Have you ever had one of those weeks (or months) where you got in your car after some church function or a tough meeting and you felt like you could just drive right out of town, leaving it all in your rearview mirror without a second thought?
As ministry leaders we can often think that if we are “in Christ” and “ in shape”, we’ll be “invincible”. But something I’ve discovered over the years is that it is not just our physical health and our spiritual health we need to be intentional about. We also need to look at what drains and fills us emotionally.
Running on Empty
I’ve recently been re-reading Mark Buchanan’s book The Rest of God. Mark gives us some indicators I think we can all relate to that are clear signs that we’re emotionally worn out:
One measure for whether we are rested enough–besides falling asleep in meetings–is to ask yourself: How much do I care about the things I care about? When we lose concern for people, both the lost and the found, for the bride of Christ, for friendship, for truth and beauty and goodness; when we cease to laugh when our children laugh (and instead yell at them to quiet down) or weep when our spouses weep (and instead wish they didn’t get so emotional); when we hear news of trouble among our neighbors and our first thought is that we hope it isn’t going to involve us–when we stop caring about the things we care about–that’s a signal we’re too busy. ”
What drains you?
Most of us haven’t given much thought to this so we’re not totally self-aware of what it is that drains us emotionally, and to what degree. A helpful exercise is to literally make a list of the things that drain your emotional tank—the things that make you want to drive out of town or apply to be a Walmart greeter.
What replenishes you?
Then make a second list of things that replenish you. Wayne Cordeiro asks the question this way: “What are you doing…who are you with…where are you….when you feel most alive?”
For me, getting out and riding my bike, rock climbing with my friend Carl, getting near a body of water (the beach, a lake or a river), taking a walk with my wife, or learning something new are all things that replenish me emotionally.
Develop a Replenishment Plan
The reality is that I cannot remove all the things that emotionally deplete me from my life. But, what I can do is build some replenishers into my life.
I find it helpful to think of it in terms of a daily, weekly, monthly and annual strategy.
For instance, when I look at my annual calendar and see a weekend speaking engagement, I have learned that I will return from those few days oftentimes spiritually on top of the world but emotionally pretty drained.
So, I build into my calendar two extra days. The first is a day to replenish and the second is a day for follow up from the event. This turns a three-day retreat into a five-day block in my calendar. But, it’s important.
This of course means I can’t put as many things into my calendar. But, I like the person I am becoming more when I give time to some self-leadership.
In different seasons of our lives we have to adjust the strategy to fit our current stage in life.
Physical health is important. Spiritual disciplines are critical. But don’t neglect your emotional health. Develop a replenishment plan and begin making the needed adjustments.
Rebound is an annual retreat designed youth workers and their spouses specifically for rest and renewal. You can read more details and register here.
Life is throwing a lot at our children, our teens, our young adults, and it’s all too easy to succumb to the temptations, the pressures, the bad examples. But when adults model a contagious passion for Jesus, young people are often motivated to stand up to cultural pressure and walk with Jesus too. Come explore this reality in this issue of EFCA Today.
The Barna Group has done a helpful study on what Americans think about the Bible. Below is an infographic that summarizes the results. It is interesting to see that Mosaics (18-28) are more likely to see the Bible as an important source of “wisdom” in many life areas.
This is especially noteworthy for those ministering to collegians and teens. I often call the ages 12-22 the “Ten Year Critical Window” as so many life-shaping decisions are made during this brief point of person’s life while at the same time are walking through major developmental changes. Read the rest of this entry
Reality #1: Social Media is here to stay.
Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat…and the list of social media continues to grow. It is not a fad. It is not going away.
Reality #2: Social Media is powerful.
As a medium, social media has a the power to mobilize many. Sure, it also has the power to distract. But it has the power spread a message –whether good or evil—fast and broad. Read the rest of this entry
One of the questions our team loves to ask is: What does 1st century disciplemaking looking like in a 21st century context? One of the realities of our 21st century digital context is the unreal availability and access children and teens have to pornography.
Our friends at CYPU have developed FREE and thorough primer for parents in regards to internet pornography which you can download from Digital Kids Initiative Website.
This seven page document covers the following:
- What is Pornography?
- Facts and Data?
- What drives addiction?
- What are the affects on children and teens?
- What are the affects on adults?
- What are the signs of addiction?
- What are pornography lies?
- What are steps to freedom?
- What to do when your child has accessed pornography?
- Recommended Resources
It’s a great resource to get into the hands of your parents of both your children and youth ministries.
You are probably aware of the new teen body obsession called “thigh gap”. It’s just one more thing in the endless body image struggle. This ABC News video will give you a quick glimpse about what “thigh gap” is all about from mouths of teen girls.
Who knows if it will become the “next big body image thing”, but what we do know is that body image is one of the topics that youth workers and parents need to be talking about. Read the rest of this entry