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I looked and felt much like Natasha about 18 months prior to our coffee shop chat. I sat in a stunned silence on the oversize sofa in the counseling room at QuietWaters Ministries, an intensive care retreat center for pastors and missionaries in crisis in Denver, Colorado.

Five and a half years of solo-pastoring had come to a screeching and painful standstill. Diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and burnout, I was on an emergency sabbatical from church. I did not know if I would return to serve my congregation with renewed fervor, or to leave and go…well, I didn’t know that either. I spent two weeks at QuietWaters at the beginning of my sabbatical, desperate for answers.

Hudson's Cycle of Renewal. Learn more at http://www.hudsoninstitute.com.

Hudson’s Cycle of Renewal. Learn more at http://www.hudsoninstitute.com.

How did I get here? How do I heal from this depression? What is next for me?

As the second half of my two-week stay began, my counselor held up a graphic to help me understand the chaotic journey I was undergoing. “About a year ago you were here.” She pointed to the page. “Now you are here, and you need to stay there as long as necessary. There’s no telling how long it will be, but you’ll know when it’s time to emerge. If you try to break free before you’re ready, truly ready, you’ll do more harm than good, and you’ll end up right back where you were at the point of your burnout.”

I blinked. Beyond “Uh…okay,” that was all the response I could muster. …

I’m over at Gifted for Leadership again today with part two of my 3-part article series entitled “Be Still, Alining Minister.” Please click here to read the first article, and here to read today’s post. The third and final article will be posted on Gifted for Leadership next week.