How long will this take?

I finished my brain book. I think it was helpful but the last section with the practical tips seemed a bit too simplistic. Maybe “simplistic” is the wrong word. I don’t know what the right word is.

The Upward Spiral cover

Perhaps the practical tips are more for the depressed person who has largely given up? I found myself saying, “Yeah, okay, I do that. Why am I still a mess?” I have too many moments when I isolate, sink into the couch, and just go into phone scrolling oblivion.

When I have no motivation or interest in much of anything I usually try to force myself out of my unhealthy patterns by taking some of the same steps the author recommended. I’ll give you some examples of action steps Korb recommends that I already do.

  • Volunteer to help others.
  • Spend time being around people.
  • Smile and find things to laugh about.
  • List the things that you are grateful or thankful for.
  • Find some sunlight.
  • Do something different. Change the setting.
  • Deep breaths & meditation (prayer)
  • Write encouragement notes/cards.
  • Root for a sports team.

Other recommendations that are definite struggles for me:

  • Be okay with good, not perfect.
  • Don’t focus on the negatives. Elevate the positives.
  • Consistent exercise. (If my plan falls through I do nothing.)
  • Restorative sleep.

An old pastor type once told me that the most difficult part of being a minister is “it is only a matter of time before you will be a disappointment and fail to live up to expectations. People will come and go no matter what you do.” I didn’t believe him and wrote him off as a jaded old man. Now I understand the pressure he was talking about.

When people come they praise and gush. When people go, they complain and criticize. I brush off the praises almost immediately and think, “yeah, just wait.” When people leave, I hang onto their criticisms and play them over and over again in my head. I blame myself for not being a better pastor even when their criticisms are not based in reality. It’s dumb but I see their coming as luck and their going as my fault.

I almost never leave after Sunday morning thinking on the positives. I think of my stumbles, the notes I missed, the livestream that shut off randomly or the sound system feedback. It doesn’t matter if a hundred people tell me things were wonderful. I don’t believe them.

Now that I’ve read book number two on my mental wellness journey I am starting to wonder what it will take to get me back to thinking straight and processing in a more healthy way.

I think I’m a bigger mess than taking regular walks in the sunshine is going to fix. I want a quick and easy solution but the ancient manuscripts I read (the bible) describe mental health as a journey of retraining and renewing. Ugh.

Last night was not restful at all, even after a 13 mile bike ride yesterday afternoon. My mind raced and it felt like my heart was racing too. I focused on slow, deep breaths in and out thanking God for his goodness and then praying for his blessings on everyone who came to mind. In … out … in … out. I finally gave up and got out of bed at about 4:30 AM. I felt no better. It’s 7 now and I still feel that pressure and anxiety even with a VERY light day ahead. I’m not even scheduled to preach Sunday!

This is so frustrating but I will continue to plug away, learn and try to take every thought captive.

I appreciate all you who are praying for me and walking this same journey with me. There is victory ahead even if we can’t see it yet.

Photo of tree on a dirt trail through marsh
From my ride on the Eastern Trail. So peaceful.

About Scott Linscott

Living life to the fullest, walking in the dust of my Rabbi, creating art through photography and written word, speaking words of hope wherever and whenever the opportunity arises.
This entry was posted in anxiety, burnout, counseling, depression, discouragement, hope, hopeless, leadership, mental health, ministry, pastor and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to How long will this take?

  1. Mary McGaw says:

    Hang in there. Some times it takes “baby steps not giant steps ” to make progress. We often want to get better yesterday rather than focus on today. It is a struggle to think differently. God bless you and may you feel His presence in a very special way as you go through this process.

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