I'm working my way through Ruth Barton's book, "Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership". The word "working" is used with great intention because this doesn't seem to be a book I can quickly read.
For years those of us in spiritual leadership have talked about and emphasized the importance of caring for our own souls and spending time alone to reflect on our Lord and our own souls. As I continue to read and reflect I am more and more convinced that I'm a mess in need of a savior and that time alone with Jesus to let him do his work is not an option.
You know how it is, there's always something to do or see. Even for those who have the best intention there is always some good to do for the Kingdom. There's one more phone call, one more hour of prep, or one more email to answer. In our age of communication and technology there's one more tweet, one more college football game or another blog to read. "Muchness" and busyness are many times drugs that keep us from those quite reflective times. To be honest some of us fill our lives with activity so we don't have to face what's going on underneath the surface of our own lives.
Speaking of solitude, Barton says the leader must sit at the feet of Jesus...
"Then, rather than offering the cold stone of past devotionals, regurgitated apologetics or someone else's musings about the spiritual life, we well have the bread to offer that is warm from the oven of our intimacy with God".
Have you ever been tired of serving others out of a vacuum?
It's very difficult to give what you don't have or say with conviction that which you don't really believe at the moment.
Ever been at the place where there's really nothing left to give but you make it up because you have no choice? Yeah, me too.
Here are a couple questions I'm asking myself...
When's the last time I had time alone when I heard the voice of God?
When's the last time I took a full day to be still and listen to God?
Here's questions I want to ask you...
What do you do to find times of solitude? Is this something you battle? Have you found ways to find the margin in your life to "be still"?
Those of us who call ourselves spiritual leaders have no choice but to fight for times of solitude. Don't just do something, sit there.