Being a leader is exhilarating and exhausting. Challenges make our professional lives exciting. The opportunity to impact the world positively keeps us motivated. Every success strengthens our resolve – and every setback makes us more determined. The time and energy devoted to establishing and growing a business can deplete our spirits.
We may not be burned-out, but we may feel a little “crispy” around the edges. To combat intellectual, emotional, and spiritual tiredness, everyone needs to care for their soul.
When was the last time you took time for yourself?
I have found it necessary to periodically take Spiritual Health Days.
- These are not vacation days (which in energetic people may not be relaxing), but an occasional respite or retreat to renew the spirit.
- These are not days off to run errands or do chores.
- These are not days in which to catch up with family or friends.
These are the days in which to be alone, soak in the sun, look at the clouds, go for a walk, engage in a hobby, and spend time with the One who loves you.
God does not intrude upon our busy lives – God awaits an invitation to come and play. In the freedom of just “hanging out” with God, the spirit finds refreshment and renewal. The rejuvenation allows us to approach our work with new vigor.
Taking time for your spirit is not lazy or selfish.
Caring for the soul is crucial to maintaining balance in life. You do not need to feel guilty for scheduling an occasional Spiritual Health Day – or for spontaneously taking one when you feel tired. Jesus frequently took time out of his busy schedule of preaching, teaching, healing, and disciple-making to go off with his Father – alone (Matthew 14:13, Mark 1:35, Luke 4:42, and Luke 5:16). Jesus also invited his followers to do the same (Mark 6:31).
Spending “alone-time” with God does not necessarily mean sitting quietly in a chair with hands folded and head bowed.
- For those of a quiet or contemplative nature, this may be the most soul-affirming way to be with the Lord.
- For those of a more active nature, taking a walk through the woods – breathing in the goodness of earth, listening to the sweet sounds of birds singing or water rushing, feeling the cool breeze upon the cheek – may be the best way to refuel.
- Still others may find God in the music they play, the art they create, the poem they write, or the food they prepare.
- For many, a day of variety – a prayer, a walk, a project, a reading – provides the “quality” in time with God.
The ways in which to connect with God are as individual as each human. We will not connect with God in the same ways, but we will all experience God’s love for us as we sit back (literally or metaphorically) and relax in the Divine presence.
Once I discovered the importance of taking Spiritual Health Days, I found better balance in my life. I am a better pastor, wife, mother, and friend because of the new life I find in God through Jesus. Give yourself a gift – build in guilt-free, agenda-less days with God into your calendar. It’s what Jesus wants for you!
About Carol Pazdersky
Carol Pazdersky is an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church. She serves the faith communities of St. John’s UMC in Lutherville, MD, and Idlewylde UMC as lead pastor. As the member of the District Committee on Ministry, Carol has mentored other women as they answer their call to ministry. On a daily basis, Carol ministers with women who are seeking to balance their personal, professional, and spiritual lives. She is a wife, mother of three young adults, friend, and animal lover and on the same journey to find balance.