Are You Running on Empty?

Pouring OutI was having a cup of coffee with a good friend the other day. He is a fellow small group leader in Cross Point’s young adult community; Stretch. The job he does pouring into and leading his small group members is simply amazing. He is one of the most encouraging people I know.

This friend had just had a rough day at work and was venting about his struggles and frustrations. It seemed like he was at the end of his rope. I’ll spare you all the details, but at one point I asked him, “Who’s pouring into you? Who’s directly investing in your life in the same way that you do with others?”

Nobody.

Later on, this exchange got me thinking. As leaders, we spend so much time investing in other people’s lives. We challenge people to grow, walk with them through their problems, and share in their joy and suffering. That’s what we do.

We are constantly pouring out for these people in hopes of helping them grow. It is the essence of servant leadership and is necessary, but takes an enormous emotional toll. We are constantly making withdrawals from our bank of spiritual and emotional energy.

If we don’t take the time to intentionally make deposits into that account, we’ll find ourselves overdrawn; a.k.a. burnt out and over-extended. It’d be like trying to drive across Tennessee with your gas needle on ‘E.’ I promise you won’t get very far.

I can’t express in words how important it is to find people who can speak words of truth and encouragement into your life. I don’t care how high up the corporate ladder you are; this is an absolute necessity. If you continue to pour into people without having anyone to pour into you, you’ll find yourself empty and frustrated.

In addition to a solid group of people, go and find the activities that fill your proverbial tank. I spend nearly all of my days working with people, hearing about their problems, and helping them find solutions. By the end of the day, I am emotionally spent and spending time with more people is not always the answer.

It’s ok to be a social recluse every once in a while.

Here are the activities that help me recharge:

  • Prayer
  • Bible study
  • Sleep
  • Writing
  • A little mindless TV watching
  • Reading (Christian, Business, Marketing, Finance, Technology, Blogs…)

The people you live life with and the activities in which you choose to participate will look different for each and every reader. Take an honest look at your life. Make sure that you’ve put the necessary things in place to feed you spiritually and emotionally so that you can continue to be the leader whom God has blessed you to be.

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