Question: What Are Some Warning Signs?

empty.jpgYesterday, I spent much of the day with a small group of very fine ministers and church leaders.  In the course of conversation, we talked about the importance of raising good questions regarding the various dimensions of our lives and then addressing those questions.  This has to begin by first addressing the center.


Ideally, I am living out a center that is rooted and grounded in my own relationship with Christ.  I like these words by Ruth Haley Barton:


Reflecting back on those early experiences reminds me every day that the most important thing that I can do as a leader today is to keep seeking God in the depths of my own soul–no matter what it costs.  (Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, P. 30)


It is out of that center that we are to live.  Hopefully, as one friend suggested in this gathering, we are living out of the overflow.


If there is no overflow, there may come "…moments when our leadership feels like something we "put on" like a piece of closing pulled out of the closet for a particular occasion rather than something that flows from a deep inner well fed by a pure source.  (Barton, p. 22)


Question: What are some of the warning signs which you have observed in your own life or in others that you are really not living out of the center?  Or, that you are attempting to live out of the center but there just isn’t any overflow?


(For a number of years, I just did not have a real appreciation for this.  Then, I hit a wall in my ministry.  My work (and quite frankly, my life in general) got to be completely overwhelming.  I found very little joy either in my ministry or in my life as a Christ-follower.  At the time, we were living in Alabama and I was finishing my Doctor of Ministry work at Harding Graduate School of Religion.  While in that program, I met a professor who spent some time with me.  I recall a few lunches, telephone calls, and some time in his office.  He talked with me about what it means to live out of the center and introduced me to resources that would help.  I’ve always been grateful to him.)  

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12 thoughts on “Question: What Are Some Warning Signs?

  1. I think one way for me to tell is when I am living, working, relating out of my skill set alone.  When I flip on the "skill set" like a cruise control I know I am in trouble.  Versus, when I live out of the overflow it is from a heart being formed and shaped by God and most importantly equipping me to function in ways I can not ordinarily manage.
    I guess I know it in me when I see it.

  2. The warning signs for me are when I start feeling hopeless, despairing and depressed.  I have learned that these feelings mean that my focus is off.  I have stopped looking to God and started looking around at people and/or events. As long as I keep my eyes on Him, I have peace and joy.  When I don’t, there is hell to pay, literally.  🙂

  3. Ricky,Thanks very much.  I appreciate your kind words re the blog.  I will respond to your comment about "centering."  I am transiting to a new computer this week and that has given me very little access to either the old or the new one over the last few days.  I’ll be back… 

  4. Arlene–I like the way you express the problem of living out of your "skill set" alone.  I can relate to this.  I also like the way you contrast this kind of life with one that is being formed by God.  You express this very well. 

  5. Connie–The specific feelings that you describe say much about your own self-awareness which is so important for us all.  Thanks.

  6. Greg–As I read your comment, I thought about how so often when something is missing (your example of missing joy), so often the void is filled by a negative emotion (irritability).  Thanks.