With today being the first official day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, I find it all too easy to already look past summer into the fall, when small groups will be back into full swing. After all I encouraged most of my leaders to take a break to replenish and care for themselves, so now is the perfect time to get ahead for the fall. In the midst of this reasoning, I fall prey to the temptation to not care for myself.
We are all so cognizant of all that we need to do for others that it becomes all too easy to forget to care for ourselves as leaders. Here are some suggestions on how you and I might replenish and feed our souls this summer:
1) Take a personal day or two to do something you love. For me, living in the mountains that would involve going for a hike with friends and family. Or maybe you have a favorite restaurant you rarely get to go to. Or explore a new part of town. Is there a used bookstore you have been dying to spend a few hours in just exploring? The key is to do something for yourself. I give you permission to be selfish here.
2) Have a lazy morning with your family. You can either go out to breakfast together, or if you are like me, make a special breakfast, and then enjoy it outside together.
3) Maybe you have a hobby that has fallen to the wayside in the midst of the chaos of ministry. Why not spend some time this summer doing that again? But here’s the kicker: schedule the time. Be intentional about pursuing your hobby.
4) Read a book unrelated to ministry. When was the last time you read a book just for the sheer enjoyment of a book? Indulge your guilty pleasure in reading.
5) Spend time with your family. Schedule some family fun days on top of any family vacation you might have.
6) Before the fall starts, take a spiritual retreat day. Get away to spend some focused time with God. This is a whole post unto itself, so maybe next month, I will provide some helpful tips for a personal retreat.
I know that I am big on encouraging my leaders to take care of themselves. We all know that we can only lead so far as God has taken us, and part of that involves caring for our own body and soul.
So I ask you, leaders, what are you doing to care for yourself this summer?