72 – The Weary Leader’s Guide to Burnout (Part 4) – Sean Nemecek

72 – The Weary Leader’s Guide to Burnout (Part 4) – Sean Nemecek

PIR Executive Director Roy Yanke joins Tom once again to help interview Sean about part 3 of The Weary Leader’s Guide to Burnout. This discussion centers around the spiritual practices of lament, surrender, and abiding in God’s love as the keys to the transformation into being a burnout-proof leader. They guys also discuss the characteristics of a healthy Christian leader and the importance of practicing Sabbath and forming a Rule of Life.

The Weary Leader's Guide to Burnout: A Journey from Exhaustion to Wholeness

Visit wearyleadersguide.com to preorder the book and get some bonus content!

About Sean Nemecek

Sean Nemecek is the West Michigan Regional Director for Pastor-in-Residence Ministries, where his primary focus is on coaching pastors through burnout and recovery. He also serves as a co-host for the Hope Renewed podcast. Before joining PIR, Sean served as a pastor in a local church for almost 18 years.

Show Notes:

You can learn more about the book at wearyleadersguide.com

Tom and Sean talked about this book in Episode 44 -4 Questions to Diagnose Burnout (note this was before the book had its final title. At the time it was Better After Broken). See also Episode 34 – From Burning Out to Burning Bright – Jason Eddy.

Transcript of the Interview with Sean Nemecek

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Sean Nemecek 00:00
That imposter syndrome that we, that every leader experiences at some point or another says that if people knew the real me, they would never want me in this position. Every leader experiences that.

Joe Chambers 00:15
Welcome to hope renewed helping you find new hope when ministry leaves you hopeless. The hope renewed podcast is brought to you by PIR ministries. Here are your hosts, Tom Jameson and Sean Nemecek.

Tom Jameson 00:35
Shona Roy, it is good to be back with the both of you as we conclude our discussions a third of three opportunities that we’ve had, Shawn to talk with you specifically about the weary Leaders Guide to burn out your new book that’s coming out and very short time here. And to welcome back Roy Yankee, our executive director who’s been sitting in CO hosting with me on these it’s right, it’s been really neat happen, you hear my perspective and your voice on the podcast. So Shawn, as we’ve been doing, just ask if you would, once again, kind of give us a flyover of the three sections of your book that we’ve been talking about, and a little brief preview of what this third section is all about.

Sean Nemecek 01:24
The book is broken up into three sections. The first is about understanding burnout, it’s, as I said, last time, kind of on the map, it’s it’s the location marker that says this is where you are. It’s designed to help you understand what burnout is, and what contributes to it. Part two, which we talked about last time, that’s really the steps that we need to work through in order to recover from burnout. It’s in a very logical progressive order. So that we build a solid foundation, in connection and in Christ first. Now, in this third part of the book, things change a little bit, we moved from more direct teaching, to kind of a metaphor, we use a journey of moving from the desert of burnout, through the dark valley, into the mountains, and finally to the beautiful shore of God’s love for us. And really, this this journey is, is one of the most important journeys we can make. And I just want to issue a warning as we get started, I talk about this journey in my book, in very, very idealistic ways, because I want to paint the fullest picture of what it is. But I issue a warning that don’t try to arrive all at once. That it’s, it’s really more about making what steps you can, day by day moving toward this goal. And you may find yourself doing this in cycles. As we talk about this, these things, you may come back around to having to learn some of the practices again, and, and re experience them again. And that’s okay. That’s the way we learn. The whole book is really written in several cycles. Because our spiritual life, our growth or development in Christ happens in cycles. And, and each time we get a little bit deeper, a little bit closer to Christ. And that’s the goal.

