When i first got married, I did not understand about the need for reserves. (Actually there were lots of other things I didn’t understand, but there’s no time for that now.) Then our car got injured, and our washing machine went on strike, and I learned.More than a year ago, my counselor had me draw up a similar list of the things that restore me, that give me energy as opposed to sucking the energy out of me. That list: prayer, reading, being outdoors (especially in the woods), music, family, worship, and preaching (my own). Solitude should also have been on the list, but maybe that's more or less implied when I say "prayer."
When I first worked at a church, I did not understand about reserves. We lived financially from week to week. Then one week we did not have enough money to pay the staff, and I learned in a hurry.
But as important as financial reserves are, they pale next to our need for spiritual reserves. Often in ministry I feel like Jesus (that’s a dangerous comparison!) when he was touched by a woman in a crowd ‘and felt the power go out of him.’ Ministry can be the most draining activity known to human beings, because it draws on the soul. So i have to know what the signs are when my reserves are running low: I got easily discouraged, I get preoccupied in my relationships, my motivation and energy drop, sin looks more tempting.
I need friends who speak to me about their observations of how my reserves are running. A friend recently encouraged me to watch my own life for a while, and mark those activities that restore me. For me it's solitude, reading, conversations with very good friends, traveling with my wife, watching the ocean, and physical exertion.
How are your reserves? What’s your plan to grow them?
John Ortberg, writing on the Monvee Blog, imparts wisdom: