What Others are Saying about Breathing Room


My book Breathing Room: Stressing Less & Living More came out yesterday, and the response so far has been overwhelming and encouraging.

My hope is that this book helps people to stop settling for a life that is tired, busy, in debt, holding on to past hurt and in many cases settling in life, and instead they would live the life that God calls them to. The life that God has for them. One that is not tired but full of life. One that is not busy but purposeful and intentional. One that is not in debt but controlling their money. And instead of allowing their past to control them, they are able to see their past redeemed to move forward into a new future.

I wanted to share what some other leaders and authors had to say about the book:

“You can’t underestimate how critical mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health – or as Josh calls it, Breathing Room – is in the success of a leader. Josh gives an honest account of what led him to dramatically change his life, busts the life-balance myth, and provides practical steps to help others turn that same corner.  I’ve been there too, and finding “breathing room” can change everything.” –Carey Nieuwhof, Lead Pastor, Connexus Church

“While there may be no such thing as a stress-free life, the stress-dominated life has almost become the norm in our modern-day culture. In his new book Breathing Room, Josh Reich exposes the most common sources of crippling stress and lays out a game plan for conquering the beast that so easily robs our joy and sabotages our walk with Jesus.” –Larry Osborne, author and pastor, North Coast Church

“Josh Reich’s book Breathing Room is truly a breathe of fresh air.  You will appreciate Josh’s authenticity and vulnerability as he shares his personal journey to try to find breathing room in his own life.  This is the kind of book that is hard to pick up because you know you are going to be challenged to make life-altering changes, but it will be hard to put down because you know those changes are going to lead you to discovering the abundant life that Jesus desires for all of us.” Brian Bloye, senior pastor, West Ridge Church, co-author, It’s Personal: Surviving and Thriving on the Journey of Church Planting

“In Breathing Room, Josh Reich opens up with us about his journey of recovery from addiction and compulsions that kept him from living the abundant life that Jesus has in mind for us. All of us can identify with his struggles. Hopefully some of us can also learn from his many practical suggestions and insights.” -Reggie McNeal, author, A Work of Heart: Understanding How God Shapes Spiritual LeadersMissional Leadership Specialist, Leadership Network

“Ministry is hard work. It’s spiritually draining, emotionally taxing, and intellectually exhausting. Josh opens his heart and shares the pain most leaders carry but reveal to no one. It becomes the secret burden we endure until something breaks. Breathing Room will reveal the warning signs that we’re headed towards a crash, but gives us hope that healthy living is possible for those of us in church work.” –Bob Franquiz, Senior Pastor, Calvary Fellowship, Miramar, FL; Founder, Church Ninja

“Josh Reich is a man of influence, integrity, and a leader of leaders. I have walked along side Josh and personally watched him live out what he preaches. I commend to you Breathing Room and encourage you to learn from Josh’s wise words.” -Brian Howard, Acts 29 West Network Director, Executive Director of Context Coaching Inc.

I hope Breathing Room: Stressing Less & Living More helps you, and I’d love to hear your story of how you change through reading the book and live the life of meaning that God has for you after you do.

Monday Morning Mind Dump…

mind dump

  • Haven’t done a mind dump in forever.
  • Feels nice after 2 weeks of traveling and speaking to have a normal feeling week in the office.
  • I got to spend the last 2 weeks in Las Vegas and Los Angeles speaking at Exponential.
  • Such a good time seeing old friends and making new friends.
  • I also got to preach in 2 Acts 29 churches.
  • Love seeing how other churches do things and getting to steal some ideas.
  • It was awesome meeting planters and pastors from around the world and learning from them.
  • I got to meet a whole group of pastors who flew from the Philippines.
  • Which was really cool.
  • The longer I’m in church planting circles, the more those gatherings begin to feel like family reunions.
  • We had a celebration with friends last night to celebrate the release of my book this week.
  • It’s hard to believe that after 4 years, it is coming out!
  • It’s hard to believe that my book comes out tomorrow.
  • If you haven’t pre-ordered it, you can get it here.
  • The kindle version is supposed to be up on Tuesday as well!
  • I haven’t preached live the last 3 weeks at Revolution and have been using the time to work on our membership/partnership process for our church.
  • Still working through the name.
  • I can’t wait to roll this out for our church in January.
  • It is for a sure missing component for our church and something I believe is hurting us.
  • Katie and I finally bit the bullet and have started going to a crossfit box instead of just working out at home.
  • It’s been awesome building new relationships with people outside of our circles of friends.
  • It’s also nice to be in a place where being a pastor isn’t that special.
  • I sent book #2 to my agent this week, so we’ll see…
  • Got a busy week as we’re getting ready for all of Katie’s brothers, mom and their families coming to visit us for a week!