Tom Jameson 03:36
Yeah, and the metaphor of the journey really does kind of lend itself to the entire book, your subtitle, a journey from exhaustion to wholeness. And you left us the last time with just that that perspective that working your way out of burnout is a long journey. And there’s a lot of work to it. But but there is hope. There there is perhaps a day when someone who’s experienced burnout, as you did, can say, I don’t think I’m burned out anymore. Is that right? Yeah, that’s

Sean Nemecek 04:14
a great day. When it dawns on you, hey, I’m actually healthy and feeling pretty confident and Whole Again, this is this is a wonderful feeling. Yeah, but it does happen gradually and takes a long time. That’s not to say that you can’t make some major changes in a short period of time. Usually people who turn their attention toward really working on their burnout, especially with the help of a coach can do so. Really in three to six months, they’ll feel a lot better, but it probably is gonna take three to five years or more to recover from burnout and in some cases, it’s a lifelong journey. Right? So scars remain and but after a few years, you feel A lot, lot better. So don’t don’t let that discourage you that that recovery isn’t possible. It certainly is.

Tom Jameson 05:09
And it’s not only possible it’s able to live in that new way. And you talk about that, in this section, the beginning with this chapter never burn out again. Is that is that a guarantee you’re giving with the book that if someone follows your steps?

Sean Nemecek 05:28
Well, I think with certain changes with certain practices, burnout does become impossible. But we can always regress into the ways and the patterns that lead to burnout. So I would like to be able to offer a guarantee. But really, whether or not we remain in burnout, or even whether or not we recover from burnout depends on the individual work that we do, not just the knowledge that we have, but the actual work that we do. So it depends on the individual,

we know that that repetition, is the mother of learning, right. And, by in a lot of disciplines, the importance of repeated disciplines, habits, patterns, really leads to the goal that you want to achieve. And so you know, that cycle is a very much a part, at least for my journey, coming back around to things over and over again. And knowing that each step in that it increases the health that occurs. So and I love the idea to that. You just the descriptions you give at the very beginning of this, it’s not just a journey from it’s a journey to write,

Sean Nemecek 06:56
yeah, we’re really moving away from burnout. But there’s different ways you can move away from burnout, you can go back to your old way of life in your old pattern, and you’ll be back at burnout again, eventually, you know, you make a few changes, you get a little bit healthy, and then you just go back to doing the same old things. And yeah, in that’s, that’s what I did the first couple of times, burnout can happen in those cycles. But each time it gets a little bit harder, a little bit deeper. And so that really isn’t an effective thing. You can also move away from life in general, you can move to a different career and try and answer your burnout by changing careers. And the problem is the problems that are happening in you go with you wherever you go. And so moving to a different career doesn’t always solve the problem. It may be necessary for a little while. But it’s not an answer. And then others just they check out of life altogether. Whether they just stopped living, or commit suicide or something tragic like that. That doesn’t again, guarantee that the problems end the checking out of life and just stopping, what you’re doing actually creates more problems. So really the only way I see to, to really work your way out of burnout to really become burnout proof is through these steps that we’re going to describe in these few chapters. It starts with moving from that desert of burnout into the dark valley of grief. Every instance of burnout involves loss of some kind or another. Sometimes it’s because of unprocessed grief that we burn out. Other times, because of our burnout, there’s various losses that need to be grieved. But it starts by moving into that space of learning to handle grief. Well, and thankfully, we have a practice in scripture called lament that helps us to understand how to grieve and how to do it well in God’s presence. And so that’s what that that first chapter in this section is about learning to limit well, because lament is actually a doorway to joy. The more we process, our grief, the more we open ourselves up to joy.

Tom Jameson 09:41
Say more about that, because that’s such a deep truth. And it’s counterintuitive. I mean,

