Top Nav

Three Reasons Why Creating Something Is So Stinkin’ Draining

Emotionally sapped.

Physically wiped.





Quicker to anger.

Longer to grace.

Loss of control.

A little depressed.

A little relieved.


I’m not sure what you feel like as you labor through an artistic or creative endeavor, but the phrases above describe me.

It’s crazy, really. These things I get to do every day – creating and dreaming and strategizing and executing – those exact things can become the very things that leave me in the fetal position on the living room floor when I’m finished with my workday.

The things I get to do every day can become the very things that leave me in the fetal position on the living room floor at day’s end.

As I engage in any creative endeavor – any act where I’m pouring the essence of who I am into a void – there are three reasons why that process might just drain the life out of me (which, by the way, isn’t a bad thing – it’s just a thing).


If you think about it, anything you create or design requires a series of tiny small decisions, often with the pressure of a hard deadline looming. When I’m cutting together a short-film, I’m making at least 10 decisions a minute. Which clip do I use? Which piece of cutaway? Where should the clip begin? Is the music loud enough? Too loud? Am I pushing the storyline forward, or just spitting out random information? Can I razor that statement and  connect it with another statement? Is the color consistent with the next frame, shot in different lighting on a different camera? How can I make the interviewee more inspiring. Should I try to cut that “‘um” out, or leave it? What will the client want? Does that music work?

If you’re a painter or a lighting technician or a visual worship leader or an entrepreneur or a storyteller or a pastor or a team leader or a blogger, you’ve got your own different set of tiny decisions. They’re different than mine, but that’s not the point. The point is that you’re making a ton of decisions.

And you’re making them hundreds of times every day.

No wonder we end up on the living room floor.  Or angry with the people in our lives who don’t deserve our anger. Or just silent. Or … you can fill in your own blank here.


The second reason creativity is so draining has to do with endorphins.  Endorphins are small protein molecules that are produced by cells in our nervous systems, and other parts of the body. I know – I’m already bored too, but stay with me. Among other things, these little guys control feelings of stress and frustration (they control a lot more, like chocolate and sexual appetites, and addictive patterns as well).

So when we’re pushing our creative projects into the wee hours of the morning because the deadline is upon us and were crazy-stressed about meeting it, our endorphins essentially become imbalanced. They have to, because we’re stressed. The only way for our endorphins to get back into balance is for the stress to go away.

And here’s the key for our current conversation: The re-balancing mechanism happens automatically 36-48 hours after the stress-provoking event, and involves feelings of depression, lethargy, and criticism. We can’t choose when our endorphins choose to rebalance themselves. It’s entirely up to them. But we’ve been on a high, and we need to come back down.

When I was a pastor, I was always depressed on Tuesday mornings. This was true every week, unless I had taken the prior weekend off.  When I fly somewhere to work 16 hours a day for a week, I’m always great the day after I get home. But it’s the day after the day after that kicks my butt.


The final reason creativity is so draining has do with our hopes and dreams. There are a variety of hopes and dreams that I carry with every project I involve myself in. You and I aren’t just working our tails off for a paycheck. With every project we carry, there’s something in us that hopes heaven takes one step closer to our ever-groaning earth. That’s why I create short-films. That why we all want to tell great stories. That’s why we push hard into the org-chart redo, or create the product that our audience really needs.

We carry hope with us, and we can’t help it. We were created to carry it.

But when we don’t experience any fulfillment of that hope in some  manner, we get bummed or depressed or anxious or cynical (and the best leaders, by the way, are the ones who show us the hope that we’re blind to). Living long-term with no perceived hopeful outcome is indeed living on the very edge of burnout.


A theme in my life is to become more self-aware of who I am, and of how I come across to people. And a huge part of this self-awareness piece is to prayerfully figure out, as I’m lying there bleeding on the ground, what got me there in the first place. Inevitably, it’s related to one of the three things I’ve talked about above.

And it’s a beautiful thing indeed when we begin to recognize what’s happening deep inside of us, and then we express the broken capacity to invite the risen Christ into that exact place – not to become the magic potion for our fixing or our short-term self-medicating.

But for Him to reach out His hand, and help us stand again.

Because the next deadline is on the horizon, and because these feelings aren’t bad things. They’re just things, after all.


This article originally appeared on Used with permission.