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How to Trust God


Ephesians 1 has to be one of the most incredible passages in the entire Bible. In that book, Paul is showing the church in Ephesus, and us, what our identity is, who we are. Many of us look for someone to name us. We want to know from an early age that we are worthwhile, that we matter, that we can be someone, that we are important.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. -Ephesians 1:3 – 10

The picture here is incredible. We were orphans. Lost, destitute, hopeless.

We’ve adopted two boys, one domestically and one from Ethiopia. The moment that you meet an orphan is overwhelm- ing. I remember holding our son in Arizona when we met him.

He was two days old, weighed five pounds, and looked a little like Benjamin Button with all his wrinkles. The reality of what lay ahead for him in the state system if we didn’t adopt him was so sad to think about. No, we didn’t rescue him or save him, but we did adopt him and make him one of our family.

I remember the moment we landed in Africa to meet our son Judah. The brokenness of the country, the poverty, the smell, was overwhelming. The sense of helplessness you feel and the desire to do something, anything, is great. Judah was four when we met him and not excited about meeting us. I’m sure he had seen families come into the transition home who didn’t take kids home. He certainly saw families come and go while he stayed put. So he was unsure about who we were and if this was for real.

It took over an hour for him to even look at us. Even when we would get down on one knee to be at his eye level, he wouldn’t look at us. We spent a week with him, loving on him, playing games with him, hoping to communicate that “We love you and we are here for you.”Then one of the worst moments of our lives happened.

We had to leave.

For some reason, the policy for adopting in Africa meant we had to take two trips. I will never forget the look on his face as he began to understand that we were leaving, and in his four-year-old mind, we weren’t coming back. We tried to communicate with him through the translator, but he just looked at us with his big eyes and cried. Not a soft cry but screaming. As I carried him back to his room, he clung to my neck for dear life. As I tried to hold it together and be tough, Katie was falling apart. It was one of the worst moments of my life.

I remember getting back into the van with the other adop- tive families (we were the only ones leaving that day), and they asked how we were doing. I know they were trying to be helpful, but I wanted to shout at them. Our flight home was one of the quietest plane rides I’ve ever experienced, as Katie and I sat there completely run-down emotionally.

How do you tell a four-year-old who only knows one word in the English language (“fish,” because we brought goldfish to eat) that we are coming back? That we don’t know when—it could be four weeks or six months—but we will be back. I wanted to shout at the top of my lungs in his language, “We’re coming back.” Even as the workers tried to comfort him and tell him, he just continued crying and reaching out to us so that we would take him with us.

I remember when we got off the plane and we got to the hotel, I asked Katie if she wanted to walk around or get something to eat, and she said, “I just want to sit here and cry.”

This is the struggle we have in trusting our heavenly Father. We were all orphans before Christ. We know the feeling of being left. We know the feeling of being forgotten. We know the feeling of being looked over, of not being chosen.

This is why Paul chooses the words he does.
 God chose you. As a follower of Jesus, God chose you. When?
Before the foundations of the world, before creating anything, God chose you.
He chose you so that you could be blameless and holy before him.
“But how?” you ask. In love.

This love is different from the love we see in movies or read on Hallmark cards or listen to as we slow dance to a song. Love in those places is a feeling, an overwhelming, uncontrollable feeling. This is why people say things like,“You can’t choose who you love.” None of that is true. Love is not an overwhelming, uncontrollable feeling. Think for a minute, what if God loved you with that kind of love? What if God’s love for you was a feeling, where he said, “You can’t control who you love”?

