How to Avoid Exhaustion

What I’m sharing in this Fertilizer is the reason you didn’t receive it in your inbox early this morning as usual.

I just returned from an overstuffed, extended weekend in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It was the first time back in the US since moving to Costa Rica about 20 months ago. I arrived on Thursday morning after flying my first redeye and left for the airport mid-afternoon on Monday.

Here’s a little rundown of what I did in those five days.

  • I taught two clinics at the 2-day Atoma Conference and staffed our Ad Lib table. 
  • I spent time with our Ad Lib coaches (even the one that came up from Texas!)
  • I led worship with friends at Mission Church for both of their Sunday services.
  • I led a night of worship. 
  • I enjoyed several meals with family, including meeting my niece and nephew’s new spouses! 
  • I met one-on-one with five friends for coffee or breakfast.
  • I spent an afternoon in our storage shed, choosing what to bring back on this trip.
  • I packed everything into five overweight suitcases and one carry-on. (one weighed a whopping 94 pounds!)


My meticulously planned schedule looked like this:

My family thought it looked full. But...I had no idea how right they were! 

Every time I had to get up, I was so tired. In fact, I never really recovered from my redeye. I was tired the whole time, sometimes barely even able to be present to my schedule.

God used the time, and it was good. But it wasn’t great. I constantly felt like I had gone to the beach, with only five minutes to swim. I wanted to sleep all the time, and I longed to linger with those I love and had long waited to see. Yet, I couldn’t.

While I know it was a short five-day trip, it was clear that I had packed way too much in. I had one singular revelation about that.

As I had made my schedule, I only assessed if I had enough time to do what I was planning. Time. That was the only account I did a balance check on.

What ended up happening is that my Soul and Body accounts were overdrawn before I even began. The learning?

I can only put in my schedule that for which: 

  1. I have the time
  2. I have the physical capacity, AND
  3. I have the emotional capacity


The fancy Venn diagram looks like this: 

I don’t know exactly how this may apply to your worship ministry but know this: even if you have time for something, make sure your soul and body can handle it. Otherwise, say that magical word: NO. 

Some of us are wired this way naturally, but the rest could have ministry and marriage saved by trying this new way out. I know next time, I will!

-Dave