Mark and Grace Driscoll
Copyright (c) 2012 by On Mission, LLC
ISBN 978-1-4041-8352-0 (IE)
from pages 16-17
As Grace began working on her root issues, I hit the wall physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. I had been working way too many hours a week for more than a decade as the church exploded and became one of the largest and fastest growing in the nation, in one of the least-churched cities. I wrote books and spoke at conferences, traveling to make extra income so Grace could stay home with our children.
My pay was still low, we had nothing in savings, and we accrued a bit of debt— in a city where the cost of living was high. I preached as many as seven times a Sunday for more than an hour each time, year in and year out, nearly every week of the year, until my adrenal glands and thyroid fatigued, and I finally came to the end of myself in my midthirties. I was breaking, and it seemed there was no help, relief, or sympathy. My veneer of tough, self-reliant husband without any needs was gone. I really needed my wife in ways I had never told her and she was surprised to hear. I needed a new life. I did not need a new job, but a new plan for that job . I also needed a new marriage, but wanted to have a new marriage with the same spouse. So we cleaned up the church, lost around one thousand people due to changes amid intense criticism, laid off a lot of people (many of whom were great), and decided everything would change or we would walk. I refused to die from stress or destroy my marriage and family for the sake of “religious” people and outgrown organizational systems. I found a good doctor and did what I was told to rebuild my health.
I needed a new life. I did not need a new job, but anew plan for that job. I also needed a new marriage, but wanted to have a new marriage with the same spouse. So we cleaned up the church, lost around one thousand people due to changes amid intense criticism, laid off a lot of people (many of whom were great), and decided everything would change or we would walk. I refused to die from stress or destroy my marriage and family for the sake of "religious" people and outgrown organizational systems. I found a good doctor and did what I was told to rebuild my health. Grace and I pulled back from many commitments, got some help, including someone to help her one day a week and someone else to clean the house every other week, and carved out some time to intentionally work on our relationship with Jesus and each other.
REVERSE ENGINEERING YOUR LIFE AND MARRIAGE
... I (Mark) had been pushing myself hard for more than a decade since Mars Hill Church opened up, and I had overextended myself so much that I had worn out my adrenal glands and gotten an ulcer.
Some Sundays were brutal. I would sneak in a back door, avoiding any human contact because I simply did no thave the emotional wherewithal to spend an entire day hearing of trauma in people's lives and arguing with religious types. At times I actually found myself nodding off on the side of the stage before one of the five services I preached lived. So I foolishly started drinking energy drinks all
day to power through Sundays. After preaching I would go home to sit in the dark and watch television, obviously depressed. Before long I was stressed each night at bedtime as the anxiety over whether or not I could sleep became constant. I felt like a car that could not turn off. I had multiple stress-related symptoms--heartburn, headaches, nervous eye twitch, aggressive driving, constant low-level anger, high blood pressure, and self-medicating with food and drinks packed with fat, sugar, and simple carbohydrates, along with caffeine.
Perhaps a few months after things had reached this level, a godly friend in the church, named Jon, scheduled a meeting with me. God had laid it on his heart to speak some wisdom into my life. He did so with great humility, and in that meeting he gave me some insights that were life changing.
Jon had been taking notes on how he organized his life, things he had learned, and what he felt the Holy Spirit had asked him to tell me. His wisdom was a priceless gift. He called it "Reverse Engineering." The big idea was to anticipate life forward and live it backward.
In the ensuing months I sought to add to his wisdom as much insight as I could. For the church, I met with some of the pastors of the largest churches in America to see what I could learn about how we needed to reorganize. For my health, I found a doctor named John who was a naturopath and ordained pastor and started doing what he told me to do, which has changed my life. For my awareness, I started reading and studying material written by doctors and counselors on stress and adrenaline. For my marriage, I started spending more energy than ever to connect with Grace and get our time together. I also met a bible-based counselor a few times to inquire what I needed to learn and how I could best serve Grace as her friend. I limped along through the winter and spring making adjustments along the way.
The above narrative seems to posit that Mark Driscoll determined that his health was at stake in how things were going at the church. By 2006-2007 there were about two dozen elders in place and Mark Driscoll was holding on to a number of roles that he later described as divesting himself of.