Thursday, November 09, 2006

Church Planter Mood Pattern

No, it's not a design on a blanket that changes color with each new emotion or mood swing. Although that would be kind of cool and probably beneficial for marital conversations...

I'm talking about the fact that I've discovered something about myself over the past few months. I have a weekly "mood pattern" that I've unknowingly fallen into as a Church Planter.

It goes something like this:

Depressed, frustrated, hopeless, ready to quit ministry altogether and explore a different career path. Psalm-like exchanges with God verbalized by me, usually when I'm in the shower...

Not as depressed, though still frustrated, but now confused about whether to stay in ministry where I am or whether I need to pursue somewhere else. The idea of taking another career path now lurks farther back on the "back porch" of my mind. Mood wise, this is kind of a blurry day.

No longer depressed, fog begins to clear and I begin to see things more clearly. I reflect on Monday and Tuesday with a "what was I thinking?" type of attitude. Thoughts of quitting anything have now turned to "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine who comes against the army of the Living God???" Righteous indignation and holy motivation rule the day.

I reflect on my "church planter mood pattern" and strike a balance between acknowledging current realities and challenges and working toward future hope and possibilities. Not depressed, not overly optimistic, but feeling sharp and on task.

Friday - Sunday:
Mood "ups and downs" as events warrant, usually depending on the amount and success or lack thereof of events and worship experiences. (Try saying "thereof of" out loud. That pretty much sums up the mood.)

Now before you order me some Prozac, understand that "Church Planting" is an emotional, personal, highly spiritual, relational and often physically demanding experience. Many church planters as well as other Pastors could probably describe similar mood variations. The intensity and regularity of the mood pattern depends on the experience and temperament of the Pastor, as well as other factors. This is just my observation; I'm not a doctor or mental health professional, nor do I play one on TV...

The trick is discovering your mood pattern, recognizing it for what it is, and then plan your schedule and prayer life accordingly. I'm currently making adjustments to my calendar now to offset and even change the pattern in a way that prevents the "roller coaster" mood ride.

Some verses for the task:
Proverbs 25:28 - Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control. - NIV
Philippians 4:13 - For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need. - NLT
I'll let you know how it goes.

Until then, I'm going to let "mood" be what the cow did, rather than let it be what's ruling me.

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