I grew so weary of this facet of my "education." I endured self-help book after self-help book, leadership book after leadership book, as well as self-care and resiliency training - all of which was based on the same faulty premises: 1. That the issues that led to the burn out and eventual burning up of pastors was either the fault of the congregations that he or she served or the fault of the pastor himself; and 2. That I could somehow, if I learned enough, save myself from the same fate.
What was obvious to me throughout the learning process, and I could never figure out why it was not obvious to others, was that the issues that pastors face are not human problems - they are spiritual problems; and that the battle for pastors and other Christian leaders is not with their congregations or with themselves, but with Satan - the father of all lies. In short, it is not human warfare but spiritual warfare that is in play - as such, there is no amount of education outside the Word of God than can serve me in victory.
I do not simply want to survive this "job," I want to thrive in my calling. This is only possible when I stop looking outward for solutions and start looking inward, and upward, to my Lord and Savior. Jesus Christ has defeated Satan, I know this to be true. Claiming that truth, thus rebuking the lies of Satan, is the only true defense against the weapons of this world that my enemy wields so expertly. My life should not be dedicated to finding ways to build boundaries between myself and the people to whom I have been called to pour out my life; but to ways through which I can submit more dutifully and more completely to the Lord Jesus Christ.
In short, the answer is not to draw back but to go ALL IN.
One hundred percent given over to the will of God and the life that God has planed for me. One hundred percent trusting that I am where I am supposed to be and doing what I am supposed to be doing. One hundred percent submitted to the idea that if God wants me moved, He alone will move me.
I do not worry about how "good" I am; how "successful" I am or what people are thinking or saying about me. I worry as to whether or not I am honoring God in my position as pastor - and in order to do that I MUST first submit my will to His.
I have preached these words many times, "There is no safer place that you will ever be than in God's will." I either believe that or I don't.
I do. I'm all in.