Sean Nemecek 09:49
yeah, so when, when most pastors are experiencing burnout, most leaders are experiencing burnout. There’s certain emotions that come to the surface, especially connected to their anxiety and shame. And rather than dealing with those emotions, we often try and shut them down. Sometimes their increased sadness, depression, anger is a big one that pops up. And everybody knows that an angry pastor just doesn’t look good. And so we shove down that, that anger, that sadness, that grief, as deep as we can. And we say we’ll deal with it later. Sometimes in ministry, there are times where we have to do that when we’re ministering to a family who’s in grief, we can’t process our own grief at the same time. And so we, we say, we’re going to set that aside for a while. But if we never come back to it, it just festers inside. And so by shutting down these emotions, what we don’t realize is you can’t just flip one switch at a time, you can’t just shut off grief, or just shut off sadness, or just shut off anchor. They’re like sliders that are all connected on a soundboard or something. When you slide one down the all all the others go down with it. So all if you mute the negative emotions, you’re also muting the positive emotions. So by turning off our anger, shoving our anger down deep, we’re also reducing our ability to experience joy, and happiness, peace and well being. And so everything becomes muted. pastors who are in burnout will talk about life just feeling kind of drab and gray. Like this, there’s just no emotion left, they feel numb, or this is what’s happened. They’ve shut all these things down. So you have to express those negative emotions in order to access the positive ones again, and learning the process of lament is incredibly helpful in doing that. A lot of pastors avoid lament, even though about a third to a half of the Psalms or psalms of lament, a lot of pastors avoid lament, because they’re afraid of being honest with God. Let that sink in for just a second. If we’re afraid of being honest with God, then what are we doing? being dishonest, right. So coming back to God in complete honesty, and when laments done well, it is raw emotion, you are not censoring your words, you’re not coming to God and politeness and, and, you know, good theological language or anything like that. You’re You’re like a child throwing a temper tantrum, you’re just coming to God and saying, This is not right. Whatever this is, in a world created by a good God, this is not right. And we’re bringing our complaint to God, sometimes even blaming God. And a lot of people think it’s wrong or sinful to be angry of God. But I think God would rather us be truthful about our anger, than to lie and say, No, this isn’t happening. And He’s big enough to take it. Every parent knows what it’s like to hold a child who’s throwing a temper tantrum, it’s not pleasant, but we do it because we love our kids. We don’t want them to hurt themselves. And we want to help them find calm. And this is what God kind of does with us. When we’re in lament he, he provides that space where we can receive His love and His healing again, when we get all that raw emotion out, when we just vent until there’s absolutely nothing left. The only thing that remains is God, His love and His grace for us. And that’s where we can see joy, and hope again.

Tom Jameson 13:57
So on this journey, you move through lament, it doesn’t become the valley in which you live or prayerfully. It’s not the place where you get stuck. But you’re journeying through where, what’s the next step?

Sean Nemecek 14:09
Well, we move out of lament to what I call the mountains of self, I see this light coming up against the Rocky Mountains, in trying to find a way across. It’s imposing, it’s intimidating. But what we’re really doing is learning to face our false self and it’s a mountain of resistance to God. What we’re doing is is encountering our own ways that we have been resisting God and His ways, and we’re learning to surrender. This is this is hard. This is difficult work. But when we hit that, that wall of these mountains We have to find a way through them. And the way through, becomes the way of the cross, following Christ into the garden, to the cross into the tomb, until we’re finally resurrected into this new way of being. And so that metaphor of the Way of the Cross kind of becomes the foundation for the work that we have to do here. We have to pray the prayer of total surrender of what sometimes have been called holy indifference that Christ prays in the garden, not my will, not my will, but yours, yours be done. Where again, and again, we’re praying this, this rare, that seems impossible, something that we cannot do, unless we’re given this miraculous grace of God to actually desire His will. And when that happens, it is a beautiful thing. But it involves a long, hard, intense time of prayer, seeking God’s will and surrendering your own. And it’s only after that, that we’re able to really say, All right, I’m going to die to this false self, this resistance that I’ve put up, I’m going to tear down all those resistance, all those barriers, everything that’s separating me from God that’s making God feel like he’s distant, or he’s silent, it’s really just my resistance. I’ve been putting up all the time to tear that down. And I’m just gonna be honest with God, about who I am, where I am, and let his will be my own. That’s what leads us into this new way of being. But we have to sit in that for a while. Yeah, yeah, that becomes like the tomb for us the darkness of sitting with that change, before we’re finally resurrected into God’s love in a new way.

Tom Jameson 17:00
And that, that takes a lot of courage, and a lot of faith. Yeah. And it’s, you know, last time, we talked about how important it is to surround yourself with those who others who are safe and who are for you, and who are hope giving. And yet, this is a place, you really have to go to by yourself.

