Amid the spiritual growth you facilitate for others, have you been saving some of it for yourself? Maybe this is the year you recover your spiritual growth practices. Or maybe even discover them for the first time.
Real Talk About Spiritual Health
If you’re teaching others about a relationship with God, your spiritual life is essential, both for their learning and your thriving. How do you stay connected to God as you walk the journey? Tell us in the comments!
Growth very often happens only when the necessary resources are available. So, your spiritual health is of top priority for you to grow and avoid burnout. If you’re giving of yourself, this is especially true.
Oh, and let me clarify. Spiritual health is all of you. Enjoying physical activity, eating foods that serve you, connecting with God. It’s all related. Think of it this way: Food is, in one category, the stuff we eat and, in another category, everything else that nourishes us. How are you feeding yourself?
Since the Spirit chooses every moment of every day to spend within you, spiritual formation can’t be separated from any of the ways you love and care for your whole self.
I recently saw Glennon Doyle speak and someone in the audience asked her how she takes care of herself amid all the work she does. This person was feeling depleted by the ministry she does. Glennon answered by saying she takes such good care of herself, it’s almost embarrassing. How many of us can say that??
Why is it tough to stay nourished while on this particular journey called church work?
The Leader’s Struggle to Grow Spiritually
It may seem strange, but ministry leaders’ spiritual growth easily gets put on the back burner. And it’s understandable.
First, pouring into others can feel like you’re pouring into yourself…for a while. You’re around all the God stuff. But you’re presenting it and not experiencing it.
Unfortunately, you don’t receive spiritual sustenance by diffusion while working in a church. Given time, you can start feeling tired or parched or beaten up or overwhelmed or hopeless or all of it.
Second, nourishing kids in their faith requires so much of your time, energy, heart and mind. And work doesn’t end when you leave the office. It’s never done, and you take it with you almost everywhere you go. Your spiritual growth can feel like one more thing to add to an already over-crowded list of tasks.
Third, self-sacrifice is highly valued. When we’re doing “the Lord’s work” there’s an invisible line in the job description that many of us sign our names to: “This is my cross to bear. I will give of myself until I can no longer.”
Rock and a Hard Place
Maybe you have felt stuck. Be still, care for yourself, and you’re not sacrificing enough. But, you’re teaching kids about God. So, you know you need to be growing spiritually. Kind of a rock and a hard place, huh?
Let’s be frank. There’s a culture in church work that isn’t good. This is important work. But, maybe it’s time to let go of the self-sacrifice, run yourself into the ground for the cause mentality.
I give you permission, ’cause Jesus gave you permission, to start thinking about your joy, your needs, your soul. Jesus needed the Garden of Gethsemane. What might you need? Get still and listen to your spirit.
Get Some You Time
Spiritual growth is what happens naturally when we encounter the Divine in a way that changes us. It’s not another task to do the right way, but rather a gift for you to relish whenever you’re ready.
We’re all on the journey together, meandering in and out of meaning and connection with God. What trail will you walk this year that will lead you toward some of both?
To start, get still and have some “you time.” In my next post, I’ll give you a few tools to use along the way.
To all that awaits you and yours in 2019!
And don’t forget. We want to hear what helps you stay connected to God as you walk the journey. Share in the comments below.