Emotionally Healthy Spirituality 7 Gift of Limits

Storm – Grace delirious

Story of grace – When she’s exhausted, she’s gets a little nuts. So of course this coming week is Storm. And I’m very excited about it. It’s a very different experience now that I have an almost 2 year old. Storm is this incredibly fun 3 days, that is unsurprisingly SUPER taxing on the body. It’s exhausting. And one thing that we discovered last year was what a challenge it can be for a 1 year old! Last year she was 11 months old. And we all feel like Grace reached a new level of exhaustion during Storm. She is a church baby. We’d leave the church around 10:30pm get home, she’d have her last bottle at 11pm and be in bed 11-11:30pm. Keep in mind her bedtime is 7:30pm. – So then we’d wake up at 6 or so and do it all over again. So we all laugh because at a certain point Grace gets to this place of being absolutely delirious. And she like can’t keep her head up. She’s super sweet and super loopy, and it’s really really adorable to be honest. And it’s funny because for 3 days we were doing to her what she’s been doing to us for the last year. I’ve recently found out that I can sleep while I’m standing up, so that’s a cool skill.

People – exhausted in life

And I think people can end up feeling exhausted in life. We have so many responsibilities and obligations and commitments.

For a lot of people their life looks something like this ….

Life : Tomorrow morning I have to wake up, and have a quiet time, and get the kids ready, and make sure to eat a healthy breakfast, and drop the kids off, and you have to work hard at your job if you’re ever gonna move up in the company, and don’t forget to exercise, and it’s important to have quality time with your friends, and you have to shower at least 4 times a week, and when’s the last time you called your mom anyway?! and leaders are readers so you have to make time to read, and a healthy family sits down together for dinner, and you have to make time to watch The Bachelor because Rachel and Bryan HOW CUTE ARE THEY?!, and you have to do something with your life, and don’t forget to floss.

Has anyone ever felt like that?

Problem: Maxed Out

The problem is so many of us lives our lives completely maxed out and we don’t realize how unhealthy it is.

Take a look at these people. – These are all successful influential people in their own way.

  • Labron James
  • Tim Cook
  • Pastor Yonggi Cho (Founder – largest church in world – 820,000 member church – South Korea)
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Elon Musk
  • Holly Wehr (who is a mother of 4 AND a homeschool teacher, and works as a fitness instructor).

Here’s the question: What do these 6 people have in common?

Answer: All have exactly 24 hours every single day, of every single week, of every single month, of every single year. Ultimately the quality of your life and the impact we have in the world has every bit to do with how we spend those hours.

I believe God wants us to live lives that really matter. Not in some “you have to be famous” way, but in a way that you were true to who God made you and what he called you to. But how often do we get through 24 hours and just feel like “I’m not sure if I accomplished anything, but I sure am tired.”

And I think many of us would admit that more times that we’d like to admit, we DO a lot, but ACCOMPLISH very little.

Just let me say that not everyone lives the same life or is CALLED to live the same life.

  • Stay @ home mom // mission field == honorable.
    • Life called to Live – But many ≠ even do that.
  • Feel like like happening “to us” — Deliberate.

A stay at home mom and someone who has chosen to not have children to live on the mission field are both equally honorable callings. So nothing that we say is this series is saying that you should live a life other than the life you are called to live. But many of us don’t even do that. Many of us feel like life is something that happens to us rather than something that we’re being deliberate about.

Especially as people who believe that God is always at work in us. That he’s a God of resurrection. Is there any space for any of that? Is there any space for what God wants to do that’s new in you?!


Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” (Genesis 1:26)

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Genesis 1:28)

Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. (Genesis 2:8)

The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:9)

And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; (Genesis 2:16)

but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:17)

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1)

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, (Genesis 3:2)

but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ” (Genesis 3:3)

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. (Genesis 3:4)

“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5)

So you can see here what the temptation really was. It wasn’t “Wow that fruit looks delicious, and I am so hungry!!” No that wouldn’t have been a temptation. The temptation was “You can be like God.” And of course in one sense, we ARE like God. – We’re made in God’s image. But in another sense, we’re absolutely NOT like God.

Specifically in these 3 areas. You may be familiar with the “Omni’s”. God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.

  • Omniscient (All Knowing) – God is all-knowing, all-wise, all-seeing.
  • Omnipotent – (All Powerful) – There is no power that God does not possess.
  • Omnipresent (All Present) – God is in all places at all times.