Sean Nemecek 17:24
Yeah, you can get some help here from counselors and spiritual directors, a spiritual director is particularly helpful in this space. But really, the work has to be done on your own. Yeah. And this is why it’s important to have those other connections in the other things that we’ve talked about. Because you want to be in that short and secure place, that gives you the courage to face yourself. If you try and do this without having an identity rooted in Christ, you’re just going to be bumping up against yourself. And you’ll end up just beating yourself up over and over and over again. This is really, really hard work. But in the end, we’re learning to recognize that our false self, our resistance to God is often rooted in a number of things that we’ve talked about already, you know, patterns that we learned early on false religious teachings, or incomplete teachings that we’ve had in our past, we learn to to expand our view of God, beyond the boxes that we’ve kind of put him in. All of that is hard. It’s difficult work. But it’s part of part of the work of moving through this period, because all of those boxes are part of our resistance. They’re part of our are trying to keep God away from who we truly are. And so this this work is is difficult, it is hard.

There have been several times, Shawn, that I’ve noticed in this, that the issue of silence and solitude has come out as a as a part of the self awareness piece, but also now in terms of resilience, and how that gets to this idea of surrender, you know, where what place the does that practice have in this?

Sean Nemecek 19:25
Yeah, the importance of silence and solitude cannot be underestimated. It is really crucial work. I think it was Henry now and who said that, without silence and solitude, spiritual progress is impossible. At some point, we have to have to come to the point where we are willing to be silent before God This does a couple of things for us. One it helps us to remember God’s presence and learn to just be comfortable in his presence. The second thing it does is it silences is the noise in our lives, learning to truly be silent before God can take days. Before we get there? Amy and I went on a week long prayer retreat, it was paid for by broom tree ministries, and they warned us it’s going to be two or three days before you’re really feel that you’re present and attentive to God and day to Amy’s like, I don’t know, I think the silence and solitude thing isn’t working. I’m not doing it right, you know, and, and I completely identified with what she’s saying, I said, Well, maybe it’s not about what we’re doing. Maybe we’re just supposed to be here for a time should God desire to speak. And then that that really helped her to try and stop the striving to make something happen. And so it took two or three days, I think, for me, it was a full three days before all the noise from Ministry and the stress of life and everything was left behind. And it was just me and God. And when that happens, then stuff starts to come to the surface. When you’re safe in the presence of God, the Holy Spirit starts to stir things up in your soul, and bring things to the surface that need to be healed. In this is where you’re able to very gently and openly talk with God about the resistance you’re experiencing in your soul. And that’s where God does his best healing work. Without silence and solitude, this this work would be impossible

Tom Jameson 21:39
in such a difficult work to do, but good work. So. So making your way through the mountains, dismantling the wall, all that imagery coming out on the other side? How is that building real resilience? And what do you see?

Sean Nemecek 21:58
So when we, we get to the place where we are surrendered to God, the idea of absolute surrender comes into play here. But I want to be careful. I don’t want people to think that you have to be perfect in this. This is again, something we learn gradually, we learn little by little emerging from the mountains of self into the beautiful shore of God’s love the wonderful green, beautiful valleys, if you think of like California’s lush green valleys, that’s that’s kind of the idea. What we’re talking about here is, this is a good place to be. But it feels a little unsettling. At first, it takes a little while to adjust. It’s kind of like stepping from a dark room into a bright, sunlit day. Or I liken it to moving from one city to another and you wake up in a strange house and you’re not used to the way things are, it takes a little while to adjust, to really continually seek God’s will and remain in his love. But as we do that, pretty soon, the love of God takes root in our Souls takes root in the heart of who we are the center of who we are. And it begins to bubble up within us. The more we experience God’s love for us in a in a way that isn’t resistant, but is surrendered, the more we desire God’s will because we know it’s good for us and good for others. It just starts to bubble up within us in naturally begins to flow out of us. And this is I think one of the keys to overcoming burnout is learning to do ministry in a way that is natural. And is is rooted in God’s love for you Flowing into you and out of you toward others. It isn’t performative. It isn’t striving. It’s not hurried. It’s not manufactured. It’s not a, you know, a big production that we do. It’s actually simple and quiet and slow. But it’s genuine and you have this presence about you that is welcoming to people. And it’s very different from what we’re often experiencing in churches today. But it also means that you might find yourself having difficulty ministering within the context that you were in before people expecting you to be driven expecting you to strive expecting you to do all this stuff you did before and now you’re saying no, that’s that’s not what God is calling me to do. I’m clear now on what God wants me to do. And I’m going to stay focused on that. And so you start saying no to people a lot more so that you can say yes to the love of God being expressed through you. And that means some people are going to be upset. They may even think you’ve kind of lost it that You’ve left the faith altogether or you’re, you’re moving in the wrong direction, because you’re not so focused on the outward performance, the works, the service that we feel guilted into, you’re, you’re more relaxed, you’re more gentle in the way that you go about things. And so it takes people a while to adjust.

