We live in a time where we somehow balance demanding careers, philanthropic undertakings, Pinterest-perfect meals, and Gaines style D-I-Y home renovations, on top of packed school and sports schedules and a happy, healthy marriage. Did I mention managing people in our career, leading church programs and small groups, or being the project manager to those home renovations? Adding leadership responsibilities of any kind into an already packed life is a job only a healthy heart can sustain. Because the truth is, while we may live in a time that expects such balancing acts, we are really juggling. Juggling each of our commitments and falling into a trap of believing that our homes, that our families, are the same weight as every other ball we’re tossing into the air hoping to catch well. Families often are the first to fall and the last that should.
Launching a start-up nonprofit, managing medical assistants and physician’s offices, leading Sunday small group, while juggling my responsibilities as a wife and keeper of our home, I quickly found myself dropping the most important ball, my home. Clear communication turned into yelling from separate rooms as one of us was walking out the door still screwing the coffee lid securely onto our travel mug. Quality time turned into sitting on the couch together in silence while working until we fell asleep. A clean home turned into a stressful, tension-filled, messy disaster, and slow mornings with the Lord had become a seemingly ridiculous idea to try and re-implement.
Recognizing the Need for Rest
My leadership style began to look more authoritative as I implemented plans to save time, robbing my staff of the kind of development they desired to grow in their own career as eye-contact had turned into darting back and forth between the person in front of me and the email or text that seemed to always need immediate attention. Small group slowly began to become uninspiring, dry, and desperately missing the presence of the Lord. Dropping the ball of my most important commitment, my home, had begun to reveal itself in my leadership everywhere else. I needed rest. A Reset. Patience to Examine and time to Seek. A path to Triumph as a healthy leader,
Hit the pause button. Call a time-out. Get to a place of quiet alone and pause as you begin to reset your mind. Reset your priorities. Reset your boundaries. Reset your needs. Reset your goals.
Getting to a place of quiet all alone can be extremely difficult, especially with littles at home. But it is possible. For me, I often wake before the rest of the house in stressful seasons when I need to reset. It’s difficult and I am tired but as leaders, our health has impact on others’ lives so it is a responsibility to fight for the health of our leadership. I come to the Lord in the quiet, dimly lit kitchen of my home seeking to be reminded of His call to my life. Reflecting over the goals He’s set before me. I think of Philippians 4:13, where Paul says Christ gives us strength to endure all He has called us to. Has Christ called me to all these responsibilities or am I forcing some of these to serve man over God? In what areas am I completely drained of ability to truly pursue well, are those really mine?
Be patient with yourself here. Do not rush the process, look at it as an investment in your family with an invaluable return on that investment. I challenge you to write out every single current commitment, big and small. Every project or mission you are responsible for or are a participant of. Look at how much physical and mental time each thing you’ve listed requires and don’t forget to include preparation time. Map your day out into a 24hr time schedule. See if margins exist, see if time to rest exists, see if time with family exists. Ask your spouse or family what areas they see you having the most struggle and pay special attention to what they’re seeing. Often what others are able to see reveal a blind spot we cannot see ourselves. I think God does that intentionally, to show us the importance of relationship. Examination takes time and an honest heart. We owe it to our families and ourselves to examine our commitments with patience and honesty.
Writing out all my commitments and tasks associated help me to see just how many responsibilities I juggle. I bring those to the Lord through prayer asking Him to help me see how His call over my life compares to all the responsibilities I carry. What is my lane? How am I driving in that lane, and have I merged two lanes that He never asked me to merge?
Take what you have found in your examine time and seek the Lord. Submit it all to Him. Seek His guidance through His Word and prayer. Father, what needs to stay and what needs to go? Reveal to me my priorities in this season. Reveal to me how I can best lead in the ways you’ve called me to while first serving my family best. Remember, sometimes even good players need to sit on the bench and take a break, so do commitments. He may ask you to lay something down or He may reveal a better way to use the time in your day. Keep your heart and mind open to receive what He has for you.
In 2018, after pouring so much of my life and resources into founding a non-profit, the Lord made it clear that I was supposed to let it go. A lot of pride came over me and I refused to let it go. I could not imagine a new Executive Director or a new Board pursuing with passion the vision given to me for a need deeply personal to my heart. A year of drowning in poor decisions and mistakes, I released God’s non-profit to the next leader and immediately experienced relief. I had held on for too long a great thing, but it was no longer where He had needed me to be.
You have reset your mind, evaluated your commitments and responsibilities, and sought the Lord. Now it is time to stand back up on solid ground and triumph over the attack of distraction from your family. Triumph over the attack which was meant to lead to disaster. Our enemy despises the family, often using success, opportunity, busyness to derail our focus on our family. When we submit to the Lord regularly everything we have going on in our lives, He will filter each part through the will He has placed on our lives.
A revived healthy leader walking in triumph looks like a fully surrendered heart before the Lord. Meaning, we know we are in a healthy place as leaders when we can comfortably pause before responding. While our responsibilities may be heavy in nature, healthy leaders walking in triumph are regularly tending to their souls through refreshing hobbies or adventure without utilizing the margin they’ve scheduled into their days. Margin use is emergency reserves, not scheduled time. Healthy leaders, walking in triumph, eagerly look for feedback on how they are being experienced by other leaders, it is a window into their level of health. We should be diligent in finding ways to regularly assess the state of our leadership.
Remember your focus is your family, if your home suffers your leadership will too. Ask your family how they, too, are experiencing you at home.
REST, great leader, you have been called to do mighty works through the hands of God.