Leading others can be one of the most joyful, thrilling experiences in life. But all too often, the delightfulness that can be discovered in guiding others gets lost in the day-to-day demands and deadlines. The demands on leaders today from both organizations and their members can leave those responsible feeling siphoned. Some lead from a place of physical exhaustion. Others serve from a place of emotional emptiness.
Take the following quiz to see if you’re leading from a healthy position:
1. You’ve been trying to get together with someone on your ministry team for the last few weeks. At church they tell you they can get together for lunch on Monday. But Monday is your day off. You:
a) recognize this may be the only time you can get together and accept.
b) ask if they have any other day they can meet for lunch this week, and if they say no, accept the Monday appointment.
c) let them know Monday is your day off and try to find another day that will work for both of your schedules.
2. You receive an invitation for a weekend retreat, complete with devotionals and a period of fasting. You:
a) accept with reluctance. You can’t remember the last time you actually felt or learned something on one of these retreats, but you know your presence is expected.
b) accept with some excitement. You’ve been wanting to get away for a while to have some good one-on-one time with God. It’s been a while.
c) accept with enthusiasm and anticipation. You’ve been feeling the Holy Spirit whisper the idea of spiritual disciplines to you. Only you didn’t know where to start—now you do.
3. You’re on your church’s budget committee and received the reminder email for the semi-annual meeting. You look at your calendar and notice the meeting is scheduled the same time as your son’s semifinal baseball game! You:
a) sit your son down and ask how important the game is to him. As you listen, you try to explain the budget committee only meets twice a year.
b) call the church. The committee is small; they may be able to move the meeting earlier in the day. If not, you ask your son what are his statistics of winning. Will there be another game for you to see? Is this your last chance to watch him play?
c) immediately call the church. The committee is small enough; they may be able to move it a couple hours earlier for you. If not, you’ll have to miss it. No question. Your son will want you to see his victory.
4. You noticed that if you come home from work a mere fifteen minutes earlier you and your spouse have time to emotionally connect before dinner. This morning, your spouse woke up in a bad mood and you aren’t feeling eager to come home. Your intern comes in with some last minute paperwork. Do you:
a) acknowledge this is the intern’s last week and she needs all the help she can get.
b) ask if this can wait and then when she says no, take the fifteen extra minutes to review the papers.
c) tell the intern you’ll take care of the paperwork first thing tomorrow morning and head home fifteen minutes earlier.
If you answered mostly A’s: You currently don’t see balance as the key to healthy leadership. You may raise boundaries but they fold quickly. Sometimes you’re tempted to prioritize work over relationships. Your intentions are great! But healthy boundaries, priorities, and balance are going to empower you to serve for the long haul in ministry. Consider two or three healthy boundaries you need to establish in your life regarding your schedule. Let those on your team know and ask them to support you in this and champion you as you grow.
If you answered mostly B’s: You are on your way to leading from a healthy place, though you still have a few miles to go. You recognize healthy leadership is about maintaining balance and put in some effort to try to keep the equilibrium, but need to be more firm when it comes to boundaries. Spend some time talking with your family and friends about what specific boundaries you need to establish and solicit their help to keep you accountable.
If you answered mostly C’s: You tend to lead out of a healthy place and understand the importance of balance. You recognize boundaries and stick to them. You prioritize family and friends and stand up for those you know. You vent steam, but aren’t afraid to laugh. You try to prep for the long haul by taking care of your body. Keep up the great work.