Today’s post is written by my friend Danielle Strickland in partnership with World Vision. They’ve teamed up to invest in the health of pastors and leaders in this season. I’d encourage you to check out their Soul Care Prayer Postures Web Series here!
By Danielle Strickland
Dust happens. It really does.
It’s not even blameworthy. It has a mixture of causes apparently. Much of it has to do with dead skin cells and that’s already too much information.
So, what does dust have to do with leadership? Well, it happens there too.
Ever wonder why you feel pessimistic, cynical, outraged, or apathetic?
Well, those are all good things to pay attention to, and of course, you want to be aware of any red flags in your leadership that hint at deeper emotional issues that you really should deal with in a deeper way (cue: get some counseling already!).
But I’ve noticed as a leader that much of what causes me instant alarm when it surfaces is actually not deeply connected to my core identity or even an issue I’m dealing with currently – it’s just dust. It just collected on me as dust does on my living room mantle. I don’t even know exactly where it came from.
Now, the truth of the matter is that leaders pick up a lot of things that don’t actually belong to them. Cultural, spiritual and emotional behaviors and attitudes, even perceptions can accumulate until we feel pretty burdened – or at least stale and tired.
When Jesus invited people to come to him to find rest for their souls, I think he meant a kind of dusting.
So when do we know we need dusting and how do we get it?Leaders pick up a lot of burdens that don’t actually belong to them. @djstrickland Click To Tweet
1. Skewed perspective
When I’m weary and tired in my perceptions of people and place. When it’s stuffy in my head and heart. When I need air and light and a good fresh perspective. This is a good time to dust.
Sometimes when we talk about soul-care or spiritual renewal we expect the remedy to be hard and holy and long.
But often, I’ve discovered it’s just a regular scheduled dusting with God that can clear my vision. For me, this dusting occurs once a month for half a day of prayer. Not a big deal actually.
Just on my schedule and I never miss it. Because before I start the day I’m weary and tired and after I’m done spending a few hours with God I feel light and free.
Maybe you don’t actually need a car – just a car wash?When we talk about soul-care or spiritual renewal we expect the remedy to be holy and long. But often, I’ve discovered it’s just a regular scheduled dusting with God that can clear my vision. @djstrickland Click To Tweet
This is true in our bodies as well as our souls. Posture matters.
I’ve got a friend who has had back problems for years. He stumbled on some exercises that when he did every day – made a significant difference to his posture and his back!
One of the adjustments he made was to get a stand-up desk. Sitting, for him was bad news for his back. Our souls need some posture shifting as well.
When things are disproportionately heavy or way out of perspective, when I’m carrying baggage that was never mine or can’t see the forest for the tree in front of me that just won’t move, It’s a lot easier to move me than the tree. A right-sizing of me, my problems and God often clear the way.
A posture prayer is something I do every day for my soul.
My friend Mike runs a large advertising consultancy business in the UK. It’s a big deal.
He built it with his friend from scratch into a multi-million dollar company. It was overwhelming for him on most days. He felt a burden as he entered the actual space.
Then he started to practice a posture prayer every morning before anyone else got into the building.
He would stand in the middle of the space and raise his hands in a posture of surrender. He would tell God that this space wasn’t his – it belonged to God. Then he would hold his hands in front of him open and declare that everything he was going to receive today was a gift and he would just as generously share it with others as well. And the final posture was him opening his arms like he was going to give someone a hug. And he would say out loud that the whole company, and his life were here to serve others.
He describes this daily little exercise as a game-changer in his own leadership – he said It’s like a chiropractic appointment with God that sets him up for flexibility and freedom.
3. Constant nagging
When doubt, cynicism and jaded thinking are my first thoughts about any subject it’s time for a dust.
For me this usually involves making a list. I call it my dust list.
It’s a combination of everything on my mind and it’s usually a mixture of to-do lists, burdens, and things I just can’t forget about.
These things are like sharks circling my mind. consistently nagging at me, begging for my attention, fueling my anxiety that I’m doing what I should, or enough.
I literally write out the list, put it in a envelope and set it aside for the time I have allotted for prayer, or silence, or meditation. It literally takes these uncontrollable thoughts and contains them for a while – so my brain and heart can find some relief.When doubt, cynicism and jaded thinking are my first thoughts about any subject it’s time for a dust. @djstrickland Click To Tweet
I’m not sure what kind of soul care you need right now…
Many of us have moments we must pay attention to that will lead us to do deep and foundational work on our own personal health and wellness. I’m all for that.
But often, in my own leadership, I don’t need expensive or out-of-reach solutions for something terrible lurking in the shadows of my life.
I need regular times of dusting. I need to be refreshed and renewed, I need to silence my mind and posture my life to stay flexible and free.
If any of these tips help you – you can discover even more thanks to World Vision, through this FREE 3-session Prayer Postures web series where I walk through rhythms and practices to help create space for God to tend to YOUR soul.
Enough of the blaming and shaming and let’s get on with the dusting already!
To learn more rhythms and prayers from Danielle and World Vision, get access to the 3-session Prayer Postures web series today.
What about you?
Do you need to dust off some stuff you’ve picked up over the last year?
Leave a comment below and let us know!