Of note, none of these are true of the devil. – OR YOU.

YOU are NOT omnipresent, omnipotent, or omniscient. But we act like we are instead of receiving the gift of limits that God has put in your life.

I am not Omniscient.

I will resist the temptation to pretend I know everything.

As strange as that sounds. Remembering that you don’t know everything can be a tremendous relief. You ever met someone who always has to be the expert on everything? Man, how exhausting. Repeat this after me: “I don’t have an opinion about that.” – Welcome to emotional health.

Me – ZERO political conversations

At this point in my life, I have precisely 0 political conversations a month. ZERO. I don’t get involved. Someone says something political and I say “Yup, I hear that” and I keep walking. Why? B/C I don’t know everything, and I have to put however many brain cells that I have to their best use. And me spending 12 hours deciding on what I think about someone I’ll never meet is not a good use of time for me. For other people, maybe that actually IS a good use of their time. That’s a place God has gifted them, maybe their called to be a politician. And so that’s great.

But nobody knows everything, and that’s great. And when you can get to the place of “I don’t know anything about technology. I hate technology. I’m not wasting any of my energy on that.” – That’s actually a beautiful thing.

I am not Omnipotent.

I will resist the temptation to pretend I can do everything.

  • Another BBQ? SURE!
  • Another side job? SURE!

Andy Stanley wrote a book called ‘The Best Question Ever’ So let’s say I asked you about doing something this Saturday. Well what you would probably do is look at your calendar, and ask this question: “Am I free?” Which is an ok question so ask, but it’s not the BEST question. Here’s Andy’s best question ever: Is it wise?

In fact, you can expand this question to this: In light of (Blank) is it wise?

Here’s some examples.

  • In light – fact – have a newborn baby at the house, is it wise?
  • In light – fact – I’m already working 50 hours a week, is it wise?
  • In light – fact – trying to save up for a new car, is it wise?
  • In light – fact – have a limited time on this planet, is it wise?

Not: Is it wrong? Not: CAN we do it? But: “Is it wise?”

I am not Omnipresent.

I will resist the temptation to pretend I can be all places at once.

We live in a world that tells us that if we want to be successful, then we have to pack cram our life so full that there’s no room to breathe.

There is a busyness that reflects a chaotic way of life – a way of doing in which you simply respond to the next thing in the day. It makes no difference whether or not it has significance; it’s just the next thing, and you do it because it’s there to do. (Gordon MacDonald, Ordering Your Private World)

Pastor Friend – Sabbatical

John Wheeler sabbatical. This past week I met with a pastor friend of mine who cried as he told me that his church board was putting him on he 18 week sabbatical. And he invited me into that process and he bought me a Book on how I can help support him through this time and he essentially told me that the reason was that his life had just begun to spiral out of control. There was no big immorality, it was just the pressures of the ministry and putting Ministry above family ended up bringing him to the brink of collapse. And that’s a really common problem for people in the ministry. In fact I have another pastor friend who a couple months ago checked himself in to suicide watch at the psychiatric hospital. So people in the ministry you would think are somehow exempt from all of this but that’s not the case. The ministry can be absolutely draining the same way that every other career and life calling can be draining. And so we’ve been talking about what it means to be husband and father and a pastor who is emotionally healthy. This isn;t just a class for me this is something that I take seriously because I want to do this for the long haul in a way that doesn’t affect my health negatively, and in way that doesn’t affect my family negatively and so we can learn now together some of these lessons that are hugely important for all of us.

And I would submit to you that if you want to be true to what God has called you to do, you too are going to have to learn when to say no and when to say yes.

Jim Carey ‘Yes Man’

Years ago a movie came out with Jim Carey called ‘Yes Man’ I don’t know if any of you saw it, but the idea was there was this man who works a boring mundane job, essentially saying ‘No’ to life, and his friend brings his to this seminar and he becomes a ‘yes man’ where any time an opportunity presents itself, he HAS to say yes. Which is a great way to get Jim Carrey in some hilarious situations, but it’s a terrible way to live your life.

You have to be able to say no if you want to say yes to what’s most important.

One of the people that I personally think is THE BEST at this is my wife, so I asked her if she’d be willing to come and share a few of her insights and she agreed. Can you help me welcome up Jordan?