God’s love, the love we are called to have for those around us and in our relationships, is a choice, followed by a feeling. God chose you in love.

For what?

Adoption, as sons (and daughters) in Christ, according to the will of God. This was and is God’s plan. This was not unexpected for God. The idea that Jesus would die in our place and rise from the dead was his plan.


Because we are sinners, because we are lost, because we are broken and can’t fix ourselves, and because we are orphans.

Every time I read through Ephesians 1, I am overwhelmed by the love of my Father in heaven. I stand in awe that he loves me as he does. That he would go to the lengths that he did to save me and give me life.

Can I trust God?

Maybe you still struggle with this question, “Can I trust you, God?” After all, when we sin, we are telling God we don’t think we can trust him. This is a question everyone has; in fact, it is the same question Abraham had in the Old Testament.

If you’ve grown up in church, you know the story of Abraham, and our knowledge of his story kind of takes away some of the amazingness. In Genesis 12, we have this man named Abram. He all of a sudden appears in the pages of Scripture. He is out in the desert and he hears a voice. A voice he may have heard before, but maybe not. We aren’t told. This voice, God from heaven, tells him to pack up what he has and move “to a land I will show you.”

Now picture this: Abram goes home and tells his wife Sarai that they are to pack up and go to a land that this voice (God) will show them. I always wonder what that was like. If she was like most wives, she probably asked him how long he’s been hearing this voice. Has it said other things? Did it give any directions? Any hints on what lay ahead?

No, Abram would tell her. Only that we are to start walking and stop when he says.

What God does tell Abram is that he will one day be a great nation and that all the people of the world will be blessed through him. The irony of this is that Abram has no children and is seventy-five years old.

Finally, as he walks to this land, there is a fascinating promise given to Abram in Genesis 15. Time has passed, and Abram and Sarai still do not have a child. From their perspective, they are not any closer to being a great nation than when they left their home. So Abram does what we would do. He whines to God. Complains, actually.

God takes it and is incredibly patient with Abram through this entire conversation. As Abram unloads his feelings of despair, lack of faith, anger, and hurt over his desire to be a father, but yet not having this desire met (are you beginning to see the connection between not trusting God and giving in to temptation or other sins?), God tells him to look to the heavens and number the stars. Abram can’t number the stars, as there are too many of them. “So,” God tells him, “shall your offspring be.”

God doesn’t just stop there. He tells Abram what he (God) has done. What is interesting to me is that when God gives commands in Scripture, in particular the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, before giving a command, he reminds the people of what he has done. God is about to make a covenant, a promise with Abram, but before he does, he reminds Abram of what he has done so far. He hasn’t just led him to a new place and promised him a son; he has guided, provided, and protected him and his family.

Then and only then does God give commands or make covenants. In Exodus 20, before giving Moses the law, he reminds him, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery”(20:2). This is the foundation of the commands of God, his promise and the freedom that he provides.

In Genesis 15, after reminding Abram, he makes a covenant with Abram. We aren’t told in Scripture if Abram asked for it, but he was at least doubting and wondering if this was going to happen. He was complaining to God, as we would do. This has always been a comfort to me, that God doesn’t strike down questions in the Bible, but listens and answers them.

God tells Abram to bring him a heifer, a female goat, a ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon. Abram did, and cut them all in half. In this time period, when two people made a covenant, they would kill the animals and cut them in half, and then they would walk through the animals, saying, “If I don’t keep my end of the covenant, may I end up like these animals.”

It was getting late and Abram fell asleep. Then God made a covenant with Abram, while he was asleep. As the sun set and it was dark, a smoking fire pot and flaming torch passed between the pieces. Abram never passed through the animals; only God did.

This is the extent to which God goes to keep his promises as our Father. He makes the promise and keeps it, even when we don’t. Even in our moments of failure, doubt, and fear, he is still strong and sure.

