Yesterday, 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.)