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Emotionally Healthy Obedience

Paul lived and worked with (Aquilla and Priscilla), for they were tentmakers just as he was. Acts 18:3

As usual, I write this blog based on what the Lord is speaking to me and to those I walk most closely with in the faith. This week, the Lord has been speaking clearly about how we are to mentor and stand with and empower and rescue and restore the pastors He is raising to plant churches in Appalachia, as well as with our church family.

We live in a time a great cultural upheaval. MOST young men and women enter adulthood now without some important basic tools for dealing and coping with life. Things that earlier generations learned in functional households are often missing in the lives of gifted and called leaders these days, and the results can be disastrous…

EVERYONE needs to know how to fill their emotional “tank.” Unfortunately, many people are entering the “real world” without ever experiencing HEALTHY activities that bring balance and relieve stress.

For instance, working with my hands has always been a stress-reliever and tank-filler for me. If the pressures of life become too much, I find refuge—and refilling—by fixing something… by mowing the lawn… by remodeling a room… by going for a jog… by clearing a patch of woods… by going for a hike. I’m not neglecting ministry by painting a room or going for a jog; I am protecting and enhancing it!

To many in a younger generation, the satisfaction of a job well done has been replaced with the instant pleasures of social media… video games… pornography… self-harm…

The problem is—and medical science proves it—all these activities are addictive in nature and literally change the brain’s chemical balance. In addition, they create the ALLUSION of being social, while they are in fact highly individualistic and therefore anti-social. Worst of all, they create emotional highs, but are incapable of bringing emotional filling. They drain our tanks, rather than fill them. Much like getting drunk, these activities are a reaction to emotional pain rather than a cure for the pain.

The result? People “hit the wall” emotionally and revert to harmful or dangerous activities to try and fill up—and end up in a place of guilt and shame and brokenness—often destroying ministries and marriages and careers in the process…

GOD’S REVELATION TO ME THIS WEEK IS THIS: Paul didn’t just make tents to bring in some income; He made tents to “refill his tanks!” Paul made tents to maintain his sanity AND to shape his disciples. He did much of his ministry to those he was raising into ministry—like Timothy and Aquilla and Priscilla—around work rather than in a classroom or Bible study. The sweat of hard work was as healing to his team of disciples as it was to the folks in Ephesus touched by those disciples while clinging to one of Paul’s sweat-rags…! (See Acts 20.)

Giving young men and women healthy and soul-filling tools of emotional healing is critically important as the Lord moves us forward in church planting. If we can help a young man or woman learn how to build a table or paint a barn or go for a long walk rather than punch a hole in a wall, or revert to drinking, or be seduced into an illicit relationship, than we have saved them and those they pastor from huge amounts of brokenness, shame, guilt, and pain…!

How about you? Have you the tools—God given jobs and hobbies—that bring release and relief and the strength to go on…? If not, how can I help you find and develop them?

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