Thursday, February 9, 2017


We love living authentic and transparent lives. We love to share our triumphs and highlights, and we also love sharing our challenges and our uphill battles. It's part of living an authentic Christian life. Right now Laurie and I are experiencing a lot of great things. New developments, new opportunities, new growth. We have so much to celebrate and be thankful for. But we are also experiencing burn-out and exhaustion. No matter what you do - even if you run an exciting and fun outdoor adventure ministry - if you don't get adequate rest, recovery, diversion, and balance then you get run-down physically and emotionally. Despite all the positives of travelling to incredible destinations and participating in all sorts of amazing adventures with some of the best people in the world, the reality is that running physically demanding group events that expose people to potentially life-threatening risks, living out of a suitcase (actually, a backpack) for 3-4 months of the year, coming back to relentless piles of office work, scraping by on a shoestring budget with no room for error, working 60 hours a week nearly every week, living off part-time salaries, being unable to have meaningful relationships with friends and family because we are either out-of-town or too busy or too tired, and the list goes on... all of these things produce a steady stream of stress, physical fatigue, and emotional exhaustion. Then add in the inability to have adequate rest and recovery after the events because there are literally hundreds of new (and old) work demands that relentlessly cry out for our attention as soon as we return from our events. All these ingredients naturally cause a human being to become depleted of energy and sometimes even enthusiasm. Laurie and I have been striving super hard for the past 2 years and the progress we have made in our small humble ministry is nothing less than phenomenal. We stand on the edge of so many break-through's and new areas of growth and development that are extremely encouraging. But we haven't had adequate balance, rest, and recovery so we are experiencing some burn-out along with physical & emotional exhaustion. Every task feels like moving a mountain. These aren't complaints. We love our job. We love each other. We love what God is doing and where He is taking us. We are just very tired. I've gone through burn-out about 10 times over the past 30 years so I'm very familiar with this routine and have learned how to navigate this phase. But I've never gone through it with someone else as they are experiencing the same thing at the same time. That's very new to me... new to us. But there are a lot of benefits and blessings to going through a challenging time with someone instead of doing it alone. In fact, I'm actually coming out of my burn-out. I peaked around January 1st and God greatly used our Costa Rica Mission Trip to start my renewal process. I've started participating in a men's Bible study on Tuesday mornings. I've started back eating better and working out. I'm spending daily time in prayer and reading the Bible. I stop and take naps if I feel like my striving is pulling me back down. I'll listen to praise and worship music throughout the day. I'll take a break from working and watch a favorite movie for some diversion. I'm doing a lot of little things that God is using to rapidly renew me. But I'm in a pretty fragile condition. It only takes one phone call or email that starts out with, "I need you to..." or "Can you work on..." or "Have you finished working on...". Literally everywhere I look is an unfinished project (office repairs, equipment repairs, truck repairs, trailer repairs, etc) and piles of to-do's (4 months of receipts to enter, 30 group events to plan-out and accomplish, 12 months of paperwork to sort and file, etc, etc). It's easy to crawl back under the mountain that God has been removing. The work is relentless! And we are so understaffed. But still we soldier on. It's an active recovery. There won't be 2 weeks off anytime soon or anything like that. We have planned to take the last 7 weeks of the year off from running events and striving. It's one major change that we are making to promote recovery and prevent future burn-out. Although I've never really shared my "burn-out" journeys before while I'm going through them I thought I would share it publicly this time. It may be an encouragement to others because there is a lot of burn-out in ministries and non-profits across the world. Noble people who strive day-after-day-after-day to help others while making huge personal sacrifices. At least I get to have fun while I get burned-out. Many pastors, volunteers, and non-profit personnel deal with much more serious and severe life issues as they get burned-out. Anyways, I just wanted to give people a personal status report and let you know how you can pray for us. We look forward to getting renewed and refreshed. But for right now it may take me longer than usual to return phone calls, text messages, Facebook posts & messages, and the dreaded emails. I'm tired. We are tired. There are a lot of great things going on, but we are exhausted. And we just wanted to let you know. We love you friends and family and look forward to seeing you in 2017 =)

"Even youths grow tired and weary... but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." - Isaiah 40:30-31