A member of our church lent me a book recently. Then, at a Ministers’ meeting, a fellow Baptist Minister shared that he had read this book and found it very helpful. I have often found that when ‘coincidences’ like that happen God is trying to get my attention. So I listened. I continued reading the book.
The book is Wayne Cordeiro’s Leading on Empty. It is an honest and practical book about Christian leadership and the possibility (or likelihood) of burnout. It is written from the author’s own experience of depression and how God brought him through it. He offers some very sensible and helpful advice about what we need to do to take care of ourselves as Christian leaders.
While I was reading the book I was trying to see what resonated with my own experience and personality. I noticed a tendency towards not saying ‘no’. I noticed a sense of frustration when things are not as good as they could be (see yesterday for an example!). I noticed a tendency towards not delegating well.
A couple of weeks ago, while still in the middle of the book, I went to a scheduled hospital appointment to see how my brain implant (see here for an example) is doing. As part of this I have to fill in a series of questionnaires about the impact on my life of the headaches from which I suffer. One of those is assessing the tendency towards depressive illness. Because of reading the book I took more note of my answers than I usually do. I scored 3 out of about 30 (which is good). But I noticed for the first time that the three places where I scored 1 were clues about my own well-being and perhaps were warning signals about areas of my life that I need to take care of.
So I am trying to take care. I am seeking time and space in my diary to relax and be refreshed. (One of the ways I am doing this is by taking up golf – a long, zigzaging walk, some gardening in the undergrowth and 18 moments of relief when the ball finally disappears into the little hole.) I am trying to make sure that I am not out every night of the week. I am aiming to sleep better. And I am going to continue my blogging, which is a way in which I am able to reflect on who I am and my relationship with God.
You may have noticed that God has been rather quiet in the text above. That’s because he has been whispering to me through it all.
What’s he been whispering?
“You’re worth it.”
Be blessed, be a blessing
In my attempts to become a golfist I have been visiting the local driving range once a week. Last time I went I set up in my little stall and got a basket of balls. I was enjoying myself hitting them with different clubs that I have been lent. (No, not clubbing them in the basket, hitting them one at a time off the tee!)
I decided to try and hit some with the driver. I put the ball on the tee. Relax, check grip, check stance, head in the right position, head still, swing back and swing through the ball…
I managed to hit underneath the ball and it shot upwards. I was under a shelter with a metal roof and the ball pinged loudly off the roof and started ricocheting around inside like it was a pinball machine. People were diving for cover all over the place.
I sheepishly apologised and went to retrieve my ball with a very red face while trying to suppress the laughter.
Thankfully the two people behind me started laughing and were helpless with laughter for a few minutes.
That made me feel better. Honestly. At least my failure had blessed someone – they weren’t as bad as me!