Reading time: two minutes. I’ve enjoyed watching the Olympics recently, but has been rather humiliating. The other morning I was watching the biathlon while working out on my old, trusty Nordic Trac Ski Machine. I like to think I’m in pretty decent shape for a guy my age (who had another birthday last week). I like to think I could get out there and compete. Sometimes I act like I could go on and on endlessly, striving and working and producing, but it’s not true. I’m no world class athlete, and even the Olympians drop completely exhausted across the finish line. That’s not good. We’re in this ministry for the long haul. Let’s think about wellness practices that honor these wonderful bodies God has given, but respect the boundaries of our limited physical capacity.Clint Eastwood as “Dirty Harry” once said to the bad guy, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” Good advice, Harry. Overfunctioning is working beyond our physical, emotional and mental capacity to work. Burnout is when the body, mind and spirit shut down because of extending beyond the boundaries of our limitations. It’s humbling, but we all have a capacity beyond which we can’t work. With just over a month to go before Easter, it’s time to think about pacing ourselves so that we’ll be at our best in our most important season. Long distance speed-skaters with those long, smooth strides, look like they’re not doing very much, but they are flying down the track! That’s a good way to be. Rhythm and pace. Working within your limitations for the sake of the long haul. Here’s some areas of fitness to consider when thinking about pacing yourself for the long race: Sleep. Plan now to go into Holy Week well rested by getting to bed a bit early and scheduling a power nap daily, or a couple times per week. Your refreshed body and spirit will be a gift to those you serve. Monitor the work day hours. This was one of my most important disciplines, because I could easily lose track. Jot down your hours somewhere just so you know your limits and stay within them. Good nutrition. It’s a season for fasting for spiritual purposes. Making excellent choices of how we fuel the body is a physical discipline that also enhances our energy and focus for ministry. Exercise. A brisk walk, some intentional stretching and some muscle toning all help manage stress, enhance bodily system functions and renew energy. Prayer. Mini-retreats throughout the day, pausing to bask in the grace of God, is refreshing and renewing. God has gifted you with strength for service, but with limits. It can be humbling. Honor God and His strength by living within the boundaries of your own! Thanks for reading. Do you serve in a multiple staff setting in a church, Lutheran school, university or social service ministry? Discover how a Ministry Team Wellness Workshop can help enhance your team ministry by building the unity, spiritual life and communication essential to partnership in ministry. Contact Program Director Darrell Zimmerman for more information.