Friday, February 04, 2011

Insights from Day 10 at CN705

  • Be CAREFUL in taking care of our body as the temple of God.
  • Burnout is a syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and reduced personal accomplishment that occurs in individuals who work with people. (Too much caring; too little resource.)
  • There is no such thing as failure in God's kingdom, only forced growth.
  • Burn-out could take 5 to 6 years to work out.
  • Burn-out people say, "Yes, there is a God, but He just doesn't care about me." That sense of loss is what is devastating about burn-out.
  • When you lack support, your chance of burn-out increases dramatically.
  • Support has to come from top-down. You cannot look to your congregation for support.
  • Causes of burn-out includes situational and ongoing minor conflicts, inadequate support and rewards, low-grade depression, irrational expectations and lack of assertiveness. Over-work is not the key.
  • Stress-out is the exhaustion of your adrenaline system; burn-out is the exhaustion of your emotional system with loss of empathy, caring, hope and detachment. Both are forms of depression.
  • Type B personality is more prone to burn-out.
  • We suffer burn-out from emotional triangles. Training in systems theory can help reduce burn-out.
  • We suffer burn-out from not having a safe place to express intense job-related feelings (aggravated by confidentiality issues).
  • We suffer burn-out from a confused sense of purpose accompanied by administrative overload.
  • Humour is powerful in putting things back into perspective.
  • 1 in 3 pastors 10 years in ministry shows signs of burn-out.
  • Leaving your ministry will not help your burn-out.
  • Sympathy is actually not helpful to ourselves as well as to the people we help. We need to learn empathy.
  • We need to develop healthy theology of compassion, self-care, success and failure.
  • Success has little spiritual and therapeutic value. It does not make our life better. Success is just a bonus God give to those who are faithful.
  • God is not in the success business but the refine business. God cares about the maturity of our life more than the size of our church.
  • Because of the information technology revolution, pastors now are constantly being compared to the celebrity pastors. This has created tremendous stress on pastors.


Thursday, February 03, 2011

Insights from Day 9 at CN705

  • “It is exceedingly clear that the chronic stress of twenty-first century living is not a mere inconvenience, but a major problem that needs to be recognized and treated seriously. Unless we as a society learn to slow down, breathe, examine our values and change our hectic lifestyles, we will continue to suffer from cardiovascular disease, immune deficiencies, depression and a host of other illnesses. Further, we will pass these traits and poor coping skills to our children who could experience even greater suffering given their exposure to severe stress from the first days of life.” Jessie Shaw -Newsweek
  • Stress is being stretched beyond your limits and extending yourself without adequate time for recovery.
  • The advent of electric light took away 2-3 hours of sleep; and the advent of television took away another 2 hours. Our lack of sleep is a major reason for our failure in stress management.
  • MInistry is all about dying, but it must be strategic dying. Accelerated dying is not in God's plan.
  • We are a chain of elastic bands - our stress affect EVERY part of our body.
  • High blood pressure and high cholesterol are stress problem. Diet only provides the environment for them.
  • High cortisol (the "stress hormone") level shrink the hippocampus in our brain, reducing our ability to learn, to remember and to forget.
  • Caffeine boosts our adrenaline level, which gives us energy, but at the same time shuts down our other systems such as logic thinking (so we cannot learn), immune (so we get sick) and reproduction (so we become impotent)
  • If you "need" caffeine you are already out of control
  • Type A people produces 4 times as much adrenaline and 43 times as much cortisol as other people.
  • Choose your battles and your emergencies where you will truly need your adrenaline
  • Resign as the “keeper of the universe” and focus on that which God has given you to do in your part of His vineyard
  • Sleeping less than 5 hours a night on average will guarantee an early heart attack. The boundary of danger is 6 hours. Sleeping less than that is hazardous to your health.
  • The optional length of sleep is 6 90-minute cycles, that is 9 hours.
  • Sleeping is a process similar to defragmentation of a harddisk. What the alarm clock do to us is like unplugging the computer in the middle of a harddisk defragmentation process.
  • The sleep switch in our brain is not time sensitive but light sensitive. Turn down the lights way before you sleep to get into the mode, and turn up the light as soon as you wake up to stop the melatonin.
  • Nap is not sleep. Nap is good for lowering adrenaline, slowing our system and refreshing our mind, but it does not equate sleep. An effective sleep takes at least one sleep cycle, that is 90-minutes.
  • Anxiety is a warning system for danger approaching us. But when we are anxious all the time, the alarm does not mean anything anymore.
  • Worry anxiety is a bad habit of the mind. It is a spiritual issue more than a psychological issue.
  • Fear and worry are different. Worry has no tangible threat but only imagined, while fear does. We cannot handle worry, but we can handle fear. Therefore, we should treat worry with facts, reality and reason.
  • Panic anxiety discarder is a biological disorder created by prolonged psychological stress.
  • Panic anxiety discarder is the #1 mental problem for women in USA. For men, #1 is substance abuse and panic anxiety disorder is #2. The men are self-medicating themselves.
  • Panic attack is a gift to slow us down.
  • When you worry, write down what you're worrying and set your mind to intentionally worry them for at least 15 minutes.


Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Insights from Day 8 at CN705

  • Being assertive doesn't mean winning the battle, but having the choice to do what you think is right and best, and not being forced to do what you do not want.
  • Being assertive is having the right to choose to sacrifice. It is based on strength and courage, not cowardliness.
  • When you're angry, you disqualify yourself from assertiveness. There is a big difference between assertiveness and aggressiveness.
  • An effective board cannot function with a lot of secrecy.
  • "No" gives meaning to your "yes".
  • Difficult and irritating people are there sometimes because they crave your respect.
  • We need to develop flexibility in our personality.
We also have some interesting discussions about homosexuality in class today. I will not post those insights here because you will have to understand our discussion in a comprehensive and holistic way in order to avoid misunderstanding, and it will be too much to post here in order to present a comprehensive understanding of the point. I'm lazy - that's why I leave it out. If you're interested, seek me out and talk to me in person. I'll be glad to share with you.


Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Insights from Day 7 at CN705

  • You can harm a child as much by inflating their self-esteem as deminishing it.
  • If you're not doing well, you need to know it. If you're doing well, you need to acknowledge it. We must be honest.
  • The goal of Christian redemption is not self-fulfillment nor self-negation, but self-transcendence - to become “transparent” to self. (seeing less of self, seeing more of Christ)
  • Many consumer economies stay afloat by manipulating the low-esteem of consumers.
  • The fact that something has a name doesn't mean that it exists.
  • Buckminster Fuller: "I never went to university, so I never learned what cannot work."
  • Can you esteem a fallen self? Can you not esteem a regenerated self?
  • We have not engaged enough theologically the emotional struggles that we have everyday. We are in desperate need of a theology of the self and of emotion.
  • We must incorporate the doctrine of regeneration into our concept of self-esteem.
  • Dr. Martin Seligman: “There are almost no findings that self-esteem causes anything at all.” "What needs improving is not self-esteem, but our skills for dealing with the world."
  • Why are so many successful, competent people plagued with chronic low self-esteem? Somewhere, behind external achievements, there must be an internal filtering device that denies the successes and hoards the failures, and then serves them up as the fruit of one’s life.
  • The effect of life circumstances (successes and failures) and other external factors are NOT an adequate basis for understanding the origin or maintenance of high or low self-esteem.
  • A healthy self-esteem is the acceptance of a positive and undistorted self-image.
  • Mistakes are what we used to inform our improvement. Mistake is not failure.
  • The generation struggles with low self-esteem, while the new generation struggle with narcissism.
  • "The best thing you bring to leadership is your own transformed self." -Strengthening The Soul of Your Leadership, Ruth Haley Barton
  • Feeling and practicing gratitude is the single strongest predictor of satisfaction with life.
  • Many of us are just living off other people's genuine spirituality.
  • Many people are languishing because of spiritual carelessness (neglecting and not taking care of our spirit).
  • The number one thing to help reduce stress is silence and solitude.
  • It is important to train young people to increase their capacity for silence.


  • 正如林一峰話齋,閱讀,也是一種 state of mind。
  • 所以不限文字,還有聲音影像一切雜崩能東西,都在涉獵反思消化乾坤大挪移之列。
  • 看重的只有一個字:Insight


I work at Westside Baptist Church. Of course, that doesn't mean they agree with everything I post or link here. Everything here is my personal opinion and is not read or approved in advance. Consider yourself warned.