What do you need?
My friend’s words hung mid-air, like a half-deflated helium balloon. They didn’t fall; neither did they rise. Slightly deflated, just impossibly suspended in mid-air, right in front of my face. I could practically reach out and touch the question.
At that time in my life, it seemed everything in my circumstances was hopelessly falling apart. Broken relationships, failed initiatives, financial free-fall, conflict, and a deep mistrust amongst family members and my church team. What I needed couldn’t possibly be more irrelevant, or pointless to consider, in the midst of this storm.
Like many of us in ministry, I had become skilled at anticipating, driving, and at times, even accommodating, what other people, leadership challenges, or organizational priorities required. I had no idea what I needed. Even worse, I was not sure that what I needed really mattered in the grand scheme of things. For me, this important question was simply invalid.
But there it hung, mid-air. Didn’t rise, didn’t fall.
What did I need?
You need to get quiet & connect
Over many years, I have learned to welcome that question, and let it lead me to some areas of my soul that deeply need time and space to connect with God. Not to decide, fix, explain, defend, push hard, pretend, or anything else. Just a time to connect.
I know my experience is not unique. Throughout the history of the Christian faith, those who sought to transcend the circumstances and drivers of their “time” intentionally withdrew from the demands and pressures of day to day life. This would happen in little or in large ways, in order to hone their ability to heed the still small voice that generally will not shout above the noise that surrounds us.
This is essential to the spiritual life. To the Christian life.
We must attend to silence and the inner workings of our soul in order to bring something fresh and live to those around us and to remain independent in our thinking; Yielded fully, and primarily, to God and the life of the Kingdom.
Still, today, I struggle with the question. It’s not my default mode, and I tend to judge— likely too harshly—those who operate easier in the world by letting everyone else know what they need. Or sometimes, what they demand.
But occasionally, by whisper of the Holy Spirit, the helium balloon presents itself gently, quietly, before me. And I remember to welcome the question, What do you need?
What we’ve learned lately
Over the last few weeks on Backstage, a weekly webinar presented by Resilient Church Leadership, we have explored key factors that contribute to the need for resilience among ministry leaders right now. We’ve also looked into specific ways to care for our souls in the midst of our leadership to increase our resilience. We believe this is key to what leaders need.
We’ve covered many topics, including:
- Decision fatigue
- Signs of depression and ways to find help
- The difference between handling an emergency and a crisis
- What happens when your brain encounters a problem it’s never seen before
- How to evaluate about our thinking
Just last week, Dr. Margaret Diddams walked us through the brain science behind how the simple practice of physically writing down our reflections, thoughts, prayers, in a journal actually helps calm the brain. There’s neuroscience to back this up! Furthermore, practicing silence of some kind holds deep restorative power to the whole self; to the soul.
The mind and body are absolutely inseparable. When we take steps to restore ourselves, either mentally or physically, it will have direct benefits on our holistic health. In other words, when our body feels tired, it may just mean that we aren’t getting enough sleep. It could also be that our brain is simply overworked. Taking time to reflect and rest, whether that be through sleeping or journaling, will benefit you physically and mentally. And, it is essential to the Christian life.
A first-ever invite
Today we want to invite you to create some time and space to connect with God, but as part of this community. We are offering a new way of retreating, but together: a virtual retreat, the first offering of its kind from Resilient Church Leadership, an initiative of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center.
For just 3 hours on Thursday morning, October 1, we invite you to create the time and space to join us for a facilitated experience, right where you are, to deepen and strengthen your own connection with God.
We’ll incorporate several modes of being together, including times of teaching, individual reflection, personal assessment, interactions with other ministry leaders, and ongoing connections to our community.
Like almost everything else since March, we’ve never done this exact format before so you’ll join this experiment with us. But this I know: during the many Soul Care experiences I’ve facilitated over the past six months, many individuals and teams have found online, virtual retreats helpful in slowing the pace, introducing new ideas, providing reflection, assessment, prayer, silence, and facilitating important conversations.
So we invite you to join us.
We all need to silence the noise around us and get quiet, maybe “lean in”, and receive from God what only God can give.
Will you join us? Bring your tribe.