You’ve GOT to Be Singing These Songs Today

It’s time for another Top 10 list! The lucky topic we will explore this week is the Top 10 worship songs you should be singing in your church (or KidMin) today! This list contains some solid tracks from Yancy, to Crowder, to Kari Jobe, to Passion, and more that your church can and should be using right now. As I was looking at this list I realized that many times it’s easy to forget about KidMin options. Because of that I wanted to be sure to include some possibilities for you to use in this post. So don’t be shy to pass these along to Worship Directors, KidMin Directors, Creative Directors, or anyone who may benefit from this list. Alright, go ahead and check these out!

Live Differently by Yancy

When I Survey by Kathryn Scott

Moving Song Part 2 by The Lads

This Is Amazing Grace by Summit Creative Company

Forgiven by Crowder

Eye of the Storm by Ryan Stevenson

Glorious Day by Kristian Stanfill | Passion

Heal Our Land by Kari Jobe

Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus by


9 Things You Need for Your Father’s Day Sermon

Father’s Day is almost here. Are you ready? Do you have your sermon idea picked out and ready to go? How about some media to go along with your message? It could really help accentuate the main points you are trying to hit.

If you need encouragement for a direction for your sermon outline, or ideas for what to use as a background for worship songs or sermon notes, we have some inspiration for you. I’m including a few sermon ideas from our sister site,, that will hopefully encourage you as you craft your own message. I’m also providing sermon slides and video illustrations from WorshipHouseMedia that you are going to love!


How to Be a Fabulous Father by Jim Perdue
This is a great sermon to guide your prep work as it focuses in on a foundational statement we find in many homes today, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

How to Be an Influential Father by Ernest Easley
With Noah as his backdrop, Ernest Easley shares with us a time that he was in desperate need of a godly father to rise up and lead.

Do You Know Who Your Father Is? by James Merritt
This is a tremendous sermon that digs into the doctrine of adoption. There is something so powerful and life-transforming about this doctrine and topic of adoption, especially when it’s preached around Father’s Day. This is a excellent choice to consider as you seek a topic to preach on Father’s Day.


Happy Father’s Day by Hyper Pixels Media


Time with Dad Welcome by Playback Media

Wooden Sky Father’s Day by Centerline New Media



Father’s Day: Answering the Call by Gateway Church Media

Build a Dad by Freebridge Media


Dad Joke Support Group by Igniter Media


The Least Preached Subject

In a church of 100 people, 20 people will likely experience depression or an anxiety disorder at some stage in their life. If you are in a church of that size, there are probably 5-10 people struggling with depression right now. If you add in the family, friends, and employers of sufferers, something approaching 25% of an average congregation will be impacted to some degree. Depression is the leading cause of disability in the US among people aged 15-44, with suicide being the second leading cause of death in the same age group.

But when was the last time you preached or heard a sermon on depression, or any mental health issue for that matter? Given its prevalence, why is it so rarely even mentioned?

Rare preaching

One reason is that there is so much ignorance and misunderstanding around mental health issues. Many pastors simply do not feel equipped to address the subject. Their seminaries did not train them and they have not pursued further training to help them understand and minister to people with such problems.

Many pastors are also unaware of just how common the problem is. Perhaps fearing a lack of sympathy or understanding, Christians with depression will often seek help from outside the church. The result is that there can be many depressed people in a church but the pastor does not know about it.

Other pastors may have decided that it’s entirely a medical problem and therefore something to be left to the medical profession. For these and other reasons, depression is rarely addressed in sermons and the effect is that depressed people feel isolated and ignored, exacerbating the problem.

Damaging Preaching

 But even worse than neglecting the subject is insensitive preaching that unintentionally makes the suffering even worse. From counseling depressed Christians, I’ve discovered that these types of sermon actually harm more than help:

– Sermons that over-stress the moral evils of the day. They are anxious enough through hearing the daily news without every church service ramping up the “we’re doomed” rhetoric. A steady diet of gloomy sermons, or graphic descriptions of violence, persecution, and other moral evils, is not going to lift up the head or heart of the cast down.

– Sermons that extol constant happiness as the only valid and virtuous Christian experience. The deep pain of depression is multiplied when a depressed person is repeatedly told that all sadness is a sin.

– Sermons that question the faith of anyone who doubts. A lack of assurance is not necessarily a lack of faith. Believers who hang on to God despite feeling no assurance sometimes have the greatest faith.

