The Pastor’s Personal Life – Part 4- Your Health
by David Wentz
Published on June 12, 2022

Dear Pastor and Church Leader,

We begin our fourth week of one of the chapters in David Wentz’s book, Pastoring: the Nuts and Bolts. You can read the first three weeks here: [1] [2] [3]

The Pastors Personal Life – Part 4 – Your Health

By David Wentz

In casual conversation we often use the same language to refer to spiritual and psychological issues. In this section I need to be a little more precise.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Paul prays, May your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. You know what your body is: the physical part of you that interacts with the physical world, through your muscles and your five senses. Your spirit interacts with God and the spiritual realm, through prayer and spiritual discernment. What Paul calls your soul is the Greek word psyche, root of “psychology.” It includes your emotions, intellect, memory, imagination and so on. It’s how you interact with the realm of ideas and feelings.

The spirit, soul and body are three distinct parts of every human being, and we need to keep them all healthy.

When your body has a cold, your mind may have a hard time thinking. When your emotions are sad, your spirit may not feel like praying. Every part affects every other part.

I once heard a pastor talk about an experience he had just been through with his health. He mentioned how cars have gauges on their dashboard to report how they are doing: a fuel gauge, an oil pressure gauge, an engine temperature gauge, and so on. If all the gauges read within the acceptable range, then the car is in good shape.

This pastor said he had always believed that human beings have two gauges, a spiritual gauge that measures spiritual health, and a physical gauge that measures physical health. He worked hard at his relationship with God, and he worked hard at eating right and exercising, so he figured he was alright.

Then suddenly one day he had a total breakdown. After a long and slow recovery, he realized that there was a third gauge that he had overlooked: the emotional gauge. He learned that if we let our emotional reserves get too low, we lose our ability to deal with everyday situations. And he learned that replenishing your emotional reserves is like charging the battery in a car. If things are working right, the alternator in a car constantly recharges the battery as the car is driven. If the battery is allowed to drain, it can only be recharged slowly, using a “trickle charger” that trickles the electricity in a little at a time. In the same way, if you allow your emotional reserves to drain, they can only safely be charged slowly over time. He believes that the search for a quick jolt may explain why some pastors succumb to emotionally charged temptations.

As a pastor, you know about keeping up your spiritual life. There is plenty of advice available about how to stay physically healthy (although personally I must confess that I know it better than I do it). I would like to mention three quick things that I have found helpful with regard to keeping your emotional tank full.

First, recognize what fills you and what drains you. Some people and activities fill you with energy. You feel better when you are finished than when you started. Others drain energy from you. You have to work yourself up to face them, and recover when they are over. There is nothing wrong with this; it happens to everyone. A big step toward staying healthy is to recognize these differences and account for them. Make a list of the energizers and drainers, both people and activities. Arrange them in your schedule so you don’t have too many drainers back to back. Schedule some energizers in between, or at least time for rest and recovery.

Second, get enough rest. Contrary to what our workaholic culture would have us believe, resting is not an unspiritual waste of time. American theologian Richard Foster said, “Sometimes the most spiritual thing I can do is take a nap.” God made resting one of the Ten Commandments. After six days of creating the universe God himself rested (Exodus 20:8-11). So don’t feel guilty about resting. Make time for it. It can be a pretty spiritual thing to do.

Third, make yourself happy. Some years ago my wife Paula was feeling kind of down about some things that had happened. She didn’t want to keep feeling that way, and she didn’t want to go to an expensive counselor or therapist. So she invented something she calls “Happy Therapy.” “Happy Therapy” goes like this:

Step 1: Find something that makes you happy.

Step 2: Do it!

(I asked Paula to review my manuscript for this book. At this point, she wrote in the margin, “It worked!”)

Depression can be a sign of a physical problem that needs medical treatment. But often it’s just a matter of needing an emotional recharge. Never feel guilty about taking time to make yourself happy. Happiness is just a sign that you are emotionally healthy enough to do good ministry.

You cannot effectively serve God, your church or your people if you are not healthy – physically, emotionally, spiritually, and in your relationships. Learn to rejoice in taking time for your health.

__________

Thirty-eight years as a pastor honed Davids passion for helping people connect with God and make a difference. Add a varied church background, a first career in engineering, and graduate degrees from three seminaries (mainstream, Wesleyan-evangelical and charismatic), and you can see why he expresses Gods truth in ways everyone can appreciate.

David earned a B.S. in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia; two Masters of Divinity, from Melodyland School of Theology and Wesley Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry in Christian Leadership from Asbury Theological Seminary. He enjoys the outdoors, writing worship songs with his guitar, and playing sax and flute in jazz and blues jams. His heroes are John Wesley, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

David married his college sweetheart, Paula, in 1974. Their five children are actively serving God in the US and around the world.

You can connect with David on his website, twitter, Facebook, and Doing Christianity Nonprofit.

CGM Wishes to Thank Memento Media on Unsplash for The Use of Our Feature Photo

2 Comments

  1. Ellie Marrandette

    Oh, David, this is a fabulous article! So true for today’s faithful pastor. As a pastor’s wife, I’m grateful you encourage other men of God toward practical solutions to everyday challenges.

    Reply
  2. David Wentz

    Ellie,

    Thank you so much for your words of encouragement! I really appreciate it.

    And thank you for your service as a pastor’s wife. It can be a hard row to hoe sometimes. I know I would be a much poorer pastor without my wife.

    Reply

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