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January 2, 2009

The Rested Leader--Part 1

One of my mentors tells me, "You have all the time you need to do the things that God has called you to do." I tend to doubt her. I write books and articles, I travel the country to speak at retreats and events. I describe my job as "full-time freelance ministry." I also devote time to building my relationships with my children, my husband, and friends. I lead and mentor and teach at my church. I often feel that I have anything but all the time I needed.

But unpack that statement for a moment. None of us has all the time we need to do everything everyone else wants us to do, or even all the time we need to do the things we think we want to do. In order to have all the time you need, you must begin by listening to the call of God.

One spiritual practice that has helped me to slow down and listen, to live out this "all the time you need" philosophy, is the practice of Sabbath-keeping. Taking one day a week to rest actually has made me more productive, and given me clarity about my calling.

"We live in a world that celebrates work and activity, ignores renewal and recovery, and fails to recognize that both are necessary for sustained high performance," write Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz in The Power of Full Engagement.

Loehr and Schwartz are performance experts. They help athletes and corporate leaders improve their performance by learning how to be what they term "fully engaged." They write: "At the most practical level, our capacity to be fully engaged depends on our ability to periodically disengage."

Do you "periodically disengage"? In other words, are you ever unavailable to your work or other people, so that you can be available to God?


My husband (a pastor) and I started attending spiritual retreats during the summers about 4 years ago. We highly recommend Broom Tree Ministries. It's 5 days of quiet, no media, no children, just you and God. It is life changing. We strive to put mini-retreats into place throughout the month, but it is so hard with a fast-paced life. It has to be a priority on the calendar or it won't get done. I am super curious about other's Sabbath day practices. There are a few books that people have recommended... but I've yet to pick up. I look forward to part 2!

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