But that doesn't mean you should completely sacrifice your personal life. Leaders who push aside their own spiritual growth, family, sleep, exercise, rest, days off and vacation time will experience a gradual loss and burn out.
Leaders who go the distance and make a long-term, significant impact supplement their commitment to the ministry with an equally important commitment to themselves. They know their ministry flows from their own spiritual and physical health.
Are you committed to your own relationship with Jesus? It's easy to be so committed to working for Jesus that it overshadows your commitment to be with Jesus. When this happens, your passion will gradually wain and the ministry will turn into a job that you find yourself grudgingly performing. In this post, I share about the importance of being committed to your own spiritual life.
Are you committed to your own family? Are you so busy reaching everyone else's kids that you are neglecting your own kids? Are you spending so much time helping other people's marriages that your own marriage is suffering? Are you investing so much in other people's families that you are hurting your own family?
The most important kids we minister to are our own kids. The most important marriage we work on is our own. The most important family we minister to is our own family.
Are you committed to your physical health? Do you find yourself constantly running through the drive-thru and ordering unhealthy food because you're too busy to sit down for a healthy meal? Are you too busy to exercise? Running on little to no sleep because you've got so much to do? When your physical health goes down, your ministry will go down.
Are you committed to your mental health? Stress. It's part of ministry. And if you don't find ways to relieve it...reduce it...deal with it...it will bury you. I found out the hard way that you can burn out doing what you love. You can read my story here.
Are you committed to your life outside of ministry? Ministry will take over your entire life if you let it. It can take you to a point where it's all you think about and you can't even slow down enough to enjoy any hobbies or other things in life you would enjoy doing.
There's an interesting analogy in Song of Solomon 1. It says this - "They made me the keeper of the vineyards: but mine own vineyard have I not kept." The person writing this got so busy taking care of other people's vineyards that she neglected to take care of her own vineyard. She was so busy planting seeds in other people's vineyards that her own vineyard was barren. She was so busy watering other people's vineyards that her own vineyard became parched. She was so busy pulling weeds out of other people's vineyards that her own vineyard became overgrown with weeds.
Can you relate?
Please...please...please stay committed to the ministry....and please...please...please stay as equally committed to yourself. Spend time with Jesus. Exercise. Take your day off. Use your vacation time. Go home and be with your family. Get some hobbies.
We need you for the long haul.