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Chronics Overload

When the needy get too needy.

A fter counseling troubled marriages eight to ten hours a week for three months, I was reaching a point of emotional and physical exhaustion. My counseling load was not too heavy until I preached a sermon series on marriage. All these marriages needed the touch of the pastor's wisdom and then all would be well again. I didn't anticipate adding multiple counseling sessions to my schedule, or the additional time necessary to prepare for each session. And I was already being taxed by my other pastoral responsibilities.

What scared me the most was the effect this was having on me. Just the sight of my counselees at church made my heart beat faster. I went out of my way to avoid them. Impromptu conversations inevitably turned into spontaneous counseling sessions. Ministry was becoming a grind, a leeching of my strength and passion. I remember thinking this just wasn't what I had signed up for. There were days I seriously contemplated quitting.

By the time the wave of marriage troubles subsided, ...

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