More people in your life than time to see them is a fortunate tension.
The tension is a blessed one because we’re fortunate to be loved, needed, wanted or candidly, have anyone seek us out and want some time. That’s not overly self-deprecating, it’s a healthy perspective.
As leaders, we’re blessed to be helpful to others. It’s a privilege to get to encourage, care for and develop people. And it’s fun just to enjoy these moments as well!
It’s a dangerous thing when a leader begins to see people as an interruption, a problem or “one more ask.”
But we do need to be honest about the tension.
One of the greatest challenges of a leader is to make people decisions. You just can’t see everyone.
My first instinct about time with a person is “yes.” Then I look at my calendar, and it says “no.” Somewhere between my heart’s desire and the reality of a finite amount of time are time-related decisions that I must make as a leader, friend, husband and dad.
I believe that Jesus gives us great insight into the gospel accounts. The principle I’ve taken from my study of the New Testament is that we are to love everyone but must be intentional about where our time goes. Even with His disciples, Jesus was closer and spent more time with some than others. And I’m sure the “others” were not thrilled.
By “love everyone” I mean, in the moment, give 100 percent of your heart and attention to the person. It might be in the lobby of your church, a restaurant, the gym or a training meeting, etc. You may only have two minutes, but you can make a sincere and profound impact in that moment. A brief prayer is one of the greatest “in the moment” investments you can make.
One good way to start is to ask yourself how you can make room for the people God brings into your life. That is a positive and intentional way to ask the question. That may be a perspective changer for you.
It will help you reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed. Keep in mind, everyone isn’t every day!
Make room for the people in your life:
Family and friends
Family is the obvious priority, and the older you get, the more you should know who your true friends are. Let them know you love them.
Good leaders never lead alone. From colleagues around the country, mentors and wise counsel, and core prayer partners, to your staff and volunteers, who is key in your life? This changes with the ebbs and flows of life and ministry, and needs constant attention.
Be sure to fight for margin to meet new people. This might seem contradictory. You have a shortage of time, so you add people?! Yes! The right people! Leaders move forward with new relationships. It doesn’t have to be many, but if there are none, that is a yellow flag.
Strangers in your path
A kind word, generous gift, cool cup of water or a sincere prayer are gifts the Holy Spirit wants us to give as He prompts. Be receptive and open. Do for a few what you wish you could do for many.
This is the “huge” group in most leaders lives. They are wonderful people, and you’d love to have lots of time with them, but you can’t.
The tension remains. There is no easy solution. But there are several good questions you can ask yourself to help you know how to give your time wisely.