My soul finds rest in God alone (Psalm 62:1, NIV).
A great verse with an incredible truth – sounds simple enough right? Except for that part where we have a role to play in caring for our souls. Often times I have treated that verse more like a fill in the blank. My soul finds rest in …
…finishing all of the tasks on my to do list.
…being given the recognition I deserve on a certain project
…finally getting the house in order
…putting together an excellent teaching series for my student ministry
The problem with trying to fill in the blank is that these things can’t actually bring me the refreshment that God has intended. As I went through my journey in the Arrow Leadership Program it became evident that I was often experiencing soul neglect.
There were too many times when the words that described my life and ministry were: weary, hurried, impatient, coasting, and unsatisfied. The problem with living in this place is that I was missing out on being the leader that God had called me to be. God never intended us to lead out of a place of depletion, and yet, so often we do.
I think of the recent eighteen-hour road trip my husband and I took to Nova Scotia. My husband and I usually choose to drive straight through the night. We have a good system; while one person drives, the other person sleeps. There have been times, in remote parts of the country, at 3 a.m. when the gas light will come on and I’ll wonder, “how long can I go before filling up?” Exits are few and far between, and you want to stop at a place that also has coffee! I usually stress out long before I actually need to, and start having visions of being stranded at the side of the road with no one in sight, completely out of gas. (Thankfully, this has never happened…yet!)
Sometimes we take the same approach with the care of our souls. We can get into a cycle where we fuel up, see how far we can go without stopping, stress about it and suffer, and then turn to God to refuel again.
God has such a different plan for us! God’s refreshing for our souls can be continual and it can transcend circumstance. When we seek Him first, and when we practice staying in His presence (and I mean more than just time for your morning devotions), our souls can be healthy regardless of leadership challenges or personal struggles. Words that describe our life and ministry become: gratitude, trusting, fruitful, rhythm, and humility.
Today, may you stop and remember God’s constant and transforming work in your life and leadership. May you rest in that truth. And may you reflect on the words of David in Psalm 63:
Oh God you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water… My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. (v.1 &5)