How much battery charge does your phone have? Go ahead. Take a quick peek. I just started the day, so mine’s at 96%. Yours?
Now, what about your spiritual battery? Running a little low? Sometimes, I think it would be so much easier if we had some sort of gauge we could peek at, discreetly of course, to see what kind of spiritual charge or reserve we are working with.
With the recent news that yet another high-profile pastor has exited the work due to fatigue, exhaustion and burnout, we are reminded how vulnerable those in ministry leadership are to wearing out early.
But, I think I should be honest here--vulnerable? susceptible? Perhaps, but I’m not sure those are the right words. Perhaps it’s more about how we ministry leaders seem to be notoriously bad at self-care or soul-recharging. We give, give, give without applying the disciplines of the spirit in order to replenish, and, yes, eventually we find ourselves trying to serve out of an empty bucket rather than from the overflow of our personal walk with the Lord.
If I’m not careful, I’ll even replace my personal spiritual disciplines with good and godly and heavenly-minded things. Ministry things. Serving things. Yet, such things are no replacement. In fact, often they are the very things that drain my battery.
Can I be honest? I don’t believe that is necessarily the ministry’s fault. Nor, necessarily the church’s responsibility. It’s mine!
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve been in some withering ministry situations. Sometimes, no often, certain expectations placed upon us by church members are absolutely ridiculous and unfair. I know. I’ve been there. I wonder if I hold the record with this under my belt--a 5-hour deacons’ meeting in which I was the sole topic. Five hours!
So, if I’m honest, I have to say ministry can be exhausting. But, I also feel obligated to say, bottom line, the current level of my spiritual battery is ultimately my responsibility.
I guess I wonder why we tend to wait until our batteries are almost completely depleted before we reconnect with our Source via personal spiritual disciplines and soul care. That’s fine to do with our phones, but I think it’s just crazy, even unnecessarily risky, to get into such a habit with our souls.
The question is, are we paying attention to the reserve level of our spiritual batteries? Don’t we have warnings that pop up on the screen of our lives reminding us we have a “low battery”?
If I’m paying attention, I can tell when I’m running a bit low. Here’s a short list of my warning signs: making mountains out of molehills, losing my sense of humor, taking things too personally, lingering worry , dreams (literal and figurative) go missing and details overwhelm. What are your low-battery indicators?
So, how much spiritual charge do you currently have? Go ahead, take a peek!
And, just in case, you’re one of those who thinks it could never happen to you, I’ll offer a little verse for you to consider.
“So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting (resting) thus by the well.”
(John 4:6, NASB)