What do you do when your husband burns out? It is a question I have been wrestling with this year. The past 6 months have been discouraging for us. We are in our 4th year of our church plant and for the first time in 4 years, have not grown in the first quarter. We seem to have reached a plateau and keep bumbing our heads on a glass ceiling of some sort.
I know the first year or two of a church plant you run on adrenaline. You use up your reserves in the first few months and then the adrenaline kicks in. Then you take a little breather and try to pace yourself, but you get sucked right back into the adrenaline rush again as each new emergency arises. (ie: your trailer gets stolen or something like that…)
What do you do when the adrenaline runs out and leaves you totally exhausted; emotionally, physically and spiritually? I think Dave is there. He was sick this past weekend and into this week as his body forced him to take a rest. I know he is struggling with thoughts like, “How long we will remain in a movie theater?” “What does God have in store for us next?”
During the past few months he has been boldly asking business owners for land, buildings, warehouses, anything he can find available in our area, and getting turned down each time. For six months or more we have both been boldly praying, asking God to show us what is next – to do something amazing and incredible that can only be ascribed to His glory.
We still have not gotten a reply other than perhaps, “wait.” The waiting can be grueling and if your husband is like mine, he may start feeling like he isn’t accomplishing what he set out to accomplish. He may wonder: Did I miss the call somewhere? Am I where I am supposed to be? Am I doing all I can? Where are we headed?
Right now Dave and I are reading Wayne Cordeiro’s book, Leading on Empty: Refilling Your Tank and Renewing Your Passion. I haven’t finished it yet, but so far it is a really good book and pretty brutally honest about struggles at this place in ministry. It has been very insightful for me and has encouraged David to take a two week long vacation this year. Yes, I know, two weeks off, back to back, three Sundays in a row, unheard of! Unheard of – maybe, neccessary – absolutely! Wayne talks about getting away for an extended period of rest where you really give yourself a sabbath. You take time to renew and then come back to ministry refreshed.
My hope and prayer is that this will be a time of rest for David before he hits the fall running. What do you do when your husband gets burned out? What works for your family? How do you prepare for it? How do you come out of it? I look forward to hearing from you!