I cannot understand people who run for fun.
It’s not that I haven’t tried. I mean, it would be great to own a couple of pairs of cute running shoes. I’d love to be able to throw around phrases like, “The other day on my run…”. I’d really like the health benefits of being a regular runner, too. But so far that runner’s high everyone talks about has completely eluded me.
Nevertheless, I was reading a book recently called Bearing Fruit: Ministry With Real Results. Toward the end of this book about church effectiveness, there was an entire chapter devoted to the effectiveness of a church’s leaders. Using the metaphor of running, the authors discussed six different strategies for clergy health and effectiveness. Over the next few days, it’s my aim to write about each of them. If I can’t drag myself out to run around the block, at least I can talk about it on my blog.
Here we go:
Strategy #1: Take Time to Stretch
Pastors are lectured long and hard about the necessity of spiritual practice. After all, if the pastor isn’t practicing spiritual disciplines, how can regular folks be expected to practice them? But the authors of this book maintain that there’s more to being sane, present, and effective than meditating several hours a day. Instead, there’s something to be said for good health habits like…sleeping enough, eating well, even…yes…exercising.
It seems that pastors are about the worst group out there when it comes to personal health and well-being. We neglect the very basics of caring for ourselves and choose instead to work long hours, neglect healthy eating habits, and put our families behind all the other responsibilities that beg for our attention. It’s fun to be needed…there’s some element of that need, surely, in anyone who pursues a helping profession. But when needing to be needed begins to cause the neediness in ourselves to reach a fever pitch, it’s time to step back and take a look at what we’re doing.
Take time to stretch is the first piece of advice. Do the basic things that insure life and health and peace. We pastors are not so special that we don’t need the regular care and tending that everybody else needs too. And, news flash, the world will not end if we don’t kill ourselves trying to save it.
Note to self: take time to stretch today…do something good for yourself.