Every once in a while, I’ll put this post on Twitter: “The best thing a pastor can do on a Monday Morning is #workout. #mondaymotivation”
Pastor, let’s face it, Mondays are the toughest day of the week. It’s a day of reflection. It’s a day of recovery. It’s a day of restoration.
Now that Covid-19 is in our midst, I use Mondays to prepare for a Wednesday recording of my weekly message, as one of our online worship services each weekend is totally pre-recorded, providing us a fail safe online experience at least one of our broadcast hours.
One particular Monday, I just wasn’t feeling it. I endured a difficult week the week prior. I got to our Sunday schedule and delivered two messages for those willing to come to campus during Covid. Though we have been back to campus for four and a half months, it is discouraging to see only 30% of the flock showing up on any given Sunday.
This particular Monday was hard. I didn’t feel like worshipping. I didn’t feel like seeking the Lord. I didn’t feel like studying for my message that I would have to record on Wednesday, and I certainly didn’t feel like working out.
But over the past few years, I have gotten committed to my self-care. I am ashamed to admit how late to the game I am in this, but one day I came to the realization that if I didn’t tend to my self — body, mind and spirit — I wouldn’t make it to the finish line the Lord has for me.
As we have each navigated this pandemic, I have learned a few things about leaders. The first thing I have learned is that whatever is lying under the surface gets exposed through on open-ended emergency. This is true of individuals, of marriages and of organizations. I have also learned that leaders who lack health, struggle to find it when things aren’t “normal.” You see, you can’t wait to get healthy! The third thing I have learned is that leaders who are healthy, double down their efforts to maintain their health during unprecedented times. “Sustainable leaders,” as Dr. Jeff Frey proclaims, “pursue self-care for the sake of self-sacrifice.” This thought seems obvious to us, but it isn’t how we are trained, how we learn to minister or what we spend the first 15-20 years of our ministry doing.
Dr. Frey’s PhD is in the study of not-for profit leaders and his work’s focus in on the diminishing returns organization face when their leaders aren’t healthy. Jeff’s work measures 10 different areas (see www.wellevations.com) of a leader’s life and the kicker of his study is that when we take action in one area where we want to become healthy, so often, other parts of our life that also need renovation, take the same course of correction. You can watch Jeff’s TedX talk at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuVHmRZbFLY).
As Dr. John Maxwell says, “Action is the great separator.” So, on this particular gloomy Monday morning, knowing that if I didn’t prioritize my movement, I would regret it, I chose to trade the “Monday Morning Blues” for the “Monday Morning Moves.” And guess what? I still believe that the best thing a pastor can do on a Monday morning is get a good workout in because taking this action will help separate you from the “Monday Morning Blues.”
Pastor, prioritize your health. Get up and move. Practice self-stewardship for the sake of self-sacrifice. I promise you, it will change your life.