That’s a real culture clash, right? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I was struck too, in this chapter, particularly by adopting a beginner’s mindset. Deb, when she was beginning to ride, she discovered that adults don’t like to be beginners. We don’t like to have to start again and try new things and go slow through that and learn that. So are there some specific things that you mentioned that can help people adopt that kind of a mindset in this? Because it’s, it seems to me this is a really important.

Sean Nemecek 26:03
Yeah, I think adopting a beginner’s mindset is partially recognizing that we don’t have to have answers for everything. That sometimes, our certainty or certitude is actually the enemy of love. And we there are certain things in scripture that we just have to accept his mystery, and don’t feel like we have to explain them to others. And that’s okay, being being okay with mystery. And wonder, again, is part of what it means to be a beginner, saying I don’t know, is, is a powerful spiritual discipline. And it’s good, it’s helpful, and it’s a hard one for me to learn. And so all of that is part of what it means to trust that God is the one with the answers. He is the one who’s responsible for the outcomes. He is the one who’s responsible for the provision, all those things aren’t things that we are called to generate. We are called to be faithful and to trust God. And a beginner has to trust their teacher. They have to they have to trust the one who’s leading them. Because they’re, they’re essentially saying, I don’t

Tom Jameson 27:20
understand, I don’t know. It sounds like humility to me. Yeah, there’s

Sean Nemecek 27:24
there is humility in being a beginner again. And when you’ve done the work of deep lament, and processing your grief, you end up like Jobe, saying, at the end of the book, I’m going to put my hand over my mouth. Now. I don’t know what I was talking about, do you know far better than I do, when speaking to God, when you’ve gone through the Way of the Cross, and you’ve prayed for God’s will, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else, you’ve just sought that. And you’ve been willing to give up your resistance. All of that is a way of saying, I don’t know, I don’t have the answers. And that’s okay. And so you can’t help but be a beginner in this space.

Tom Jameson 28:15
So as you move in this journey, and reach those hallowed shores, and learn to live there in a newness of life. You talk about in the in the final chapter here about beyond burnout, and just highlighting what what an authentic, healthy Christian leader looks like, I love that you didn’t start the book with this. Because too often that’s, you know, we think, Oh, if I can just, you know, start doing those things, I’ll be better. But that this, this is only something that’s attained through the long and difficult and Soul level work. But walk through this with us what, what do you see as as the descriptors of a healthy Christian leader?

