Leading on Empty

by Bre Hallberg
A few years ago a friend of mine mentioned that she was going to spend the next three hours sitting in the dentist chair getting a root canal. My reaction? A stab of envy. Odd, I know! It was in that moment that I realized that I was running on empty.

I just finished reading the book Leading on Empty, for the third time. It’s a book I frequent often, this time to write a piece for YouLead. I laughed as I remembered my own warning signs that I needed a break, here are a few Wayne Cordeiro, author of Leading on Empty,mentions:

You may be leading on empty if:

  • One year in solitary confinement is sounding more and more like a good option.
  • Your ministry leader calls for the third time wondering where you have been. You consider changing your phone number and possibly moving.
  • Every time somebody praises you for your work, you suspiciously eye them, certain that they will ask you to do one more thing.
  • You think you would like to work at McDonald’s. It might be nice to see something more fried than you feel.
  • You find yourself seeing the long wait in line at the post office as a blessing from God.

But in all seriousness, when we have lost our vision and our passion for what we are doing, everything around us suffers. We can’t be the spouse or parent that God has called us to be, we can’t be a good friend, and we don’t have the strength or energy to do our job. The job that once brought us closer to our heavenly Father can sometimes push us further from Him, when we are leading on empty.

“We will all experience fatigue in the midst of a demanding ministry unless time is set aside to rest and realign ourselves back to God and His original design.” (Leading on Empty, p. 166)

God wasn’t kidding when He told us we needed to take a break! Did you know:

“Serotonin is a chemical like an endorphin. It’s a natural, feel-good hormone. It replenishes during times of rest and then fuels you while you’re working. If, however you continue to drive yourself without replenishing, your store of serotonin will be depleted. As a substitute, your body will be forced to replace the serotonin with adrenaline . . . . Should you continue to run on adrenaline, it will destroy your system. You will burn out sooner on the inside than you’re able to see on the outside.” (Leading on Empty, p. 26)

The end of the school year is almost upon us; summer programming is weighing on our minds, followed by fall kickoffs. We say it’s just a season but in reality that season never ends. So, what are you going to do to rest, to renew your soul?

“Lead out of rest and allow your soul to catch up to you. Only then will you be able to put your heart into everything God asks of you. Without rest, you are leading on empty.” (Leading on Empty, p. 128)