Just Do It!
I opened a fortune cookie after dinner at a Chinese restaurant one night. It read, “The things you love most will nourish you.” That’s the best fortune I have ever received, and the truest.
Church leadership can seem like an endurance race. You have to keep going. Your eyes are focused on survival. It’s hard to believe there’s time for the things you love. But if you can find the time for what you love, both in your work and outside of it, you will be able to find the resources to handle your challenges.
What about your work do you love, and can you do more of it? When I was a pastor, I always loved preaching, both preparing for sermons and giving them, engaging with the congregation week after week. I couldn’t add Sundays to the calendar, even if I wanted to! Yet I found I could experiment, try new things, have more fun with sermons, throw away the manuscript, use more humor and more storytelling.
Why did you take the job in the first place? If it’s the people, spend more time with your favorite and most positive church members. If it’s the details of worship planning, carve out a few extra minutes to allow more time for creativity this week.
What do you love to do outside of work, and can you do more of it? I’ve learned that even ten minutes of practicing for my voice lesson can quickly improve my outlook. Five minutes, or fifteen, of watching sports or playing with children or running or drawing doesn’t seem like much. But the payoff in leadership and in life will far exceed the minutes invested.
How can you find what you love even when it’s not going well? The endurance challenges themselves may provide something you love. My favorite story about this is Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton. In 1915 his ship sank thousands of miles from home. In trying to get his crew home, he was faced with an 800-mile journey in a 22-foot boat, across the South Atlantic, in winter. On the one hand, he had an impossible task before him. On the other hand, he had always hoped to undertake a great open-boat journey. This was his chance! The crisis was the opportunity to do something he wanted.
Here are a few things I love:
- learning about leaders like Ernest Shackleton
- an audience
- listening to people, on and off the job
- cooking new recipes
- making and listening to music
- walking in cities
What’s on your list? What would it take to include one of those things in your day, today, for at least five minutes?
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