Recently, I started running. I am a beginner at this sport, but I am loving it (in a crazy sort of way). I have the support of a great organization, and the coaches provide me and the other beginning runners with great advice and encouragement. We can do this! But even as we train, they remind us that some days will be better than others. Many factors prevent us from making the progress we want, everything from hot, humid weather to leg cramps. We know this can happen to us, and it happens to the most experienced runners, too.
The same kind of thing happens to people serving in leadership roles. Some days are challenging, filled with many obstacles. Experienced leaders know that some days, nothing seems to run smoothly. We’ve been misunderstood. We realize we weren’t listening as well as we should have been to someone on the staff (and she could tell). The “to do” list grows longer, instead of shorter. We have a disagreement with an office volunteer. Instead of long term planning, we spend the day dealing with one crisis after another.
After a challenging race, well-trained runners do not quit. They go out to run again, but not until they have taken care of their sore, tight muscles and not until they hydrate themselves.
After a challenging day, experienced leaders do not quit, either. We know we need to get back into the fray. But before we do, we know the importance of taking time to re-group. Maybe we need to pull a few resources from our “Take Care Kit.” (If you don’t have one, create one for yourself! It can be an actual kit or simply a list of things that usually help on days you feel worn out.)
Here are a few ideas for things you might include in such a kit:
- A list of your favorite Bible verses. Read them slowly and thoughtfully, allowing God’s love to nurture you.
- A journal in which you can write down your prayers. Talk to your Father in heaven about your day. He understands. Ask for the forgiveness you need. He will grant it. Reflect on what happened to make the day/event so crazy. Think about how you can be better prepared in the future.
- Cards from people who have affirmed you in your ministry. Sometimes when we are struggling, we need to read these notes of affirmation to be reminded that our Savior has indeed empowered us to serve.
- A play list of your favorite songs. Music is definitely a tool the Holy Spirit uses to buoy our spirits and refocus our thoughts.
- A reminder to go for a run or a brisk walk. This often helps give us a fresh perspective.
- The phone number of your trusted friend or mentor. Sometimes we just need to talk things through. Review the experience with someone you trust.
- A note that reminds you that you are loved and forgiven and that encourages you to seek the forgiveness of others when you need it.
These things help me. What will help you? Since we are all unique, you will probably add other essentials to your “Take Care Kit.”
Challenges will come as you lead, especially as you lead in church. On days when you feel overwhelmed, pull out your kit. Refuel and refill yourself so you can continue to serve with joy.
Editor’s note: Looking for ways to encourage those who serve and lead in your church? Looking for devotional materials for yourself? Check out the resources CTA makes available–written by those who serve and lead in the church for those who serve and lead in the church!