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The Emotionally Healthy Pastor

Every Soul Needs Refreshing

How can we arrange external lives (schedules) so that our interior lives (souls) get refreshed regularly?

1. God’s Presence and Word

“A paradox of the soul is that it is incapable of satisfying itself, but it is also incapable of living without satisfaction. You were made for soul-satisfaction, but you will only ever find it in God” (John Ortberg, Soul Keeping).

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul (Psalm 19:7).

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God (Psalm 42:1).

Is your walk with God consistent enough to find spiritual rest for your soul?

2. Encouraging Family and Friends

Moses had Aaron; Elijah had Elisha; Zerubbabel had Haggai; Paul had Barnabas, Titus and Timothy. I wonder who ever encouraged Jeremiah? This “weeping prophet” often lived with a tortured soul:

My soul has been deprived of peace: I have forgotten what happiness is (Lam 3:17).

Who is regularly checking on the condition of your soul these days?

3. Regular Rest and Restoration

I recently met with a weary soul who has pastored almost a decade without a vacation, and has never had a sabbatical. Like many depleted pastors, he gave it all at the office.

Has your soul had time to catch up with your ministry, or does it need rest? Does your exterior and interior life need rearranging?

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, I will give you rest … for your souls (Matt 11:28-29). 

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Mark Dance serves as associate vice president for pastoral leadership at LifeWay Christian Resources. A native Texan, Mark pastored churches in Texas, Tennessee, and Arkansas before joining LifeWay. He has been married to Janet Kendrick since 1988, and they have two children: Holly and Brad.