Sean Nemecek 29:09
Yeah, I think it’s important to recognize that, as I said, when we were looking at what burnout is, that, that we talked about burnout as being that depletion of self that that time where our interior life with God isn’t sufficient to sustain our outer work for God, that recovery when we’re Whole Again, it’s, it’s really when our whole life proceeds out of our relationship with God, when our love in God’s love flows naturally from our hearts. And so, that tells us that the focus is not on what we’re doing, but on who we’re becoming in God’s presence. And so as I talk about these different characteristics of healthy leaders It’s important to recognize that these people, these aren’t things we do so much as people we are people we’ve become, and they flow naturally out of us. So the first thing is, is we’re real. We’re no longer putting up that facade. We’re okay with our faults, with our weaknesses with our limits. And we’re able to speak those out and not do so from, from a place of anxiety or shame, but do them from a comfortable acceptance, because of our security in Christ. And so we’re able to just be genuine and vulnerable with others, and not be afraid of their reactions to the truthful things we say about ourselves. One of the things that really stands out to me, I’m kind of getting choked up here, as I think about it, is when a pastor has has worked their way through burnout or through some major sin. And they really get to the place of repentance and full acceptance of God’s grace, they’re able to look back on that time and speak about their, their burnout or their sin, with honesty, and not be afraid of what people will think of them, they’ll be able to tell the story of what they’ve done, as an expression of God’s grace in their lives, not about the shame that they carry because of it. And that’s, I think that’s what it means to be real. The Healthy Leader will also be connected with others, they’ll not just be able to be truthful in themselves, but they’ll have built a team of people around them now. They’ll have more friends, they’ll have relationships, they’ll have people that can go to when they’re in trouble. This is where those mentors, counselors, spiritual directors, coaches, friends, they all come into play here. And beyond that, just having some, some healthy relationships will be important. Whenever you find a leader that’s disconnected, they’re in danger of being isolated. A healthy leader does not let that happen. They’ve taken ownership for the fact that they are the only ones who can prevent isolation by connecting with others. And they’re doing that and doing it well. This This might mean like for solo pastors, they’re connecting with other pastors via zoom or with friends in other areas, but they’re making sure they’re getting the relational connection that they need to be seen and heard, and known. Healthy leaders are also purposeful they’ve rediscovered their sense of call. They they recognize the work that they’re doing is good work. And it’s part of what God has called them to. Their vision isn’t a product of their intelligence or their gifts anymore. Their vision for life and work in ministry comes from God now. And it’s often leading them back into the places where they were wounded. Rick Warren talks about in in Danielle under two talks about how our, our ministry often comes from our deepest, deepest woundedness. And so now that wound has been so transformed, that we’re able to then give it to others as a purpose for our lives and healing. And as we do that, we find we’re healed further to the more pastors I coached through burnout, the more I heal my own burnout. And so that’s part of this process. These healers, these leaders are, are also brave, they’re able to face the anxieties and fears and worries of life with courage. Courage isn’t being absent of fear, it’s being able to be present in the middle of that fear, and still move forward. And so the bravery that we have the courage that we have, code goes all the way back to that security of being rooted in Christ and united to him, and knowing that we are fully and permanently loved by God, that we have nothing to fear, nothing to lose and nothing to prove. And so we’re able to step forward in life with that, that courage that says, life can do its worst, but we’re going to continue because God is our rock and he’s our, our salvation. And in related to that, these leaders then become gracious. They’re more able to, to deal with the shortcomings of others with the failures of others in gracious ways. They’re also more willing to face their own failures and faults and disappointments, with peace and gratitude and grace toward themselves. So those are kind of the kind of the big picture ideas of what a healthy leader looks like.

So one of the things that when he talks about being real, and how important that is, know that in, in work that you do in addiction, it’s important to understand that you are you’re becoming more who you really were, in this process. And the lie that we often live with, is that even as pastors and it doesn’t have to be some major sin or, or anything like that it could certainly apply in this, I think, is that we believe a lie that if we share what’s really going on in our lives, that people will run away from us, they will not like us, they will think we’re faulty, or that we aren’t, aren’t worth being known by them. And so being able to step into that reality, that authenticity is huge, because it’s combating that lie that we so often believe,

Sean Nemecek 36:14
yeah, that imposter syndrome that we that every leader leader experiences, at some point or another says that if people knew the real me, they would never want me in this position. Every leader experiences that the reality that that I want to present in this is that I’m not great at all of these things. But I’m getting better. I’m moving in this direction. And this chapter isn’t really about describing a destination. It’s about describing the journey that we’re on. And so that people who focus on the destination usually end up feeling frustrated, and tired and, and beating themselves up people who focus on the journey, end up enjoying the process. And so recognizing that this is who we’re becoming, again, it’s not about what we’re doing, it’s about what we’re becoming. And that becoming is a process is really helpful in hearing all of this because as you go through these last few chapters in the book, it could be very easily very easy to say this is this is too flowery to too beautiful for it to be real. Just know that that it’s not too much. It’s not impossible with God, all things are possible. But it’s it’s a process, we’re moving in this direction, we’re moving toward the promises of God or us in Christ in many of those promises won’t ever be realized until we’re on the new heaven and new earth and all together in in fully healed and, and resurrected bodies. So just give yourself some grace. This is a journey.

