Each year, many of us set new goals to spend time in contemplative prayer, and seek to move both our lives, and missions forward. As I have established FAITH Goals for the New Year, there are 5 items that must be in every spiritual leader’s schedule to remain healthy and whole!
Not one of these items will ever gain recognition or accolades. They are the private decisions that breed public success. Examine your weekly schedule according to these criteria.
- Personal Meals with Family: Nothing prioritizes family like time at the table eating. Now I must confess, the older the children have become, the more challenging it has become. However, your family is worth it.
- Intimate time with Spouse: This doesn’t happen naturally or by accident. It doesn’t happen in front of a TV binge watching on Netflix. We have been formed with the capacity to be Emotionally, Spiritually, and Physically intimate. In marriage, all three are provided. For those who are SINGLE, I would encourage you to focus on the Emotional and Spiritual intimacy. While physically intimacy at a sexual level isn’t possible, there are healthy options (i.e., manicure, massage, etc…).
- Create Space to Listen to the Lord: Many have written in depth about prayer, bible study, and other spiritual disciplines. Suffice to say here, there is no substitute to time. However, let me caution you according to my own mistakes. Time must not only be spent listening to the voice of God’s Spirit about your career or ministry, take time to listen to what God is say to your spirit concerning your own soul, relationships, and family. This time must be created!
- Intentionally & Personally Investment: Every spiritual leader, no matter the level or size of our ministry must intentionally and personally invest. Our calling demands that we invest in 1-Leaders that God has already entrusted to us; 2-Followers that God has called us to lead; and 3-Unbelievers who we are called to reach. We are still to do the work of an evangelist.
- Investment in Self: As my friend John Palmer says, “Self-Care is not Selfish!” May this be a year that you value your own life, as much as God does. He redeems you Body-Mind-Spirit. May you invest in your body through movement/exercise, in your mind through emotional health and intellectual engagement, and in your spirit through God’s TRUTH.
Each week, as you prioritize your schedule, be sure to schedule your priorities.
We all know that our Summer schedules are a bit crazy and not our normal life-style of living. From trips to the beach, family visits, yard projects, and everything else that we try to to squeeze into these few Summer months, often times our Spiritual Life takes a back seat. However, this does not have to be you.
So with all the chaos, family commitments, and schedules to manage, what are some practical ways to stay spiritually strong during the Summer months, and not nudge God out of our Summer plans.
- INVEST RELATIONALLY: Relational investements are more than just hanging out, the are purpose times with key relationships that will strength either your spiritual walk, or someone else’s spiritual walk. For instance, invite a group of people over at least 1x per month over the Summer, and look for ways to encourage them, or even pray with them if the opportunities present.
- ONLINE CHURCH: While it is optimal if you are with your spiritual family as much as possible during the Summer months, but the times when you can’t, many churches now have their services streaming online (we use Facebook live), or you can binge-watch a sermon series your pastor is preaching. You can check ours out HERE.
- CONNECT AS A FAMILY: As our older 2 are peaking the teenage years, this has been more challenging. However, be sure to make memories both with your kids (i.e., mini-golf, frisbee, croquet in the backyard, water-baloons, etc…). Also, if you are married, don’t be afraid to make some memories with just your spouse. After all, someday those cute kids will leave you, and you’ll be stuck with each other. Make sure you invest in my marriage as well.
- KEEP GIVING: If you are a part of a church, be sure you continue to remain faithful to your giving at the church. You can often times do so with online-giving options, or even set-up recurring gifts to your church. Remember, they don’t shut down during the Summer.
- SLOW DOWN: Hopefully your schedule is more flexible where you can simply slow down. Spend some time reading or listening to your Bible, praying, and of course… DRINKING COFFEE (or lemonade). Be sure you are refreshed as the Fall season will be upon us quickly. Don’t miss your opportunity to read a book, sit on your porch during your devotions, or listen to some worship music before the kids get up. You’ll start wondering why you don’t do it more often.
My prayer for you this Summer is that you will find yourself more spiritually strong and refreshed as the Summer comes to an end. Enjoy your Summer by giving to what matters most!
Leading with GRACE is as much about leading one’s self as it is about influencing others. In order to lead with GRACE, one must be filled with GRACE. Influence and making a difference is impossible when you walk around with a chip on your shoulder. In order to make a difference in the lives of those around us, we must Lead with Grace.
As the 12 hand-picked leaders of Israel’s tribes spied on the Promised Land and its inhabitants, only 2 returned with a good report. Joshua and Caleb did see all that the other spies saw, but the grace they had seen IN the Lord and received FROM the Lord fed their faith. This faith caused them to Lead with GRACE. Read this account in Numbers 14:36-38,
So the men Moses had sent to explore the land, who returned and made the whole community grumble against him by spreading a bad report about it— these men who were responsible for spreading the bad report about the land were struck down and died of a plague before the Lord. Of the men who went to explore the land, only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh survived.
For most, the beginning of our leadership journey finds us uncomfortable in our own skin. When we discover the insecurity in self, we attempt to be like others. Like the great Giant Slayer David, who tried on King Saul’s armor to fight Goliath, in time we discover that trying to dress in someone else’s armor doesn’t work either.
Leading with GRACE begins with being comfortable in your own skin. If you can’t accept and have grace for yourself, you’ll never have grace toward others. Leading with GRACE requires we know who we are, which allows you to inspire others. To touch the lives of those around us (family, friends, and co-workers), requires grace.