The Red Zone: unsafe areas in Iraq after the 2003 invasion, a region of France decimated during WWI, the area on the field between the 20-yard line and the end zone in American football (source: wikipedia).
The term Red Zone is a fairly well-understood term that designates either a problem area or a heightened sense of alertness, as in the case of football. I’m extending that meaning to the emotional place many pastors and leaders find themselves in, sometimes without their even knowing it.
Consider these subtle clues that may point to your being in the stress Red Zone. Mentally check the ones true of you.
10 indicators you are in the stress Red Zone:
1. You quickly walk by someone at church or at the office to avoid a conversation simply because you don’t have the energy to engage.
2. Fun in ministry and life seems to have disappeared.
3. When you come home, your spouse says, “You look terrible.”
4. When you come home, you could go to bed, right then.
5. You can’t shake the free-floating anxiety that seems to cling to you.
6. Small things that once didn’t bother you now set you off.
7. You often ruminate over and rehearse negative issues in your ministry and/or life.
8. You easily default to worst-case scenario thinking.
9. You feel anger coursing deep within.
10. You’re not sleeping very well.
How many did you mentally check? If you checked any of these, you may be in the stress Red Zone.
Often, leaders lead in such stress-filled environments that their bodies and brains are awash in the stress hormone, cortisol. When under stress, whether good or bad, our adrenal glands (located atop our kidneys) release this important hormone.