouble breathing anyway, why surround yourself with people who suck the life out of you? Find people who encourage and build you up and cling to them. Don’t be afraid to ask for help; even professional help if needed.

Look for small wins – Even on the darkest days of life, there’s probably something you can celebrate. Look for the moments, experiences and memories you can praise. Try something again and rejoice in the minor victories. The road to further success begins with small steps taken repeatedly can consistently.

What do you do when you can’t breathe normally?

I’ve written about airplane oxygen masks before, and applied this script to leadership. Read that post HERE.

10 Words to RECOVER from a Broken Dream

happy jumping

Have you ever lost your way? Are there any dreams you’ve given up on? Would you like to begin again?

Here are 10 words of hope to help you recover from a broken dream:

Recharge – Recharge your drained batteries. Read a good book, hang out with someone positive, or attend a conference. Find the way you gain energy.

Rest – Struggles drain us personally. Sometimes we can’t continue until we have an extended period of downtime. You may need a sabbatical.

Reward – Reward yourself for small achievements. You may just need one win to spur you to greater things.

Re-energize – As strange as it sounds, I find exercising to be helpful when I need more energy.

Resist – Push through the pain and resist the temptation to quit. You’ll be surprised how resilient you are if quitting is not an option.

Renew – Renew your passion for the vision you once believed in. It could be the vision of the person you intend to be.

Restart – Invite some change, begin something new or try a different approach. It’s okay to do something completely new!

Reclaim – You had a dream. You believed in it. It had potential. Perhaps you simply need to reclaim what you already had.

Rejoice – Sometimes you need to throw a party…even before you realize the victory. A celebration may give you the motivation to try again.

Remind – People follow a leader. Remind others of their role in achieving their individual dream. Spurring another to victory will energize you.

Here’s the plan:

  • Pick the one of these you feel you need the most, write it on an index card, then place it somewhere you’ll see often.
  • Invite a friend to hold you accountable.
  • Share your story with others in an effort to help another recover.

It’s time. Move forward.

What other word would you share to help someone recover? If it starts with an “R”…even better.