There’s a simple life principle: You can’t give what you don’t have. It applies to finances. It applies to time. It applies to experience. And it applies to leadership.
Authentic, servant leaders realize that in order to pour into the lives of others they must first be full. Too often we allow the passion and excitement for God’s call to pull us along. It drives us to put in long hours and sacrifice healthy self-care. We justify our behavior by telling ourselves it’s only for a short time, and that after this (task, event, challenge, etc.) is taken care of we will get back to a sane schedule. Unfortunately our zeal and great intentions will only carry us so far. Without taking time to fill our own cup, we will find ourselves parched, weary, and discouraged.
We may be able to function in performance mode for awhile, but eventually leading on empty will catch up with us.
This is a reminder to take time to fill your cup. Do not continue to work without rest.
There are many ways to fill your cup. Each person is different in what they consider to be life-giving. Some people are replenished by being out in nature and listening for God’s voice; others are refreshed by reading an inspirational book. Regardless of what is meaningful to you, there are some common things we all can do.
Unplug from distractions. Turn off your phone. Take a break from social media. Refrain from using any kind of screens. We weren’t meant to be accessible to others 24/7 or to have our brains electronically engaged non-stop. It’s good to give your mind and spirit some breathing room.
Connect with Jesus. Our Lord has issued an invitation to come and abide with Him. Our call to relationship with Him is higher than any call to leadership, no matter how important our role may be. We can only accomplish His will by spending time in His presence and following His lead.
Spend time with friends. It is important to be with others that love and encourage you, those you do not lead in any capacity. Find people with whom you can be completely yourself and enjoy their company without filling any role.
To thrive as a leader means to lead with a full cup. How full is your cup?
What changes do you need to make to ensure you take time to regularly fill your cup?
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:4-5, ESV).
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, NLT).
Heavenly Father, I rely on You. I need Your strength and wisdom to love and lead as I should. Please help me to hunger and thirst after You. Empower me by Your Holy Spirit to do Your will. In Jesus’ name. Amen.