CNLP 431: Chris Hodges on Being on the Doorstep of Ministry Suicide, Battling Anxiety and Depression, and Finding Resilience

Chris Hodges had a battle with depression back in 1999, but the last thing he expected was to face it again in the summer of 2020.

In a very transparent interview, Chris explains his battle with anxiety, depression and panic attacks, what felt like a season of ministry suicide, and how he came back and grew his resilience.

Welcome to Episode 431 of the podcast. Listen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Plus, in this episode’s What I’m Thinking About segment, Carey talks about some deeper insights on burnout and mental health.

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Out of the Cave by Chris Hodges


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Insights From Chris

1. When you’re in the cave of depression, don’t go through it alone

Burnout and depression are disorienting and dark. So much so, that Chris describes them as, “Being in a cave.” So the question is how do you get out of that cave?

It’s almost impossible to get out of a season of burnout alone. You need someone who is able to walk out of the cave alongside you. Chris’ best friend,, Rick was critical in him finding his way out of burnout, and if/when you go through your own season of depression or burnout, you’ll want to have a friend walking with you, too.

2. Burnout doesn’t care what size organization you lead

You might think that burnout is way more likely to happen to megachurch pastors or hotshot business leaders, but Chris disagrees.

He points out that burnout has a lot more to do with the decisions you make than the size of the organization you lead. Someone who’s leading something very small who makes poor choices can still find themselves in a state of burnout.

3. Work 6 days, but completely stop on the 7th

One of the key rhythms that has kept Chris healthy while leading one of the fastest-growing churches is the weekly habit of the sabbath.

Once a week, Chris disconnects from technology for 24 hours, completely stops working, and spends intentional time with those that he loves, doing what he loves. This rhythm has allowed him to stay personally healthy while the world around him has been overwhelming.

Quotes from Episode 431

There's been this idea that if you're a Christian, then you can't have problems. Then, if you have problems, then you're in sin. - Chris Hodges Click To Tweet You'll always stay as sick as your secrets. - Chris Hodges Click To Tweet It's not, ‘All is well that ends well.’ It's, ‘All is well that begins well.’ - Chris Hodges Click To Tweet If you want it, be it first. - Chris Hodges Click To Tweet Your soul is emotional. It needs care. - Chris Hodges Click To Tweet Friendship is born at the moment when someone says, ‘What? You too? I thought I was the only one.’ - C. S. Lewis Click To Tweet Study after study has shown that we are the most independent and lonely society in human history. - Chris Hodges Click To Tweet That's why I use the cave as the metaphor for depression—because it's dark. It's disorienting. There's a way out, but you don't know where it is. - Chris Hodges Click To Tweet People don't know how to do soul care. - Chris Hodges Click To Tweet People are constantly filling up every single moment. I believe we're designed to slow down a bit. - Chris Hodges Click To Tweet I truly believe that what sustains us, what puts wind in our sails, what helps us, is that we were never intended to walk alone. - Chris Hodges Click To Tweet Your emotions tell you things that aren't true. Click To Tweet The best thing you can do when you're depressed, and if you're suicidal, is to do the thing you know to be true, even if you don't feel like doing it. Click To Tweet You're loved, even if you don't feel loved. There's hope, even if you can't feel hope. You have a future, even if you can't see it. Click To Tweet You are most tempted to quit before your critical breakthrough. Click To Tweet When you're feeling burned out, you can't see a better future because all you feel is the present pain. Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 431

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Next Episode: Ximena Vengoechea

Ximena Vengoechea has been a user researcher at Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

She talks about how listening to clients and customers before you launch a product can lead to greater success, how to listen to customers, and what feedback to pay attention to and what to discard.

Subscribe for free now so you won’t miss Episode 432.

CNLP 431: Chris Hodges on Being on the Doorstep of Ministry Suicide, Battling Anxiety and Depression, and Finding Resilience

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