*This is an excerpt from my brand new book, Breathing Room: Stressing Less & Living More. Click on the link to purchase it.

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What to do When Your Husband Checks Out


Many couples have a tension that happens every night when a husband comes home from work. It doesn’t matter if his wife stays at home or she works, but most nights, in most houses, this scene plays out: He walks in the door, drops his stuff, says hi (or says nothing), walks onto the back porch, pulls out his phone or sits down in front of the TV and checks out. 

What do you do?

This is a question Katie or I get a lot.

If this happens in your house, here are a few things you can do:

1. Have a conversation. Most couples don’t know what their spouse needs or wants from something. Many men do not understand the stress a wife feels from being home all day with kids and having zero adult interactions. Men also don’t understand the pressure a wife feels who works outside of the home, while trying to run a house at the same time.

Women often struggle to understand the pressure that a man is feeling and how he needs to disconnect from work so that he can connect at home and be emotionally present.

2. Set expectations. When you finally talk about how you are feeling and what you want, you need to move towards setting expectations.

What do you each expect life to be like when you get home from work? What do you each need to be able to engage as a family and as a couple as you head into the evening? Most couples aren’t sure what would make a successful night at home, so talking through that is incredibly important.

What often happens in relationships is we have a picture in our head of what will happen, what a night or experience will be like. We build this expectation up, but we never share it with our spouse. Then when it doesn’t happen, we hold our spouse responsible for not fulfilling the picture in our head that we never verbalized.

That isn’t fair. But it is incredibly common.

3. Learn how to unwind on the way home (or some other way). The reality is that after a full day of working, meetings, running errands, helping kids, you need and want to unwind. You want to check out. I get it. Which means you need to figure out how to do that. For me, when I’m driving home I will use the quiet time to let go of things at work, use some time to pray. If I’m working from my home office all day, I’ll use the time between work and being off from  my work by walking around our neighborhood or working out.

You need to figure out what that is for you. What will you need to do so that you can let go of work and focus on being at home?

For many people, we don’t know how to unwind without technology, alcohol or food, and that leads to some incredibly unhealthy lifestyles. I remember talking recently with a leader about how to rest and recharge, and I asked him, “What gives you life? What fires you up and gives you energy after you’re done?”

Stop for a minute.

How would you answer those questions? Do you know?

4. Learn how to be engaged. On top of not knowing how to unwind or recharge, many men do not know how to engage relationally with their spouse and kids. Most men grew up watching a father (if he was around) who was simply there. He did not engage emotionally, relationally or spiritually.

Engaging with your family is being interested, being present. Not being on your phone. For most parents, if they stayed off their phone and social media until after their kids went to bed, there would be an enormous change in their family.

When you sit down for dinner (and this is still the best way to engage your family because you are all sitting down), no electronics, and talk about your day.

I’d recommend having some questions prepared. Things like:

  1. What was your favorite part of today?
  2. What did you love about school or sports?
  3. What made you sad today?
  4. Were your feelings hurt at any time today? Do you want to talk about it?
  5. How can I pray for you?

While you may get grunts and “I don’t know”, the answers are not as important as your kids and wife knowing that you are interested and making an effort.


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How You Destroy Relationships


In Galatians 6:2 Paul tells us that community should be a place where we carry each other’s burdens. Many people struggle to have healthy community because of one simple issue: pride.

To carry someone’s burden, to help with what weighs them down, you have to be close enough to carry it. Many of us do not have anyone close enough to help carry something. This is what I call waiting to build community until you need it. This ensures you will be alone and carry your burden by yourself. You have to build community before you need it, not the other way around. You have to get past your fears, open yourself up to others, and let them in.

What’s interesting about Galatians 6 is that Paul says it is possible to sin in two ways:

  1. You can sin by not carrying someone else’s burden when they need you to.
  2. You can sin by not allowing someone to carry your burden when you need them to.

The first one, most people would agree with. When you see some- one who needs help, you should help. If you are able to help, do so. If you don’t, you are selfish and mean. That point isn’t as big an issue, although maybe that is a struggle for you because of pride and selfishness (Gal. 5:25–26).

The second point may be what catches us off guard. What if we try to do it ourselves? What if we never ask for help? What if we never open ourselves up to community and the care others can give us, or allow someone to carry our burden? We are sinning as much as the selfish, prideful person who won’t help.


Both have missed community and relationships. Both have pride issues and think they don’t need help or others. Both lack humility.

*This is an excerpt from my brand new book, Breathing Room: Stressing Less & Living More. Click on the link to purchase it.

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7 Things a Church Does



If you were to ask 50 random people at your church what the church is supposed to do or why it exists, you will get around 60 different answers. There is so much confusion, and most of it is not based on what the Bible says. Amazingly we have been given clear direction on the why of the church: make disciples and be witnesses (Matthew 28:18 – 20 and Acts 1:8).

We’ve even been given a picture of how the church is to function and what it should do.

There is an incredible passage in Acts 2 that lays out what the church did after Jesus returned to heaven and the Holy Spirit came upon them.

So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. -Acts 2:41 – 47

Based on this passage, here are seven things the church should do or be known for:

1. Expect something to happen. The first day the church launched, 3,000 people were saved and baptized. There was an expectation that when Jesus gave his mission to the disciples (Acts 1:8) and said the Holy Spirit would come to help them accomplish it, they expected that to be true and to happen.

2. They submitted to leadership and teaching. This is incredibly countercultural because our culture hates authority and does not want to submit to anyone. Yet this is the first step to being a church. Someone is in charge, someone is accountable to God and to each other. Biblically Jesus is the chief shepherd of the church, and elders are called to lead the church Jesus has entrusted to them. In our culture a willingness to submit to another is one of the greatest witnesses we can have. On top of that, they allowed the Scripture and the teaching of the leaders to shape their lives. Instead of pushing back and saying, “Well, I want to do _______, so it doesn’t matter what the Bible or you say,” they allowed authority into their lives to shape them.

3. Eat together. Our culture does not do the slow, sit down and enjoy a long meal with friends and family. We don’t often open up our homes to each other to be hospitable and welcoming, and yet this is one of the defining characteristics of the early church. Jesus spent so much time in the gospels eating and partying with people, that it is astounding more Christians don’t associate that with the mission of Jesus. Yet this is one of the simple ways community is built and a church is seen.

4. They prayed together, and awe came over them. There was a sense of wonder in this church. This idea of, “I can’t believe I get to be a part of this and see what God is doing.” If you don’t have that feeling at your church, find a new church or get more plugged into your church, as it may be happening and you’re missing it. There were miracles, which can be anything from a changed life, marriages being saved, people not believing lies and battling the idols of their heart, or moving into community instead of living in isolation.

5. They had all things in common. A common belief in mission is pulling the rope in the same direction, not being divisive. Making sure everyone in your community has what they need. While some have more than others, those who have more are generous, so those with less have their needs met.

6. They met regularly. They did life together. This is not a one time a week event; this is a daily exercise of being in each other’s lives. Eating together, playing, working at the same place, having play dates, going on vacation, watching football, sitting around campfires. Sharing life. This is the longing of all people, to stop being in isolation and be known, and this church did this, day by day, the text says.

7. They had favor with all people. Reading this last verse is kind of astounding in our culture. What’s interesting is that the first century was just as hostile to the message of Jesus as our culture (just read Romans and 1 Corinthians). In their love for each other, their city, their welcoming of strangers (yet still submitting to the teaching of the Scripture and the apostles teaching), they had favor with people. This is how we know the church has gotten off track in our world. People outside the church should look at the church and think, “I may not agree with them, but I like them. They are kind, generous, loving. They are good neighbors, co-workers and bosses. They are hospitable, opening their homes to people, not bashing people on social media.” Instead Christians are seen as hateful, mean, arrogant, and spiteful.

They were part of the gathered church, hearing the word of God preached, worshiping through song and prayer and then scattering to live out that preached message in daily life.