Tom Jameson 38:06
Yeah, it’s it’s it’s engaging in the journey, trusting God for the destination. And of course, the destination is, you know, to be like Christ fully to be with God forever. But in the meantime, we, we do the work. And part of that you recommend a couple of tools that help along the way. Just briefly talk about sabbaticals and a Rule of Life.

Sean Nemecek 38:35
Well, in the book, we have a guide for Sabbath, not sabbaticals. It’s for Sabbath, where we talk about back in the chapter on sole care. I mentioned Sabbath briefly because in the appendix, the first appendix, it’s really about planning your Sabbath and just creating a day that is the best most life giving day of the week. And so that first appendix helps you to work through some of the questions that you need to ask so that you can have a set of options. So you can plan your Sabbath day. Well, a lot of pastors get to the Sabbath, get to that day of rest. And they asked now, what am I going to do today? And it just ends up being a boring, tiring day of doing nothing. They know they’re not supposed to work, but what am I going to do? This Sabbath planning guide is is really designed to ask, what would be life giving? Who would be life giving? What do we want to eat? What do we want to drink? What do we want to play at what what spiritual disciplines do we need to have on this day? And it really helps us to grow into that, that best most life giving day of the week. The second appendix is about Planning a Rule of Life. And this comes from the last chapter in the book, the very end of the book, I talk about a Rule of Life as a tool where you can actually bring everything we’ve talked about in the book together and just develop a system that helps you maintain health and wholeness. So when people hear the word rule, they think of rules is in do’s and don’ts, things you can do or can’t do or rules. It’s more like a rule that you would use in measuring in carpentry or building a house like a plum, where you, you determine whether or not this two by four is actually vertical or a straight edge where you can measure a board and see, does this board actually sit straight? Or is there a twist in it is there parts missing, it’s a way of evaluating your life, for health, for wholeness, for integrity. And so in a Rule of Life, you would look back over all the different things that we talked about in the book, for example, your rhythms, your energy, and you would ask where’s my best, most energizing time of the day where I can do my best, most important work, and you would chart that out on your day. And then you would look at where the times where I need refreshment, you might insert rests in the day that also include times of prayer or other spiritual disciplines that will replenish your resources, or maybe their times of connection with friends. You, they would include things like healthy eating and exercise and really anything that you need for life in you would put this in your daily rhythms, your weekly rhythms, your monthly rest rhythms, and your seasonal rhythms. And so you create this, this document that tells you this is what it looks like, when I’m my best self, when I’m healthy. And hold, these are the things I need to have in place in each of these times. And you will approach this playfully, meaning you’re free to change it at any time, if something in your rule of life is not helping you it’s not working. Feel free to swap that out for something else

Tom Jameson 42:27
got it out. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Sean Nemecek 42:31
And so all the work that that these leaders have done through the rest of the book, they’re able to look back through all of this stuff, and really pick and choose from it what they think will be most beneficial for them. And it’s by maintaining this rule of life, which isn’t easy isn’t it is hard to live in that consistently, especially at first. But by maintaining this rule of life, they’re pretty much guaranteed, they’re not going to burn out again. Because they have everything they need to be resilient, right there in place. And I should mention that there’s going to be a workbook, that’s a free download that goes with this book that has extra practices, that will be part of it, it will there’ll be a burnout assessment in there. There’ll be a guide on how to do a genogram how to plan your rule of life, all sorts of different things in there for each chapter that as they’re going through the book, they can do the work and have everything there that they need to form their rule of life when they get to the end.

That would be super helpful.

Tom Jameson 43:42
Yeah, and and hope giving not only because of the practical nature of it, that oh, there is there is a way through this, but but just the reminder that God is ever present in ever working and ever for us. You know, there’s a phrase that you use at the beginning of the book and the end of the book. And I almost think you want it to be the title of the book at one point in its iterations, better after broken just to end us with your thoughts about that.

