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Leaders’ Soul Care in the Midst of Ministry

I was going to write a different post today–a clever, relevant post with a pop culture-reverencing title that'd ensure lots of hits. But, as sometimes happens, God won't let me tear away my attention from what He's doing in me to talk about anything else. And right now, what He's doing is reminding me about my own soul care in the midst of face-past, never-finished ministry demands.

I was going to write a different post today–a clever, relevant post with a pop culture-reverencing title that'd ensure lots of hits. But, as sometimes happens, God won't let me tear away my attention from what He's doing in me to talk about anything else. And right now, what He's doing is reminding me about my own soul care in the midst of face-past, never-finished ministry demands.

We've all heard the sermons, read the Christian books, clicked on the blogs that bemoan the pace of modern American life. They point out that Jesus got away from the crowds and didn't let people's demands dictate his schedule. Maybe they talk about unplugging from email or having date nights or family dinners. Slow down, listen to God's voice, work in His power.

The trouble is many of the people speaking these truths are among the worst offenders. If you're heavily involved in church or ministry, you're probably affected by it. Long hours, 6 or 7 work days a week, early morning and late night events. The motivation is often good: creating an environment or materials or an opportunity for people to hear the Gospel or grow in Christ or get needs met. The consequences, however, are pretty disasterous.

When we overwork, we shift from a God-focus to a self-focus.  At the beginning, God's running the show and we're thrilled that He allows us to participate. After a while, we start appointing ourselves to accomplish the work He's bringing up. Later, we start running the board meetings and let Him sit around the table like an aged executive just in case we need his wisdom. Eventually, we forget to invite him to the meetings.

The burden, the power, the outcome, the glory shift from God's shoulders to our own. What are we producing, what will we do next, how much impact did we make?

Meanwhile, because we're finite beings trying to fill the role of an infinite God, we don't have enough time. We have to work more and more hours, so we start shedding extraneous time-consumers (like vacations, family, homecooked meals, prayer and time in the Word). Our soul dehydrates, and ministry becomes a production for other people to participate in. We're like a hostess who sets out a beautiful banquet for her guests, but never sits down to eat.

God's calling us (me) back to the table. It starts with reconnecting with Him. It requires remembering His position in the universe and our own.  It results in reordering the burden and the power and the outcome and the glory so they rest on God's shoulders, and not our own.

I'm going to spend a little less time in the office today, and a little more time with my God. Maybe you can, too.

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Laura Singleton

Laura Singleton’s passion is the transformation that happens when women get access to God’s Word and God’s Word gets access to women. She was twenty-five when her life was turned upside down by an encounter with Jesus Christ. With an insatiable thirst for scripture and theology, she soon headed to Dallas Theological Seminary to learn more about Jesus, and left with a Th.M. with an emphasis in Media Arts. She, along with two friends from DTS, travel the nation filming the independent documentary Looking for God in America. She loves speaking and teaching and is the author of Insight for Living Ministry’s Meeting God in Familiar Places and hundreds of ads, which pay the bills. Her big strong hubby Paul is a former combat medic, which is handy since Laura’s almost died twice already. She loves photography, travel and her two pugs.