CNLP 260: Ruth Haley Barton on How Busyness Ruins The Soul of Driven Leaders And How to Make Time for Rest

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It’s so easy to run non-stop as a leader in the church and business world, and it’s killing us. Ruth Haley Barton is an incredibly driven leader, but she found herself pushing burnout at 30 as a young mom with a rising platform in ministry. In an effort to recover her soul and her life, she embraced Sabbath, rest and retreat.

Ruth talks about how to begin taking a Sabbath (even if you think you don’t have the time) and offers beginner tips and some profound insights on connecting with your soul so you can thrive in the long run.

Welcome to Episode 260 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Ruth Haley Barton | Facebook | InstagramTwitter | Ruth’s Books

Transforming Center

How Is It with Your Soul: Leadership Assessment

Get your life and leadership back with the High Impact Leader. It’s an online course you can do on demand to beat burnout and get things done without giving up the things you love most. Check it out at thehighimpactleader.com.

If you’re struggling with staffing, BELAY can help. Check out belaysolutions.com/Carey to see how hiring a virtual staff can get you where you want to be.

CNLP 152: Eugene Peterson on Why He Wrote The Message, the Rhythms of a Reflective Life + Mark Batterson an dAdam Weber on Perterson’s Legacy

CNLP 204: Jon Tyson on Reaching Cynics in NYC and What to Do When the Burden of Leadership Feels too Heavy

I Used to be a Human Being by Andrew Sullivan

3 Insights from Ruth

1. The more connected we are, the more disconnected we become

Technology is dangerous because it’s keeping us stimulated. There’s no time to quiet down and hear the still small voice of God.

In our modern society, the norm is to move fast enough where we cannot hear our soul. The soul doesn’t compete. It is not going to shout and yell about all the other distractions we allow into our lives. We need to make space to hear what we really need.

Technology is keeping us distracted with the outer world rather than being in touch with our inner world – where our soul has something to say to God and where God is wanting to say something true to our souls.

2. If you don’t take the Sabbath, the Sabbath will take you

Sabbath is an extremely difficult, but important spiritual discipline to keep in your weekly rhythm. Both secular culture and church culture will often try to keep you moving and busy all day on Sunday, but keeping a Sabbath is one of the best ways to be countercultural as a Christian.

While practicing the Sabbath, rest, worship, and delight are the three primary areas to focus your attention. This model is how God chose to Sabbath, so we are actually taking a chance to be more like God when we practice Sabbath in this way. When we don’t practice this discipline, we put ourselves on a road that leads to burnout and exhaustion.

3. As parents, we cannot let our children’s activities overtake our own health

It is extremely common in our North American culture to allow kid activities to dictate our lives. Ruth argues that we need to protect our Sabbath day even if our kids have commitments. Her daughter did this in her teenage years and this actually led her daughter to realize just how critical a Sabbath day was.

The competitive nature and mindset that parents take on nowadays is a sign that we need to check ourselves and our priorities as a parenting culture. The minute parents are getting in fights in the parking lot of their children’s game is the minute they should wave a flag and start asking some deeper questions about what is really going on. The minuscule chance of a kid going pro is not worth the time, effort, or energy some of the most deeply committed parents put into these activities.

Quotes from Episode 260

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Next Episode: Michael Hyatt 

Michael Hyatt is one of the top influencers in the leadership space today. His books consistently reach the New York Times best sellers list and his company helps millions of leaders a year become better. In this interview, Michael explains how to focus with far greater effectiveness in a world filled with distraction, how to work less and accomplish more, and shares dozens of practical productivity tips. Plus, he talks about succession and where he’s heading next in life.

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 261.

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Carey Nieuwhof
Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof is a best-selling leadership author, speaker, podcaster, former attorney, and church planter. He hosts one of today’s most influential leadership podcasts, and his online content is accessed by leaders over 1.5 million times a month. He speaks to leaders around the world about leadership, change, and personal growth.

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