Two and a half years ago I was in the midst of my Sunday AM teaching, when the plug got pulled. One minute I felt fine. The next I had no strength. After thousands of dollars in medical testing, scanning, sampling, and imaging--it was determined I was a victim of pastoral burn-out.
Most people assume this means I was tired of ministry, or I was bored, or exhausted. No, it meant that one day I was running ten miles for fun; and the next week I could not walk fifty feet without rest and gathering my bearings. It meant I went from being a people-person with no fears; to being a guy unable to walk into a restaurant--or any public place--without an overwhelming dizziness and a threatening panic attack. I needed naps, long ones throughout the day. A counselor told me I was in a "major depression," and I was not able to argue, I could only sob.
I am still a pastor. I have been loved back to decent health by a great group of friends, family, and an amazing wife. And in the process, I have discovered a great deal of back-room whispers about pastoral burnout. As a group, we are warned to avoid it. We hear rumors of its pervasiveness. But I have not found a forum where a pastor can say, "Here is why I burned out." Or, "If I could, I'd do something else." Or, "I feel trapped in the ministry."
Now since admitting my "crash" (as I like to call it), I have heard those words, and many like them from pastor friends. Do you need to talk? Do you need to vent? Here is a place for you to run away, and not leave. Or maybe to receive encouragement to hang-in, or to leave, or...?
All I can say is, I didn't see it coming. But believe me, I had earned it.
So I'm putting this out here. Jump in if you want.