– Sermons that demand, demand, and demand. The depressed person already feels like an inadequate failure. To be regularly berated for not doing this ministry, or failing to engage in that Christian service, only crushes what’s left of their spirit.

I’m not suggesting that these themes should never be preached but I am calling preachers for greater sensitivity towards the depressed and anxious in their sermons.

Helpful Preaching

 If that’s what harms, what kind of sermons can help depressed people? One of the simplest and best things a preacher can do is preach sermons that at least mention depression, anxiety, and other mental and emotional disorders. Just to have such suffering publicly acknowledged can minister deeply to sufferers. It can help them to come out of the shadows and into the open, to sense that this is a safe place to share, and to believe that it’s okay not to be okay. It can also be helpful for the preacher to mention statistics that show how common the problem is, how this is a normal abnormality in an abnormal world.

The preacher may also demonstrate from the Bible that true believers often suffer with depression (e.g. Elijah, Jeremiah, David, Job). The Psalms are an excellent vehicle for showing believers the dark depths that believers can fall into (e.g. Ps. 88) and also give hope of recovery showing that there is a way out (e.g. Ps. 77). Sermons on Job should not just focus on the passages of triumph but also the passages of despair. Idealism must be tempered with realism. Other examples from throughout church history might also be added. For example, even the great Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon endured long periods of depression.

Sermons should also promote a holistic approach to mental health struggles. It’s very easy for preachers to take a simplistic approach – it’s all physical, or it’s all spiritual, or it’s all cognitive, etc. However, it’s very rarely that simple. There’s usually a complex mix of issues – the physical, the situational, the relational, the financial, the spiritual, the emotional, the mental, etc. This is true not just in terms of tracing causes but also in suggesting cures. One size does not fit all. Those relying on just meds should be encouraged to explore other dimensions of the problem. Same with those who are fixated exclusively on finding a sin to repent of.

Preachers with a tendency to preach on the more subjective side of Christian life should remember that depressed people need to focus most on the objective facts of Christianity, the historic doctrines of the faith. Facts first and feelings follow. There’s a place for careful self-examination, but remember Robert Murray McCheyne’s rule: “For every look inside, take ten looks to Christ.”

And that really brings me to the best way to preach to the depressed, and that’s to preach Christ. Preach his suffering and sympathizing humanity. Preach his gentle and tender dealings with trembling and timid sinners. Preach his gracious and merciful words. Preach his beautiful meekness. Preach his miracles to demonstrate his power to heal. Preach his finished work on Calvary. Preach his offer of rest to the weary. Preach the power of his resurrection-life. Preach his precious promise: “A bruised reed he will not break, and smoking flax he will not quench” (Isa. 42:3)

Preach Christ! Preach him winningly and winsomely. Preach him near and ready to help. Preach him from the heart to the heart. Preach him again, and again, and again. Until the day dawn and the shadows flee away.



Dr. David Murray is a pastor and a professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology. He is the author of a number of books including Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture. He blogs at and you can follow him on Twitter @davidpmurray.






Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture is a book for us. We move at a blistering pace day in and day out. We may take a vacation once a year, but is that really what it’s going to take to allow us to sustain a break-neck pace for the rest of our lives? This book confronts us with the sobering fact that if we do not slow down, if we do not reset our focus, then the constant red-lining could turn to engine failure. Check out this book and come back to a sustainable pace of life that God has called us to live.



3 Trending Father’s Day Mini Movies

Being a father, I’ve been thinking about our holiday we have coming up. I’ve considered where it’s placed in the calendar in relation to Mother’s Day. That placement, in June, makes me think that a mother chose the month to celebrate. Do you know why?

Because we’re being tested. If we didn’t do a good job celebrating moms, then look out! Father’s Day might not be what you hoped it would be. But if you wooed and wowed on Mother’s Day, then Father’s Day might just be a great day for you!

All jokes aside, Father’s Day will be here before you know it and I want to make sure you are ready to go with all the media you need to honor the dads in your congregation. In light of our desire to honor dads, here are three of our top trending mini movies for Father’s Day. Let me warn you ahead of time; be prepared to laugh and also well up with enough emotion to possibly cause a tear to drop from your eye. These are some great choices to use in your service on Father’s Day.

Father’s Day: Answering the Call by Gateway Church Media


Thanks, Dad! by Creative Sheep


Stuff Dads Never Say by Motion Worship


Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes