|The everlasting arms propel as well as sustain.|
You can't be fruitful if you neglect the Source.
July 1, 2004
We’re counting down the top 40 articles from Leadership Journal’s 36-year history, including this one from 2004.
Yesterday, I stood in front of a ministry team and asked: "What tends to emerge in the life of a person who neglects his or her soul? What symptoms creep in?"
I explained that no one ever sets out to trash the condition of his soul, and particularly not those of us in vocational ministry. Yet we often find ourselves in a spiritual death spiral—facing ever increasing ministry loads yielding ever diminishing returns. But we march dutifully onward, assuming that our spiritual state, a neglected soul, is somehow part of the "deal" in a life devoted to ministry.
So, I asked, what are the signs of soul neglect? At first the room was silent. Then somebody ventured, "Anxiety," and I knew they got it (not every group does). Once started, their answers came so fast I couldn't write them on the flip chart fast enough.
"Self-absorption," they called out. "Shame," "apathy," "toxic anger," "chronic fatigue," "lack of confidence," "isolation," "sin looks more appealing," "no compassion," "self-oriented," "drivenness," "loss of vision," and "no desire for God." Soon every inch of the page was crammed.
A sad feeling hovered over the room as these leaders, "weary in well doing," saw themselves in the mirror.
Then, with much relief, we turned the page, and I asked: "What emerges in your life when you're deeply connected with God, when your soul is healthy?"
This page also filled up quickly: "love," "joy," "compassion," ...