When someone mentions “Nashville” one may think of country music and cowboy boots and may even give a little Yeehaw because, come on, who does NOT like country music? Well, I do NOT like country music or anything that goes along with it, but Nashville, on the other hand does bring about a smile to my face.
My friends and I traveled to Nashville last week for a women’s conference. Again, I am not a huge fan of women’s conferences either (what AM I a fan of right?) but, this conference was what I need and when I needed it. We got to hear from some amazing speakers/authors and if anyone knows me they probably think this post is going to be all about what Jackie Hill Perry spoke about. Well, SURPRISE, it’s not.
Although Jackie’s messages were on point and truly thought-provoking, something else hit me during our time in Cowboy country. Speaker, Author, Song-writer and JESUS LOVER, Kelly Minter led a breakout session on “How to stay spiritually and emotionally healthy as a leader.”
At first, I didn’t love the title because I don’t like “How To” lists but when she gave the six questions to ask yourself… something went off. It wasn’t fireworks or even a light bulb, but more so a bit of concern. As I looked over the questions and her reasoning behind each of the six questions I was dumbfounded because I do not think that I am doing a good job at being spiritually and emotionally healthy. She led off the session by saying “busyness is ministry can be masked in godliness.” In other words, being “busy” isn’t necessarily Godly. I sat back and thought about how 90% of the time when someone asks me how I am doing my go-to response is “Oh good, just really busy.” I answer as if I have a halo over my head because I mean I do work in ministry so if I am “busy” I must be doing God-things. Let’s be real…I AM busy, but I am also EXHAUSTED.
She also said, “You won’t be able to give what you don’t have.” That prompted me to evaluate my identity. I think my activity should flow from my identity. If I’m too busy/exhausted, I’ll easily forget who I am AND who I’m called to be.
So, let’s start with… who am I?
- I am a child of God.
- I am a wife to Andrew.
- I am a mother to Harper, Finley and Scout.
- I am Northstar’s College Minister
Priorities should determine our energy output…right?
KEY WORD: SHOULD
When I can step back and assess why I am exhausted I can clearly see that my priorities are out of whack. How do I get back to where they ought to be? Good question! And when I’m exhausted, I can’t think clearly enough to try and work those details out. The way to get back is to STOP and process. I want to do that by asking myself the six questions that Kelly shared with us:
- Who teaches and leads you?
- Who prays for you and with you?
- Who in your life refreshes you?
- Who can you be completely transparent with?
- What activities refresh you?
- WHAT DOES SOLITUDE LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
Each of these questions deserve a blog post in and of themselves (and I may come back to that for further comment). When I look at them together, I see that the first four questions force me to consider community. Am I being vulnerable, teachable and inviting others into my life? They remind me that I cannot do life alone. The last two questions encourage me to not just DO things that I’m supposed to do (duties, chores, errands, responsibilities) but that I should ALSO DO things that refresh me, that I enjoy, and that remind that I ALSO need time to be ME.
I’m a people person. I love people. I will talk to anyone anywhere. But, I also know that I need downtime, quiet time, time to be in the Word and prayer, time to consider life and simply listen to God (I talk a lot).
So our time in Nashville, while it didn’t make me want to learn how to play the guitar or sing about my broken tractor, it DID refresh and refuel me and give me tools to combat busyness and exhaustion. Yeehaw!