“The true quality and nature of our leadership will ultimately be determined by the condition of our inner life, which, in turn, is the product of the degree to which we do or do not engage in effective personal soul care.”
— Samuel D. Rima
UNDER the heading Leadership Failures are Spiritual Failures, I found the above quote. It’s striking in its simplicity. Everything boils down to our most personal degrees of maintenance — our own delicately private soul care.
As I type these actual words, on my day off, which, as a pastor, is my Sabbath, I wrestle with the desire to work on my studies. Like many, I straddle time; I’m a full-time pastor, which I hope never to take for granted, being privileged to be set aside for the ministry — for the protection, nurturance, encouragement and growth of souls — with the need to qualify for ordination, which hasn’t occurred yet. So my time off, like for many students, is a careful juggle between some rest and some study.
And yet I find myself being persuaded by God — “do your wrestling with me first…” “Okay, Lord,” is my reply. It’s what I want to do anyway. But, in fighting off the anxious drive within to get on top of the tasks bearing down, not to mention the tasks of family (which are a joy, but are nonetheless pressing on time), I have to remind myself, “I’m not procrastinating here. I’m doing God’s will to spend some time in reflection, and in learning.”
So I picked up a book called, Leading from the Inside Out — the Art of Self-Leadership. It’s right up my alley. I open to page 130, and someone’s gone before me and underlined the text; the quote above. I read it, and God says, “That, write on that.”
So I do. Here it is.
Having suffered partial burnout in 2005, and having had, as a result, my mind altered in the way it functions, I know intuitively the value — no, the necessity it is — for me to engage in this thing; in the devotional life. I thank God that I cannot live without God, just as I thank God I cannot live without engaging in a veraciously voracious soul care that has woven itself into my very moments — all of them, potentially.
So, for me, nurturing the leader within me starts at a basic survival level.
But the actual matter of the subject area needs nuancing.
We are all leaders. Whether it be in the business world, in our communities of faith, in our families, in our sporting endeavours, or in some other arena, we’re all leaders.
Parents are leaders. Those who are married are leaders. Those who drive cars are leaders. And those who interact with other human beings are leaders. We all influence other people, and our role is our responsibility — to be a positive and loving influence.
We cannot be that sort of positive influence unless we’ve allowed ourselves the breathing space to be us!
If we’re generous with ourselves, in the time we take to be and enjoy ourselves, we’ll be generous with others. Others need us to be loving in order that our influence would bless them. As is the same for us regarding others and their impact and influence over us.
If we hope to be successful we’ll understand that success starts at a spiritual level.
All of our dealing with others comes back to our dealing with ourselves. Let’s understand that if we’re hard on ourselves, we’ll inevitably be hard on others, and whether that’s loving or not, won’t matter; it won’t be perceived as loving.
If we’re fair on ourselves, within the scope of our lives, we’ll be fair on others, and we’ll all be blessed.
© 2016 Steve Wickham.