It is easy in ministry to give so much that you wake up one day and feel you have nothing else to give.
Have you ever felt like your well has run dry or there is nothing left in your cup to pour out? If we say yes to everything, we lose the opportunity to give our best to anything.
I’ve certainly had those days in ministry. It’s one of the reasons I’m a firm believer that one of the best things you can do for others starts with investing in yourself. If you neglect this, you will neglect some of your greatest opportunities for fruitful ministry.
Here are four ways you can invest in yourself:
1. Schedule margin.
Margin in time, energy, and money doesn’t happen unless you schedule it. The greatest things in life grow within the margins. It’s the time we hit the pause button and refill our tank so we have something to pour out again. It’s remembering the Sabbath and keeping it holy.
Margin happens when you realize you aren’t as important as you think you are. Let someone else handle the crisis. Let someone else have the opportunity to meet with the person who wants to see a pastor. Most things aren’t near as important as they seem in that moment.
Take the warning. If you don’t have planned margin in time and energy, you will eventually crash. It’s not a matter of if but when.
2. Keep healthy boundaries.
When are you at your best? Protect that time to do what matters most for your area of influence. Don’t feel the need to immediately respond to every email, text message, or call for help. Schedule a time you will block out for these things that don’t take as much energy.
It’s your life and everyone has a wonderful plan for it. Learn how to say no so that you can say yes to what really matters.
3. Put together a plan that fills your cup.
No one will look after your own development like you can. Create a simple plan for your personal growth. This is your time where you are filling your cup again. What books will you read in the next twelve months? What podcasts will you listen to? What conferences or coaching networks will you attend?
Hall-of-Fame basketball coach John Wooden said, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” Never stop growing and stretching as a leader. Where do you need to learn something in an area that you thought you already knew well? It’s the true heart of a disciple – learning, growing, and being challenged to go further than ever before. What’s your plan? Write it down. Start somewhere and adjust as you go.
4. Realign as necessary.
When a car is out of line it begins to drift. The alignment must be corrected to stay on the very path that will get the car to its destination. What worked for you in one season may not work now. We can drift when we start chasing success over the mission. We can drift when we add more things to our schedule and lose our margin. We drift when we choose good things over the best things.
Alignment is the place where your actions and your calendar actually match what you said was important. It’s the place where your priorities are fleshed out in real life. At least once a month schedule a time to check your alignment. Are you drifting? Is the road you are on going to get you to your destination?
The mission matters too much. Your family is too important. Your calling is too significant. Do what is necessary to fill your cup.