When was the last time you used the expression “time flies”? It flows from my mouth when I am feeling rushed or just can’t get things done in a timely manner.
Over the past weeks I have reflected on the pace of my life and everything points to – it being out of control. My commitment and previous practice to create space to take care of my mind, body, and soul has been disrupted – and there has been a price to pay.
Leaders have different capacity – and it is important to not expect all leaders have your capacity. I have high-capacity – just ask anyone on our team – but I too have limits. Lost productivity, susceptibility to fatigue, discouragement and a soul snapping possibility threaten us if we as leaders get to this place.
Reality settles in as we realize that it is the pace ‘we choose’ to live that is the problem.
That’s right, it’s the pace we choose to live.
As I reviewed my schedule of the past year I can see that I made choices that have displaced my time for reflection, writing and many things that bring me delight. Yes, it has been a busy season. Yes, I lost three months due to a car accident. Could I have done some things differently? Certainly, and that is my responsibility, no matter how crazy the season.
In discussing my reflections with the Arrow board they encouraged me to simply pause, and ‘unplug’ from Arrow for a month. “Get restored and spend time with God” they loving said to me – and backed it up by offering to put on their volunteer hats and serve in a variety of ways throughout the month to assist Arrow in continuing our ministry of developing leaders.
Selah – You have heard and seen the word peppered throughout some of the Psalms. It is often translated ‘pause’ which is fitting. It comes from the Hebrew word which literally means “to hang” and thus “to measure” as in hanging scales. So for the month of April I am taking a selah.
There is no question I have been over-functioning – red lining it as on an RPM gauge. So I will be unplugging from email, ditching the Blackberry and structuring my days around physical rest, relational renewal and spiritual restoration.
While the Arrow board have encouraged and freed me from the work at the office I was also encouraged and ‘freed’ while in New York with my friend Geri Scazerro. Geri shared how she came to a place of ‘quitting’ and has since reordered her life. She has written a book telling the whole story that I recommend.
In her book Geri shares that she came to the conviction she needed to:
- Quit being afraid of what others think
- Quit lying – to yourself and others
- Quit dying to the wrong parts of yourself
- Quit denying anger, sadness and fear
- Quit blaming
- Quit over-functioning
- Quit faulty thinking
- Quit trying to live someone else’s life
These insights from Geri are helpful for every leader – every person. They are worthy just pausing over.
Leaders recognize the responsibility to lead their own lives before trying to lead others. This is why I feel it important to simply pause for this time, devote the days to God and time with him above all else.
Few are able to have a month for ‘pausing’ – I understand this – but actually this may never be necessary for you. We have been created to punctuate life with rest and things that restore us. Observance of a weekly sabbath rest and well planned holidays are two practices that help leaders sustain themselves both physically and spiritually. I’m going to take the time during my selah to lay out my days, weeks and months ahead and ensure my calendar reflects this kind of healthy rhythm going forward.
Well that is my story, but let’s talk about you for a moment. How are you doing?
Let me ask you:
- When was the last time you heard someone brag on how rested they feel?
- When was the last time you celebrated a “normal” workweek?
- What’s it costing you, to let life’s pace drive you?
- Are you doing for others what they can and should do for themselves?