Crossbow and gun enthusiasts use a sight to lock in on the center of a target. Where one hair (or line) crosses another, the center of that union is referred to as “the cross hairs.” Literally, this center point is under fire.
Have you ever felt overwhelmed by life, like something was zooming in on you, and you were under fire in the cross hairs?
In my book, “At Full Strength: Navigating the Risks All Pastors Face,” I [Denny Howard] apply this cross hairs shooting metaphor to the helping professions, including pastors: “A distinct and predictable low period in life, often without a known cause, is a cross hair. These low times are marked by a lack of resiliency, satisfaction, and vision.”
As a pastor, it’s not a question of if you’ll find yourself in the cross hairs, but when.
The key to surviving the cross hairs is preparation. Three activities can prevent and help with the low times that will come:
Rest: ‘What Is a Day Off?’
Does that question sound familiar? Rest comes in many forms and varies from person to person. Where does your most restful time come from? Remember, rest is not limited to sleep. Giving your brain a rest from all church responsibilities, situations, and event planning qualifies. It might mean reading a book or spending time with loved ones.
It’s important to know what you need to create to achieve true rest.
Restoration: What Restores You?
More than simply resting, you also need to be restored. What kind of things energize you? What helps you recover after a long week? It might be a hobby or time spent outside or doing things with your family.
Renewal: What Excites You?
Finally, you need to be renewed. This can come from a new excitement or energy about your work. This is more than coming back fully charged, it’s about having a fresh perspective and attitude toward your work. It’s not merely coming back for more of the same, but ready to scale higher heights or tackle something new.
What kind of activities can do that for you? It might be a retreat or other focused spiritual time. It might be seeing what other ministries are doing and being inspired.
Recover & Re-Engage
Pastors are frequently in the line of fire. But if you create personal times of rest, restoration, and renewal, then you will be able to manage the cross hairs while improving resiliency, satisfaction, and vision.
This article originally appeared here.