I’m one of those “Type A” people who loves to be busy and has to be careful that I don’t take on more than I should. One of the reasons I love ministry is that it’s diverse and provides opportunities to interact with people, problem solve and coordinate ministries. I’ve always seen busyness as a badge of honor, which is certainly not a healthy perspective.
Over the years I’ve come to realize that I can be, and should be, a leader who cares for my soul. The two are not and should not be mutually exclusive. In fact, as leaders who are also followers of Christ, it is our privilege and responsibility to live a well-ordered life that reflects the lifestyle of Jesus. John Ortberg has a great quote about the way Jesus lived. He says, “Jesus was busy but he was never hurried.” What a great reminder that while we will be busy, we don’t have to be hurried. This blog, Hope for the Hurried Soul, written by Aimee Joseph reminds us that we cannot be effective leaders and have a hurried soul.
One book that’s had a significant impact on my leadership is, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership by Ruth Haley Barton. Barton follows the life of Moses as she challenges us to see God in each season of our lives and leadership. In her book she says, “The best thing we bring to our leadership is a transformed soul.”
Do you agree? Is caring for your soul a priority? If you answered “yes,” the next question becomes, “how will you do that?” What will you do that strengthens your own soul so that your leadership flows from a place of fullness and not emptiness?
One of the most important things we do as leaders is to bring a spiritually and emotionally whole self, a whole soul, to our ministry responsibilities. Use this simple inventory to identify symptoms that could be signals of a broken soul due to burnout:
ARE YOU BURNT OUT?
Answer each question using the following scale.
1 – NOT TRUE AT ALL
2 – SOMEWHAT TRUE IN MY LIFE
3 – VERY TRUE IN MY LIFE
- ______Compulsive Overworking
- ______Emotional Numbness
- ______Escapist Behaviors
- ______Disconnected from Self and Calling
- ______Unable to Attend to Personal Human Needs
- ______Slipping in Personal Spiritual Practices
Reflect on your responses to the above statements. If your answers indicate an unhealthy pattern of leading, I challenge you to take steps to change the way you order your days. Understandably, as ministry leaders, there will be seasons that are especially busy. But there is a difference between busy seasons and a hurried life.
When we choose to strengthen our souls, we will lead from a place of wholeness because we are experiencing the presence of God in our daily lives and in our leadership decisions. When we make choices to be with Jesus first, our soul will experience His peace and rest and our leadership will reflect His wisdom and discernment.
Take some time to sit with Jesus’ invitation and ask yourself if you have accepted his words as a way to live your life.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)