Today we welcome a fresh voice to the Converge Coaching blog… Dave Barringer. Dave is a great husband to his wife Anne, and a great dad to his children Cammy and Ethan. He is also a lead pastor, and a good friend. Hope you enjoy his contribution ~ John
Physical fitness and the church leader has been a touchy subject. Preaching, staff development, visitation, and the like are all important, but our physical bodies rarely, if ever, carry any semblance of importance. We separate and/or disregard our physical self and live with empty physical tanks.
Like Paul says, I don’t claim to have figured it all out or reached perfection…” (Philippians 3:12), but what I share with you, I’ve gleaned from my own challenges in to keep my physical tank full.
Stop the Separation
Why do leaders form a divide between the spiritual and physical? We tend to place less emphasis on the physical and place more emphasis on “spiritual” things. But by doing that, we fail to realize they’re intrinsically connected. In the creation of humanity, God formed the physical first (Genesis 2:7) before he breathed life. Would it not be appropriate to put a high priority upon that which he “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps. 139:14)?
Myth of Ownership
My first car was an 86 Ford Tempo. Of all the memories of it, there’s one lingering thought about it: The car didn’t belong to me. It belonged to my parents. Therefore, my attitude towards it was different than if I owned it.
The myth of “ownership” is, perhaps, why leaders refuse to keep their physical tank in a healthy place. Ownership can develop entitlement. “I can do whatever I want because it’s MY body.” From schedules to pace to what we consume, we push our bodies to limits and we forget one essential truth:
You are not your own.
1 Corinthians 6:19b-20, says, “…You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” The context forms a timeless principle. You don’t walk in ownership of your body; you walk in stewardship.
Everything you do uses what’s in your tank. And the greater the pace you live and the greater load you carry, the greater quantities you draw from your tank. Most car people will tell you bad fuel reduces performance and can ruin your engine. And it’s no different for you.
What do you put in your physical tank? Coffee is good, but it’s no replacement for a healthy meal. A power nap is nice, but it’s can’t replace proper sleep. Seeing your spouse for a few token moments isn’t quality time. I wonder if poor leadership has more to do with how we fill our physical tanks than we realize.
How can leaders fill the physical tank? Before you pull out the “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” DVD and shop for kale, consider this:
Regain the Heart of a Steward
1 – Healthy Rest
Rest is recovery. Without it, you push your bodies dangerously close to a breaking point. Even fitness gurus will tell you if your body doesn’t have time to recover, it’ll never be fully healthy. Rest isn’t a waste of time. In fact, I’ve come to discover that it may be the most fruitful activity you can do for your leadership. A rested leader is a productive leader.
2 – Healthy Consumption
Filling up with the right fuel isn’t about suppressing my cravings but stewarding consumption. Eating correctly ensures you are getting proper nutrition, in the proper amounts, at the proper times. Talk to a nutritionist. Set limits on how much you’re eating and when to stop eating in the evening to ensure proper digestion.
3 – Healthy Activities
A couple years ago, I felt the Holy Spirit challenge me. If I had time to pray? Then I had time to run. My running has become a prayer closet to talk and hear from God. When the Holy Spirit speaks to me, I stop and type it into my phone. Start to run, walk, bike, or get a workout video. It doesn’t matter. What matters is you need to get out of the office and get active.
The people you lead NEED you to fill the physical tank properly. Your spouse (and family) needs you to keep this tank full. Regain the heart of a steward and care for the body God has blessed you with. Remember, God “fearfully and wonderfully made you.” Perhaps we should reciprocate the effort to care for what he created.
Be a steward and keep your physical tank full.