Jim Loehr, in The Power of Full Engagement, says that energy, not time, is our most precious resource.
“To be fully engaged, we must be physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused and spiritually aligned with a purpose beyond our immediate self-interest.” (Jim Loehr)
There are those who choose to use up all their time without a clear picture of what is the ‘prior’ thing, or number one purpose they are connected to. The first and only thing, if nothing else was possible, would be to live in God’s presence. And then the next priority is to use your greatest gifts and strengths to build the Kingdom and serve the needs of the world. That kind of high calling demands you get up off the couch, off the internet and out into the world doing what only you can do and offering what only you can offer. It also demands being stretched to not only grow, but maximize your capacity. There is a difference between increasing capacity intentionally through challenging yourself, and giving of yourself so hard that you burn out.
“We grow the aspects of our lives that we feed – with energy and engagement – and choke off those we deprive of fuel. Your life is what you agree to attend to.” (Jim Loehr)
What have you agreed to ‘feed’ or pour in to with energy and engagement? And, just as importantly, how are you building in recovery time before, after, and even in the middle of demanding seasons of output?
I am heading away for a few days. This was built into my schedule intentionally after what has been quite an energizing and engaging fall season of work and ministry. I need to recalibrate and refresh and so it is an appointment with myself to do just that. On the other side of it, I will be re-engaging with renewed vigour and focus, and challenging myself to use my mental, emotional, spiritual and physical muscles in new ways so that I never stop growing or learning, and actually maximize my capacity in all of those areas.
So, what is your biggest challenge? Is it that you have been comfortable with the status quo for so long that you fear change, new challenges, or tiring yourself out? Or is it that you are not putting on your own oxygen mask first and scheduling time for rest and recovery as part of the regular rhythm of your life?
It takes audacity to carve out the time needed to both stretch your muscles and also let all of the quadrants of your life rest and renew. You are fearfully and wonderfully made: when is the last time you checked in with your physical, spiritual, emotional and mental states from a wholistic perspective, rather than just focusing on one to the detriment of the others?
“We live in a world that celebrates work and activity, ignores renewal and recovery, and fails to recognize that both are necessary for sustained high performance.” (Jim Loehr)
The answer is that you can focus on both. Don’t get comfortable – take your physical, mental, spiritual and emotional muscles to the gym for a workout and be surprised at what you are capable of once you stretch yourself in all of those areas. And don’t go so hard without rest that you teeter on the edge of burn-out. Exercise self-care rituals that ensure you can re-engage in the game with renewed focus and energy. Jesus modelled this so audaciously when He would deliberately leave His followers and go to spend time with His Father.
Be audacious. Challenge yourself. And rest. Be able to manage the tension of those seeming opposites because you are a leader and those in your sphere of influence are looking at you to see if you are spinning out of control, or are intentional about the rhythms of your life. Establish rituals that help you get from here to there. You’ve got this.