It’s officially summer.
I don’t know about you, but where I live it has been HOT.
I’m wondering how your summer is going?
For church leaders, summer is often a change of pace.
Many of us take time off.
Others of us shut down our regular ministry programming and do something different and perhaps less involved.
Summer is often a good time to take stock, evaluate and think strategically.
So, here’s the question: How healthy will you be next summer?
A year from now will you be closer to Jesus, have better boundaries, have more margin...or will you be more burned out and over-extended, inching ever closer to collapse?
I think this is an important question for us to consider.
So, how do you know?
How do you know if you’ll be more or less healthy by next July?
I don’t think the answer to this question has much to do with random chance.
I think it has a lot more to do with your habits and decisions over the next 12 months.
With that in mind, here are two questions to help us become a healthier version of ourselves by next summer.
1. What am I Doing to Create More Margin?
Here’s a thought I’ve never had: “Wow, I’m just becoming less busy naturally.”
Busyness just happens naturally.
Tasks, roles, and responsibilities just keep adding themselves like magnets.
And, the busier we become the more overwhelmed and frantic we become.
This is not the healthiest version of ourselves.
If this is true, then the only way to create more margin in our lives is to make deliberate decisions to create space.
It has to be intentional.
So, how do you create margin?
By releasing tasks and roles to others.
There will always be new and important opportunities and the only way to engage them is to reduce your current load.
If you want to get serious about creating margin this year, then you must find ways to prioritize, empower and release.
Here’s what I mean:
The first thing you need to do is spend time prioritizing what is on your plate.
What is most important?
What has the greatest impact?
What tasks and roles must live with you?
Once you make this list, what’s left? Whatever is left probably shouldn’t be on your to-do list.
This brings us to phase two, which is to empower others.
The stuff that was left—that shouldn’t belong to you, is probably important and someone needs to accomplish those tasks.
So, who should take on those tasks? Another staff member? A volunteer? An intern? An assistant?
Find someone, teach them and empower them to do the work.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Isn’t that mean? Isn’t it selfish? Actually, no.
If you aren’t gifted for that work, if it isn’t life-giving, or if that work is outside of what you are paid to do, it should live with someone else. And something I’ve learned that is a little counter-intuitive, is that most of the work I dislike doing is actually coveted work by someone else.
God gifted and wired each of us differently. Find the right people for the right work and everyone wins.
Once you have identified the right person and empowered that person to do the work effectively, all that is left is to release the work.
Let it go.
Give it away to someone else who is meant for it.
By prioritizing, empowering and releasing, you can create margin this year and become a better version of yourself by next summer.
2. Am I Scheduling What Matters?
Very rarely do the things that matter most happen naturally.
People don’t accidentally exercise.
I mean, maybe if you get a flat tire and attempt to change it yourself or something.
No, people who are fit, intentionally schedule exercise. I think the same is true for almost everything that matters; relationships, faith, learning, etc.
So, if you want to be a healthier version of yourself in a year, it will require you to schedule what matters most.
Here are a few questions help us determine whether we are actually doing this:
- What day of the week do you regularly take off?
- Is your next vacation already on the calendar?
- What night of the week will you date your spouse?
- What nights of the week will you share a family meal?
- What days and times are you scheduled to exercise?
- What time of the day do you consistently spend with God?
- When are you scheduled to meet with a mentor?
- Do you have accountability relationships on the calendar?
- What season of the year do you focus on growth and development?
- Where on your calendar do you have time for creative thinking and problem solving?
I think you get the point.
Here’s a challenging question: What area(s) of your life are not as healthy as they should be?
I’m guessing that area of your life isn’t on your calendar.
You aren’t scheduling progress.
And here’s the real truth: You and I won’t grow in these areas if you don’t schedule them.
So, let’s use this summer to schedule what matters most for the rest of the year.
Next summer, you and I will either be healthier people or more unhealthy people.
And, for the most part, our condition will depend on our own decisions and activities.
Two suggestions: create margin and schedule what matters.
Thanks for reading. We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.