In the spring of 2011 I discovered I could no longer afford to say, “I’m fine” or even say, “Maybe I’m beginning to feel a bit frazzled.” I came to the painful realization I was indeed totally burnt out. A combination of internal and external factors had brought me to the place where I was physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually spent. I had arrived at the prime “mid-life crisis” territory of my mid 40’s where my life matched every burnout profile I found on the internet, and, to make matters worse, I was a pastor. I felt stuck in a position where I was supposed to be a model of how to live above the brokenness of real life (including burnout) while in reality being broken and burnt out.I had become a statistic; one of the all too many pastors who find themselves burnt out in their labor. One of those men in the ministry who had that "deer in the headlights" look in my eye, and who tried to overcome my condition by merely managing it better. It's funny how we pastors do that! I was alarmed that I had become “just another burnt out pastor” and so I did not want to become the next kind of statistic - the kind where burnout led to pain-management through medicating my pain in an affair, porn, workaholism, or flipping the bird to God and His church, leaving, and never returning. I refused to be that kind of statistic, but the question was, how? How could I recover and renew? How could I avoid being the worst kind of statistic? How could I rediscover “the joy of the Lord” as “my strength”?In the months ahead, I'll be posting the many lessons I learned during this dark night of the soul. If you're feeling a little overwhelmed or completely burnt out I encourage you to stay tuned . . .