Leadership Soul Care
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Leadership Soul Care

How bronchitis brought me face-to-face with my need for balance
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I don’t believe we need to rest on one specific day (e.g., Saturday or Sunday). Pastors and directors, for example, are often busiest on Sundays, and have a hard time resting as a result. Whatever day you choose, the goal is to truly rest on that day. Your 24-hour day of rest should not have a lot of rules or regulations (e.g., I can’t do this, I’m not allowed to do that). You will need to do some work to survive—like washing the dishes and taking out the trash. As much as possible, however, try to avoid the regular, job-related work you do the other six days of the week. Leviticus 23:7–8 says, “On the first day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. For seven days present an offering made to the LORD by fire. And on the seventh day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work.” The emphasis is on regular work. On your day off, you should cease to do those things that are part of your normal work load. Give yourself a break and do only those things that help you relax and feel refreshed.

On my day off, for example, I only read books that are non-work related. I don’t check my email, and, as a family, we don’t answer the phone. My wife and I have agreed not to talk about stressful, work-related topics on our day off. I want to rest my mind—not engage with the problems and stresses of the other six days. I do sleep a lot, take walks, spend time with the Lord, and enjoy family, food, and anything restful.

Success with Those Closest to You

I was attending a Promise Keeper’s rally when I first heard John Maxwell talk about true success. He said, “True success is having those closest to you love and respect you the most.”

I didn’t catch the full weight of what he said that afternoon, but over the years I have had time to reflect on life, ministry, and relationships. Maxwell’s words have convicted me again and again to prioritize what really matters in life. To lead others effectively, we need to be most successful with those at the most intimate levels of our lives. Who are those closest to you? Only you can answer that question, depending on where you are in life.

If you’re married, I believe your spouse is number one on your list. If you’re single, this might mean a few close friends, roommates, parents, or children. If you don’t have an inner circle, ask Jesus to help you form one. He will direct you to one or more people with whom you can have a close friendship and accountability relationship. I believe God first uses the community in the inner circle to mold and shape us. It is with these people we must first live the Christian life successfully.

I pray with my wife on a regular basis and consider her my closest friend and accountability partner. When I stumble in any area of my life, she’s the first one to whom I confess. Such accountability protects me, prepares me, and qualifies me to coach others.

I have noticed some husbands quickly share their failings with other men, but they won’t go directly to their wives. It’s also easier for wives to talk to other women about their problems while not going directly to their husbands. Although it can be easier to talk about problems to someone of your own gender, this should never be an excuse not to go directly to your spouse. Your spouse is your first line of defense against Satan’s darts and temptations.

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