Sean Nemecek 44:15
That was actually the original title of the book. And those parts we left in there, just kind of as a nod to that. But really, that’s the idea behind this whole book, that when you’re in burnout, you feel broken. But that’s not the end. That God is using this burnout, if you’re willing to cooperate with Him, to grow you into being a better leader, and a better pastor, better person than you ever were before. He’s bringing you back to your true self in Christ, and you’re going to be better after broken when you do the work. When you’re willing to allow the Spirit to lead you through this whole process. He does some amazing things, and people will comment on that. They’ll talk about how you’re more present, how you’re less driven, how you’re less anxious, or you’re more secure and more stable, how you’re more open, and be vulnerable with people, and yet not needy. So it’s it’s really powerful thing to see what other people say about you when you’ve done the work.

And it doesn’t it magnify the grace of God in that way too, because you’re also able to talk about those broken pieces as God reforms you and reconnects you in those ways. And be honest about that. And to know that God does that transforming work, we don’t have to deny those things. Like they never existed, right?

Sean Nemecek 45:47
Yep, yeah. And you’ll be able to talk about the work that you’ve done. But you won’t be taking credit for any change, you’ll you’ll recognize that God is the one who brought you through each step of the way that even though there was a lot of hard work, there was even far more grace involved in every little bit of it.

Tom Jameson 46:07
And our lives become a testimony to the grace of God. Yeah. And isn’t that what ministry is all about? Absolutely. see Christ. Yeah. Well, Sean, thanks so much for? Well, for a lot of different things. But in terms of the podcast for spending this time to go so deep, Roy, it’s been great having you here, brother, thank you so much. I think Shawn and I might be in, in a little trouble for our jobs here. Guys do an awesome job. We do appreciate you, Shawn. I’d like to give you the last word of the day in terms of speaking words of hope, what what would you offer to our listeners today?

Sean Nemecek 46:52
Before I say that, I just want to say thanks for doing this guys. My respect for both of you is just off the charts. And it’s just a joy to serve alongside you, and PIR and see the good work that that you’re doing and that we’re doing together. And so thank you for the opportunity to share all of this and to promote my book a little bit. words of hope I would like to offer to pastors and their families is you are more loved than you can ever imagine. And that love that God has for you in Christ is so abundantly secure, there is nothing that can separate you from God’s love. And I know you may not feel it in the moment. Ah, but it’s there. And God is so proud of you, because he has adopted you as His child. He loves you. He rejoices over you with singing. And I just want you to know that there is nothing in this world or any world that can separate you from the love of Christ. And so you can step forward into the security and joy of knowing you are fully and permanently loved by God. Because of that you have nothing to fear. There’s nothing in this life that can take you away from God’s love and His perfect plan for you. You have nothing to lose. God is watching over your every step and he will provide for your needs as he sees fit. And you have nothing to prove because pride Christ has done at all. You are living in the full benefits of his perfect obedience to the Father. And the fact that he’s seated at the Father’s right hand right now. You are seated with Him. And so you are more loved and more secure than you can ever imagine.

Tom Jameson 48:55
Amen. Amen. Thank you and Shawn’s book the weary Leaders Guide to burnout a journey from exhaustion to wholeness hits the market on March

Sean Nemecek 49:07
28. It will be available at any Christian booksellers. But you can order it now on Amazon on Christian book distributors or go to bigger book house.com and order a copy there.

Tom Jameson 49:21
And you can always check the PIR ministries dot o RG our website and get information there. Friends It’s been great having you here today. Thanks for listening. We hope you visit also our podcasts website, hope renewed podcast.com Share your thoughts with us. And we pray God’s blessing upon you as you put your hope in him.

Joe Chambers 49:45
Thank you for joining us on hope renew. Please help us reach more pastors by sharing this episode with your friends. If you enjoy this podcast rate and review us on Apple podcasts, Google for Spotify or your favorite platform for receiving podcasts. Thank you. This means the world to us. The hope renewed podcast is brought to you by PIR ministries. at PIR, we partner with God and the church in the work of pastoral renewal and restoration. Pastors. Our goal is to help you cultivate new hope for healthy life and ministry. We do this by building relationships. We trained both pastors and churches to promote a culture of ministry health. If you’ve experienced a forced exit from ministry, we provide a process of restoration for you and your family. We also have proven resources and tools to assist you in the challenges of ministry life to contact us, or to learn more about PIR visit PIRministries.org


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The Hope Renewed Podcast is presented by PIR Ministries. Visit us at pirministries.org

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