Holy Low Energy

When does a leader stop being “on”? Have time to relax and smell the roses? When does one get quiet time to reflect and relax? These are all questions I ask myself from time to time because being responsible is a full time job in and out of the office. The sun rises and sets on the decisions I make! That can be a heavy burden!

I don’t ask myself, “Who do I need to be careful not to make mad” but “What does God want me to do here.” It isn’t always the most popular decisions that I make but the right decisions. Leading in a church environment, I am a true believer of being the same person on the job as I am off the job. If I am tired and just can’t deal with another person or problem, I tend to hibernate. I go into my private world and just be. People know that about me. I call it “stare at the wall time.” I encourage each of my staff to do the same thing. I can see when they are getting tired……unfortunately, I see it in them before I see it in me!

We each need to know the signs that let us know that we are wearing out. And we need to be able to communicate that to those around us. We do not have to be super hero’s all the time. I used to think getting “tired” (and I don’t mean just physically tired, I mean physical, emotional, professionally tired!) was a weakness. If I can’t keep up with those around me, then I am not as good as they are.

I’ve learned, however, that balance is more important than portraying something I’m not. I am more respected when I am honest saying, “I’m taking a couple of ‘missing in actions hours to stare at a wall.'” Everyone around me knows I just need space and that is ok!

Reflection time is important. You can’t see the big picture if you are overcommitted to acknowledge it. So, although I may be staring at a wall, God is usually showing me things I need to know! When I learned to “stare at a wall,” tomorrow was easier! Take the time to smell the roses. You will be a better leader and will not find yourself in the pit of exhaustion. Don’t get me wrong, I am a really high energy person, but, at times, we all need a break! I used to tell my kids they NEEDED a nap time because it made me a much better mother! As a leader, you need time for rest and retreat. It will make you a better leader!

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Christine O'Brien is the Executive Director of Venice Presbyterian Church in Venice, Florida. She has been in church leadership for over half of her business career. She is passionate about leading people to Christ and enjoys doing so by caring for the business of the church and by building strong staff teams. Christine believes a healthy staff team that is spiritually growing and is able to listen to God's call, is one of the most important ingredients in moving a church forward.

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