( Part 2 of 3 Obstacles That Hold Leaders Back – and How to Overcome. Read Part 1 by clicking here)
Winter is often a tough time for many pastors and Christian leaders. Beyond the very real everyday challenges, the midpoint in the ministry calendar can be a grind. Then you add in long, dark winters which can stir up symptoms of SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and, of course, the ongoing saga of all things impacted by COVID. The bottom line is that it’s totally understandable why many leaders feel weary these days.
Weariness can be a very real internal obstacle holding a leader back.Weariness can be a very real internal obstacle holding a leader back. Click To Tweet
So let me share 14 ways to overcome the internal obstacle of feeling weary.
1. As runners in the race marked out for us, we are to “fix our eyes on Jesus” and “Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:3).
To combat weariness, we first need to fix our eyes back on Jesus. When we internalize Jesus’ example, it helps revive our energy, His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9) and Jesus is able to give us strength for today.To combat weariness, we first need to fix our eyes back on Jesus. When we internalize Jesus’ example, it helps revive our energy. Click To Tweet
2. Are you stalling on a decision? If so, do what it takes to make the decision. Sitting too long on a decision takes an emotional and physical toll.
3. Enjoy Sabbath weekly. Keep focused on three elements: worship, rest and delight. What would bring life to you in each element?
4. Get moving. Multiple studies show that exercise can significantly help in non-severe depression. Click here to view a study.
5. Eat well and keep hydrated with lots of water. Avoid the cycle of escape through emotional eating.
6. Establish a regular rhythm to connect with a special friend, e.g., every second and fourth Friday at 2 pm.
7. Engage a hobby. General Colin Powell tinkered with old Volvos to clear his head and refresh his spirit in the midst of high-pressure leadership. What’s your version of Powell’s Volvo?
8. Plan an extra hour of sleep each night for a week and/or take a 25-minute afternoon nap in the early afternoon as often as possible.
9. Establish screen-free/news-free boundaries each day.
10. Start the daily habit of thankfulness. Identify and write down at least three things you are thankful for from each day.
11. Get something fun on your calendar four weeks ahead of time, like a night out, a long weekend, a special dinner in, a games night, etc. Keep repeating this four-week cycle.
12. If you are preaching, get someone to pinch hit for a weekend (or two), OR swap churches with another pastor for a weekend. Swapping can save prep time by recycling a sermon. Swapping also provides a fresh environment and models churches working together.
13. Add an extra day off to your weekend for a week or few weeks in a row. One day off per week often includes lots of errands, which are not particularly refreshing. Two or more days off lead to deeper rest.
14. A different workspace setup can give you fresh energy. Move your office furniture around or even switch offices with a colleague.
Which ideas might be worth a try this week?
Cheering you on!
Dr. Steve A. Brown
President, Arrow Leadership
P.S. If you have been deeply depleted over an extended period of time, the ideas listed may help. However, it’s unlikely they will fully restore you. Consider seeking medical advice and developing a plan for deep rest over a longer time frame.