The result? God added to their number daily. This is the goal and prayer of the church. Imagine, everyday a new person began a relationship with Jesus! I’d love to see 365 people a year begin a relationship because of coming into contact with every church, including mine.


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The Most Important Thing for your Family…Right Now


One of the things that Patrick Lencioni suggests that families do in The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family: A Leadership Fable About Restoring Sanity To The Most Important Organization In Your Life is to ask, “Over the next three to six months, what is the most important thing for our family to accomplish?”

This has been incredibly helpful and liberating for our family.

It is easy to look at a book like this and think, “I need to change my schedule, cut things out, get out of debt, work on my health and waistline, let go of things in my past, and deal with hidden sins.” It can be overwhelming. And that is just you. When you bring a spouse and kids into the picture, it becomes incredibly daunting.

That is why this question is so helpful.

What is the most important change you can make right now? What would bring the most freedom to your family and life right now? What would bring the biggest change to your life right now? Sometimes this can last for more than six months or less than three. Debt can take a while to get out of, and so can losing weight, but once the habit is created, I think you can move on to a new one.

This also does something else for you, and it is an important psychological reality: it provides a win.

We all like to win. We all like to feel as if results are happening, especially men. We want to know that the work we are putting in is paying off and moving the ball forward. By looking to a short-term goal like this, you are able to see that something is happening.

*This is an excerpt from my brand new book, Breathing Room: Stressing Less & Living More. Click on the link to purchase it.

How to Know You’re Too Busy


My book Breathing Room: Stressing Less & Living More comes out next month, and I’ve been asked by some people how to know if they should read the book. How do you know if you are too busy or getting tired in life? My response often is, “Well, if you are asking if you are too busy, you are probably too busy.”

But just in case, here are a few ways to know you’re too busy and need some Breathing Room:

1. What is normally easy is now hard. This is one of the first things that happens. For me it centers on preaching, sermon prep, reading leadership books. Whenever I find myself not feeling motivated in one or all of these areas, I know I am past the point of running too fast in life. To combat this, I take periodic breaks from preaching (I try to not preach more than 10 weeks in a row), and I work in books that have nothing to do with sermon prep or church ministry to give my brain a break.

2. Sleep is hard to come by. For many Americans, sleep is hard as it is. We go to bed too late, we don’t take enough naps, we spend too much time on technology and get worked up. I try to get to bed by 10:30. I try to not look at social media or texts after 8pm so that my brain is able to take a break. If you have to take sleeping pills, watch TV to fall asleep or find yourself going to bed at midnight or staring at the clock at midnight, you need to work on your sleep.

This is counterintuitive to us because we think if we’re tired we should be able to fall asleep quickly, but that is often not the case. We have pushed ourselves so hard, our brains are not used to shutting off. We have pushed ourselves past 10pm on a regular basis, getting our “second wind,” that our body is accustomed to it. Getting back to a normal sleep pattern will take some time.

3. It is hard to get going in the morning. Some people are morning people and can’t wait to get going; others are not. I’m not a morning person. But when I find myself having a hard time getting going in the morning, needing multiple cups of coffee to stay awake or to focus, that’s a warning sign. Think about this morning: how hard was it to get out of bed? The harder it was, the closer you are to burning out.

4. You get angry fast. When you are tired, you tend to get angry fast. Your fuse is shorter with those closest to you: family, friends, and coworkers. Your reaction to situations does not match the situation. You get angry at small things or cry without knowing why.

5. You struggle to make simple decisions and find yourself paralyzed at making a choice. It is amazing how when we are tired and too busy, normal everyday decisions can become agonizing mountains that appear like we can’t get over them. Decisions become tiring and life altering. The mood swings we have when we make a decision we regret become huge mood swings. An example for me is I’ll struggle to know what to watch on TV, what I want to eat. As silly as that may sound, it is a sign I have not taken care of myself.

6. Motivation is hard to come by. It is true that you are more motivated and alert at certain parts of the day. For me it is first thing in the morning, which is why I reserve that for sermon prep and not meetings. It is when I am most creative, and I need to give that mental time to the most important part of my job: preaching. When I find that motivation not there, I know I have a problem.

