Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Turning Off The Turbo

Written by: on April 10, 2023

A little over a decade ago, I was in a construction accident that changed my life forever. As I fell a total of 60 feet and spent 7 years after recovering from the fall, I still struggle with emotions in intense situations. I am partially disabled and my spine moves in three sections. Even though, I have experienced many healings, I still struggle at times. The spasms return, I start to shake, my body starts to react. I hear the Holy Spirit, His Presence, Jesus starts to calm me. Not only do I relive the physical drama, but partially the emotional drama. I have come to a realization, that the body keeps the score.

The Brain

Bessel reveals to us in The Body Keeps the Score, Brain scans reveal that when trauma survivors experience flashbacks, their brains react as if the actual trauma were happening in that moment.[1] Your brain has three parts:

  1. The reptilian brain, which manages your most primitive functions such as breathing, eating, sleeping, and expelling waste.
  2. The limbic system—the mammalian brain—which manages emotions, looks out for danger, and helps you navigate social networks.
  3. The neocortex—the rational brain—which operates logic, language, creativity, empathy, and the ability to plan for the future and reflect on the past.

We see the correlation that Eve Poole used in her book Leadersmithing.[2] She also referenced this in her Ted Talk reptilian brain through evolution helps support our brain functions and decisions. I have also discovered in Khaneman Thinking, Fast and Slow that in System 1 thinking I am not dealing with the reality.[3] I have found that when there is drama I have a great physical surge in my body, like hitting the turbo on a vehicle.

Too tired to keep going, must learn.

A little over five years ago we had a daughter with down syndrome. Our tiny but mighty Addy girl. Prior to her delivery, my wife spent a month in the hospital. Addy was born three months early weighing 2lbs. She spent the next 7 months in the hospital. Once again the turbo hit, even though I am partially disabled, I opened up a construction company as I knew we were going to need a great deal of money. I started working 12 hours a day on projects, preaching and ministering in the evenings. After evening services I would head down to see Addy girl. Often when I would come back home, I would hold and comfort my wife as she cried.

This was a three year process that started to let up, once I felt secure and safe. I returned to teaching, closed down the construction company and started adjusting back to family. Our son Joshy was born right before they closed down the hospitals for Covid. Once the Covid Pandemic hit, I went to my closet and grabbed my cape and fell right back into the same pattern. After two years of giving everything, the Lord has been slowing me down. In year three of the pandemic, I am officially slowing down, surrendering to Jesus.

The Doctoral Program

I think Dr. Clark evaluated me and decided I have to do something to help this guy. At this point of time, I really don’t care about the degree or title of a doctor. However I needed this program, I needed to slow down, I need to learn to deal with my own anxiety during drama or in high stress. I have discovered I do amazing for other people under pressure. However it has taken its toll on me with my physical health. A little over two years ago, I started gaining weight and could not seem to curb it. Even fasting, extreme dieting did not help. From simply doing too much, I have hurt my adrenal glands which help control your weight.


In this program I have learned a great deal. I have seen that my ego and the desire to do more is crippling me physically. The food ministry that once saved our little church, has to be reigned in and be a supportive ministry. I have come to learn that I cannot do all that I used to do and love people the way I want to love them as Christ loved the church. I want to truly engage and be present and give them my best.

The Lord gives me something special through taking a Sabbath day with Him. I have found that Sabbath is my muscle relaxer, pain pill, anti-turbo and anxiety pill. I now try to recognize that surge of energy, that dopamine rush in me that puts me in System 1 and I don’t stop until I know everything and everyone is good.[4] I have found for me personally, the highest form of worship I can give the Lord, is to simply rest in Him.

[1] Bessel A. Van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma (New York, NY: Penguin Books, 2015).

[2]Eve Poole, Leadersmithing: Revealing the Trade Secrets of Leadership (London Oxford New York, NY: Bloomsbury Business 2017

[3] Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. New York.

[4] Daniel Z. Lieberman, and Michael E. Long. The Molecule of the More: How a single Chemical in Your brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity-and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race. Reprint edition. (BenBella Books, 2019).



About the Author


Greg McMullen

Pastor Greg resides in Lake Stevens WA and pastors a small rural church in the Machias area . The Well Church has a large food ministry in which many different cultures come each week to gather food and counsel. The Church has a small school that is bearing good fruit. Pastor Greg has a large family of 10 children and enjoys fishing and hiking.

3 responses to “Turning Off The Turbo”

  1. Michael O'Neill says:

    You are such a blessing, my Turbo friend. Great post and vulnerability. I remember when you shared some of your walk with me on the ferry ride in Cape Town. It hit me hard then and even more now.

    Great mix of Bessel and connection to Poole and Kahneman.

    You are a machine and wise to practice the Sabbath. I am often guilty of defining “rest” to fit my own desires. You’re extremely inspiring. Keep up the amazing work!

  2. Michael,

    You are a great man, you have some real fire in you. Thank you for your friendship and support, I hope you and your family are doing well, especially your little one. I am looking forward to our time in London.

  3. Kristy Newport says:

    You have a great desire to serve the Lord and your family! Obviously, this comes at a cost. Praying for you and for God to provide at this time!

    Thank you for sharing this:

    “At this point of time, I really don’t care about the degree or title of a doctor. However I needed this program, I needed to slow down, I need to learn to deal with my own anxiety during drama or in high stress.”

    I appreciate your sharing vulnerably. I too, have needed this program in order to slow down and put my attention on what God has for me.
    Please continue to share with us, our cohort, how you are resting and meeting God. We need to hear this.

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