Take in What You Need

I was in Colorado this week for the Leadership in Ministry workshop. At high altitudes (we were at 6,000 feet), the advice is to drink a lot of water. When I forgot, I felt dizzy and began to get a headache. Then I drank a lot of water to make up for it and felt better almost instantly.

If we don’t take in enough, we’ll begin to function less well as a leader. For church leaders, this is more than going to conferences. We need to drink in spiritually on a regular basis, or we’ll get dizzy and lose our balance as a leader. Here are some ways we can receive (they may seem obvious, but are all too easy to forget):

1. Pray, not just for others, but for yourself as a leader.
2. Worship. Find a place that works for you. If you are a pastoral leader, find someplace that is not the place you work. At least monthly, encounter God in some formal way.
3. Meditate. Sit quietly, for five minutes (or even one), if that is all you can do, for 20 or more if you can. Pay attention to your breathing, or use a phrase that appeals to you (like “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want”).
4. Be in nature. Find a tree and lean against it, and recognize the God-given strength that comes out of the earth, which is also available to you as a leader.
5. Find a spiritual mentor. We are often too close to these matters, or we don’t know where to begin. A wise clergy or lay leader, a spiritual director, or whatever is available in your tradition can be a support along the way. You can also find a leadership mentor who seems particularly grounded spiritually (rather than particularly successful).

Spiritual resources can help keep you upright in the sometimes thin air of your leadership role. Try choosing one of the above to do this week.

2 replies on “Take in What You Need

  • IGalindo

    Good thoughts, Margaret. I’d add one more way to “take in what you need”: READ. It seems as common-sense to say that as it is to say, “drink water,” but given that less than 3% of the adult population in the United States actually reads books (REAL books, romance novels don’t count!) it needs to be said. And dare I say it? Clergy as a group are notorious about not reading much of anything once their formal education is over. And, as I tell them in my worst moments, “it shows.”

    As to point 5. Yes! But if you can’t find a mentor, or if you’re in that stage of life where you don’t require one (mentoring is a vocational relationship that has a short lifespan) then find a spiritual friend.

    And yes, drink lots of water. Your brain needs it!

  • Glynis LaBarre

    When I arrived in PHX to pastor there, I was met at the airport by my guide with a gift of a water bottle and the instructions, “Don’t ever go out without water.” It struck me as an apt metaphor, that you captured with your article. I enjoyed reading your blog.


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