7. You have impulses to eat and drink, and you struggle to control them. You may also use things to calm down. This might be food, sex, porn, exercise, drugs, smoking, alcohol. While these things calm you down, and all of these are not necessarily sins, when used to calm us down or help us relax or sleep or “take the edge off,” we have a problem. If you think, “I just need ____ to calm down or feel better,” you have a problem.

8. You think short-term instead of long-term. You can’t get past today or what is right in front of you, and you feel completely overwhelmed by it. All of the decisions you make are simply focused on right now, and you talk about “getting through the day” or “if we can just make it to bedtime” or “if only we can make it til the weekend.” What happens is this becomes our new normal, and everyday is about making it to the weekend or the next break where we simply collapse from exhaustion.

9. You don’t laugh as much or have fun. This is connected to what we’ve already said, but if you can’t remember the last time you laughed and had fun, that’s a problem. When you are tired, the last thing you have energy for is fun or community. You are more irritable and have less courage. People are draining, and the only thing you want to do is be a bump on the log and watch TV. If you are an introvert, having fun with people, especially when you are tired, feels so taxing.

*This is an excerpt from my upcoming book, Breathing Room: Stressing Less & Living More. Click on the link to purchase it.

The First Step to Controlling Your Schedule


Have you ever felt tired or rundown? Like you are simply running from one thing to the next with no end in sight? That you and your family always seem to be involved in a thousand things and you roll into bed each night completely exhausted? You wonder if you are the only one. You don’t think you are, but as you think about other families and the people you work with, you wonder how tired they are. You wonder if they watch their kids growing up and feel like they are missing out on their lives. You wonder if they look at their spouse and remember slower, simpler times when it was easier to connect.

The reality is, though no one will talk about it, you aren’t the only one.

The problem for most Americans and families is that we don’t know how to stop the cycle of craziness that defines so much of our schedules and lives.

We think before signing up our kids for music lessons or a sport, “Should we do this? Can we afford this? Do I have the time to do this?” We wonder these same things as we think about a promotion or a move to a new job. But we often don’t have the courage to act on those questions.

We just let them lie there.

Here are some fears we all have:

  • How will my spouse respond to a change of schedule or budget?
  • How will my kids fare if I keep them off the sports team next season?
  • What will happen to my career track if I put in fewer hours at work?
  • What will the leaders at church say if I can’t lead a small group now?
  • If I change my pace or budget, will I miss out on something?

Often without thinking about it, we let these fears, what others are doing and what we think our kids need, control our lives and schedules instead of us taking control of our schedules. The reality is someone will control your schedule, and it should be you. Yet we give this control away every single day. To our kids, their school, the hopes of a scholarship, a job, a promotion, TV, social media or even to other family and friends. Now these aren’t necessarily wrong or bad. The problem is, before we know it, we’ve overextended ourselves, and we don’t like the world we’re living in. But we struggle to know what to do about it.

When you slow down, take a break, have a long conversation with a friend, take a nap, or skip a soccer season, you will miss some things. But what you will gain is a fuller experience of life. You will feel more alive because you have room to breathe. It’s not always easy for me and Katie, and we have had to say no to a lot, which felt huge at the time. But we can honestly say that even though we have more responsibility now than we did then, we feel as if we have room in our lives to be able to take on our roles, friends, ministry, and family in a much healthier way. And that’s something we are both grateful for.

*This is an excerpt from my upcoming book, Breathing Room: Stressing Less & Living More. Click on the link to purchase it.

Children, Safety, and the Church with Justin and Lindsey Holcomb

I had the opportunity to host I4J live yesterday with Justin and Lindsey Holcomb on the topic of Children, Safety and the Church. As a pastor and a parent, it was incredibly helpful and eye opening.

If you are a parent or a pastor, you must listen to this. And while you’re at it, please pick up their new book God Made All of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies.

Here is a helpful graphic from the Holcomb’s about why this is such an important topic:

GMAOM Infographic GMAOM Infographic lg