You have to be able to say no if you want to say yes to what’s most important. And what IS most important?

Story of Jesus – 3 things universal.

Well in the story of Jesus, we find 3 things that Jesus prioritized that we are ALL called to prioritize as well. No matter what kind of life you’re called to live, these 3 are universal.

1. Time with God

We looked at this before, but Jesus prioritized getting away and spending time with God. And I think this looks different for different people, but also it looks different in different phases of life.

My wife and I :

My wife and I we have an almost 1 year old, and we’re helping lead a large with a large staff. And we also have 2 families that live in town that we try to prioritize, not to mention keeping our marriage a priority.

Before Grace, our alarm would go off at 5:30am like clockwork and we’d have our quiet time, and we’d exercise. Well that all changed. And now our time with God in shorter bursts throughout the day when we can get it, but it’s still a priority.

We’ve personally found that when our personal relationships with God get thrown on the back-burner, everything else starts to suffer. Our relationship with each other, our ability to be loving, Godly parents, our ability to lead the church, that all flows out of our relationship with God. When time with God goes away, so does intimacy.

2. Time with core community

Even in this incredibly busy 24 hours, Jesus prioritized sitting eyeball to eyeball at a table with his loved ones.

Individualistic society.

We live in an incredibly individualistic society. Where we’re all doing our own thing, and if we don’t prioritize community, it’s not gonna happen.

For most of us, this is our natural family plus our spiritual family. For others who don’t have any natural family, it’s our spiritual family.

This is one of the reasons we have things like bible studies, and small groups, and community groups, so provide people an opportunity to prioritize a core community.

For each and every one of us, following the example of Jesus will lead us into (not away from) community.

3. Time serving others

We see Jesus even in extreme exhaustion, being willing to serve others. And we’re called to do the same. We’re called to come out of the comfort of our own lives to serve other people.

I don’t have time to get into it, but the Paul would tell us that if we don’t do this, then everything else is fake. We can do amazing things, but if we don’t LOVE others, then our faith means nothing.

And one of our hopes as a church is that we would be ONE of the places that would provide you opportunity for you to serve others. Church isn’t the ONLY place we serve others, that’s all day, every day, but it is ONE of the places we serve others.

JOHN 17 – Jesus right at the end of his life on earth. This was his prayer:

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. (John 17:3)

I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. (John 17:4)

In other words: “I’m done.” How can Jesus say that?! – There’s so much work left to be done! The disciples are literally in hiding. Behind a locked door. The entire Christian church is 120 people on a good day. And Jesus says “My work is done.”

B/C Jesus knew exactly what he was called to do. What’s that for you? The world can’t tell you whats significant. The world doesn’t hand out medals for being a dad who’s present. The world doesn’t hand out medals for sitting with a family who’s grieving. But the God sees it.

Closing thought:

What would it look like for you to look back at the end of a day, and know that you finished the work God gave you to do?

How about a week? How about a month? How about a year? What would it look like for you to look back at the end of your life, and know, “I did it. I did the work God gave me to do.”

If you just decide all right starting tomorrow “I’m doing this”. You’ll break yourself. It’ll be like going to the gym for the first time in two months and having the hardest most intense workout of your life. You’ll spend the next eight weeks in Epsom salt baths and you can’t move.

“What’s one thing I need to say no to, so that I can say yes to what I’m called to?”

And it’s a process. It’s not something we magically master. SO the question for many of us is: “What’s one thing I need to say no to, so that I can say yes to what I’m called to?” For some of you this might be: Leaving work at work, so you can come home and be present with your family. For others it might be taking it easy on the video games so you can come and volunteer at the church, or the homeless shelter. For some of us it might be putting down the novel, and picking up our bibles.

What is the work the father gave you?

And here’s the good news, we’re not called to do it on our own.


“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

If you’re feeling overworked, exhausted, or worn-down, Jesus’s message to you is: Come to me, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:29)

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30)

A yoke (pic) is a device you put on oxen in farming that allows them to carry a heavy load. And Jesus says come take my yoke, because it’s light.

Interesting that it doesn’t say “I’ll take your yoke.” But that we take HIS yoke, so it’s not that God takes all our responsibility and we just get to sit back in the lay-z-boy for the rest of our life. God wants us to participate in his kingdom. But not in a way that leaves us feeling over-burdened.

