Check Your Pulse through Solitude
OK, it the end of the Holiday Season, end of the calendar year, maybe the end of your fiscal year, and somewhat the end of activities for your family.
Before you get ready to jump into the new year, new goals, new calendars, new challenges and new stress I have a suggestion for you — Check Your Pulse!
I am not going to tell you about what to check when I say check your pulse. You as a leader should know what should be checked. If you do not, there are some good resources to look into the subject.
I want to suggest "how" you check your pulse.
Here is my suggestion — SOLITUDE.
Yes, it may seem impossible, but you must try to find a place of solitude to check your pulse. I am a type A, extrovert, high anxiety guy. And I am a bit surprised to be making this suggestion to you, but it is the path I have been on.
When going through some of my tough times, I started to desire to be away from all people except my family. I loved my clients and worked well with most, but when I left them I felt like I wanted to avoid all people contact. In the airport, hotels, etc. I wanted nothing to do with people. And this was especially true when getting home. I did not want to go to church, social functions, and even special occasions.
Upon retrospect and counseling, I found it is common for leaders to feel this way. We give, give, give. And then we want to move away from people as we feel used up. This is escape or avoidance. It is a desire for isolation.
Isolation is moving away from people for many reasons. Solitude is moving toward God to be restored. Both of them require alone time, but one is hurtful and the other is positive is their results. Both Ruth Hailey Barton and Henry Nouwen write of the need to have solitude in order to be refreshed, hear God, and be restored for ministry.
As a somewhat (OK, VERY) verbal person, I could not imagine I was reading Ruth HB book, "An Invitation to Solitude and Silence". It made a huge impact on me as it helped me move TO solitude with God, rather than running from stress, conflicts, and other things steward leaders face.
So, whatever pulse you need to check, physical health, mental health, spiritual health, goals, stress, relationships, etc. find a time and place to seek SOLITUDE. It may not be easy for you as a leader, but you will not regret it. It is simple, yet very difficult, but it can be done. It might be an afternoon alone. It might be an entire day. It might be a long walk. Seek God during this time of solitude. Pray. Listen. He is faithful and will be there with you as soon as he can get you alone to be still with him.
I pray you are refreshed in your solitude before starting the new year.