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What Do You Do in Your Spare Time?

If you laugh at that question, you’re doing ministry wrong.

It doesn’t have to be this way, for this isn’t the way of Christ.

Christ, who is yours, rested. After ministering to the multitudes, he went away to be by himself. He rejuvenated. He recharged. He refueled so he might be able to go and do it all again on his next journey.

So, I ask you, what gives you life?

Your time is precious because you are precious, a living masterpiece of God’s. So take heart and believe that your spare time, those 16 hours in the day you are not working, really do matter.

Begin to experiment with what it might mean to cultivate a sense of self outside of what you do for the kingdom. There is more to you than who you are as a leader in ministry!

Keep in mind, too, that you are the one who sets the tone for and pace of the ministries you lead. This, in turn, directly affects the lives you are impacting. Consider how the way you lead without taking care of yourself actually models unhealthy leadership to those around you. What do you want to model to your team?

“I learned long ago that I am not the Savior,” says Lily Jensen, who’s been on staff with Young Life for 12 years. “One of the best ways to be reminded of that, and to take care of myself in the meantime, is to have boundaries and margin in my life.” Lily purposely builds spare time into her schedule; for her that often means she hops on her road bike for long rides through Seattle. She got into cycling a number of years ago, and now rides three to four times a week to give her brain a rest, to breathe hard physically, and to see the sights of the city. It’s been one of the most life-giving disciplines she’s ever engaged.

So, what is it for you? Maybe being outside in nature, free to play, sparks something within you. Perhaps you come to life with a refrigerator full of ingredients and a chopping board as your canvas.

The possibilities, of course, are endless: read for pleasure. Travel. Do a home project. Cultivate intimate relationships with friends outside of ministry.

If you do need help establishing boundaries in your life, that’s okay. Consider talking to a therapist who can help you support and value spare time. He or she can also help you explore what gets in the way.

Embracing the decision to care for ourselves takes time and money, but we can—and must—make this part of our lifestyle. We can make us just as important as those we serve. For you, woman in ministry, are worth it.

Cara Meredith is a writer and speaker from the San Francisco Bay Area. She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild and co-host of Shalom in the City's monthly book club podcast. She holds a Masters of Theology (Fuller Seminary), and can be found on her blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

June02, 2016 at 8:00 AM

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