Also, you’ll notice that it’s usually used by two oxen together. And so for some of us, the reason we feel overburdened is because we’re trying to carry something on our own, instead of WITH HIM. And letting him be our strength.

Maybe you:

  • And so maybe you’re at a place today where you need God’s help to look beneath the surface of your heart. And to understand why it is that you do the things you do and say the things you say.
  • Maybe for some of you it’s about God helping you to become vulnerable with somebody else. Remember we talked about that?
  • Maybe for some of you, it’s God helping you through the grieving process. Remember that? Or maybe it’s God helping you to forgive. Or maybe God’s help establishing a sabbath, a day of rest.
  • Or maybe it’s about God helping you understand your natural limits and to develop the courage to say no so that you can say yes to what’s most important.
  • Or maybe just need God to come and give you the courage to say no to things so that you can be the person God called you to be.

Whatever the case may be, we believe that those who ask, receive. So allow me to pray for you.


Extra Stuff

Most productive // peace & rest – Jesus.

When I think of the person who was the most productive in the history of the world, and yet at the same time did it from a place of peace and rest, that person is of course, Jesus.

And so what I want to do is go through a snapshot of 24 hours in the life of Jesus. This 24 hours is really the very beginning of his public ministry, and so this is a crucial 24 hours in his short life and even shorter ministry.

In Mark 1

Jesus is at the beginning of his ministry, he’s been baptized, and he’s gone out to the wilderness for 40 days to be tempted by the devil. He comes back and begins to hand pick the 12 disciples.

Well one day he’s in Capernaum and he goes to the synagog, as as would any devout jew, and there he speaks. And as he’s preaching, a demon possessed man who screams “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth, I know who you are.” Jesus says “Come out of him.” And the demon leaves the man.

Well needless to say people were slightly surprised at this. Not only with the miracle, but also with his teaching. They said “This man speaks like one who has authority.”

News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee. (Mark 1:28)

So this is really the beginning of Jesus as a public figure. Everyone is talking about what happened that day at the synagog.

As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. (Mark 1:29)

So after synagog, Jesus, like many of us, goes to a friends house to eat. And so Jesus even though he doesn’t even know these men well, makes it a priority to spend time with his core community, in this case, spending time at Simon and Andrews house.

Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. (Mark 1:30)

So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them. (Mark 1:31)

Here Simon Peter’s mother in law is sick with a fever, Jesus goes and heals her, and she gets up and begins to ‘wait’ on them. Now at first this might seem a little sexist. “Oh you’re feeling better? Cool. All the boys are over, go make us a sandwich.”

That’s not what’s happening here. We have to understand that when God comes and does something in our lives, he heals up not so we can just sit around and eat doritos all day. God not only saves you FROM something, he saves you FOR something.

That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. (Mark 1:32)

The whole town gathered at the door, (Mark 1:33)

and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was. (Mark 1:34)

So after the sun goes down, when everyone hears about Jesus and his miracles, they bring out all their sick and demon-possessed friends and they all gather at the door.

And if movies have taught us anything, it’s that demon possessed people don’t tend to be the quietest group of people in the world.

And so Jesus, even though it was late in the night, and he was no doubt tired from the day, was in his kindness and compassion, able to say “Yes” and goes out and heals the people who were sick.

Now I’m thinking if this was me, I’m feeling like this was a pretty good day. Tomorrow, I’m gonna sleep in. But look at what Jesus does…

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. (Mark 1:35)

So Jesus, after he’s had this seriously long and taxing day, still makes it a priority to spend time with God. He needed to be filled back up, emotionally, spiritually, to be able to face the next day. Also, he comes to God again for direction. His life has changed forever in the course of 24 hours and he needs direction and leading.

What a great reminder. Because for lots of us, when life gets busy, that’s when God ends up on the cutting room floor. But in the life of Jesus, when life ramps up, he recognizes that’s when he needs his father the most.

Simon and his companions went to look for him, (Mark 1:36)

and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” (Mark 1:37)

Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” (Mark 1:38)

So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons. (Mark 1:39)

So here Jesus’s disciples are looking for Jesus, and when they find him, they say “Jesus we gotta get back into town everyone is looking for you!!!” And so here we see people placing demands and expectations on Jesus, and Jesus replying with a ‘no’. Jesus says “I’m not gonna do that, I’m gonna go to the other villagers and preach. That’s why I came.”