5 practical steps to care for a tired soul

By Dustin Manis

In recent conversations with ministry leaders and pastors, I’ve noticed a consistent reality. They’re all unbelievably tired.  

Many pastors and ministry leaders today are running on empty. Serving God. Serving others. Walking alongside people in life’s hardest moments. Burdened with impossible levels of responsibility and unrelenting “to-do” lists, they’re physically and spiritually depleted. Can you relate?

As a nonprofit Christian ministry leader, I’m all too familiar with the tired soul. Articulate vision. Determine strategy. Raise money. Oversee mission. Manage people. Get results. Articulate newer and bigger vision, increase revenue, gain more impact. It can become an exhausting cycle.

If you work in disaster relief, healthcare, counseling, physical and emotional abuse, or mental health, how’s your mental health? You can be good at caring for others and not very good at watching over your own soul.

You are your own soul’s steward. You’ve been entrusted with its care, and it’s your responsibility to meet its needs. God urges, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).

When your soul needs refreshing, there are several steps we can take to ensure that we don’t grow weary while doing good.

Don’t resist good rest 

There’s an important discipline that even some of the most seasoned pastors, leaders and givers have a difficult time embracing — the importance of rest. Some might even feel that rest is akin to laziness, self-centeredness or sin. Yet, God set the example for us after He created the world. Jesus took time to rest and encouraged it, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31).

Leadership expert John Maxwell teaches that learning to rest is one of the best investments a leader can make. Rest isn’t abandoning what’s important; it’s exactly the opposite. Rest is a part of stewarding what God has called you to do. It’s a time to repair, refresh and receive.

Your soul needs rest so that God can restore your body and soul. Psalm 62:1 tells us, “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him”. Fuel up so you can serve well.

Find strength in solitude

When our minds and bodies are overextended, overwhelmed and overcommitted, we often miss that sweet, gentle whisper of our Father’s voice.

How do we strengthen our souls? Not by doing more but through intentional solitude and silence. You need time alone without any other voice but the one of your Creator. This is how you strengthen your soul.

After many years in ministry, I became a victim of the well-meaning, results-oriented, high-productivity culture I created. Often, I would say, “I don’t rest well.” And I didn’t. This changed for me when I made rest and soul-care a part of the regular rhythm of my life.

“My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:2)

That is a great question. If your soul is thirsty for God, when can you go and meet with Him?

Consider a sabbatical

If your main job as a leader is to hear from God, establish direction for your team and know which side of the boat to cast your net on, you must be intentional about making time to get quiet before Him.

Finding time to disconnect in small doses is important, but it’s also important to think bigger. I recommend taking a sabbatical every seven years for a full three months.

If your mind immediately rushed to all that you could accomplish, produce and contribute to your organization if you had three months without meetings or interruptions, then you’re missing the point of this type of sabbatical. This is not the time to dive into research and write a book or work on your strategic plan; it is a time not to do but to be, to be still before the Lord Himself.

The goal is to spend time with God. Unplug. Disconnect from your organization. Court the Lord. Heal up. Refuel. Hear from your Heavenly Father. Prepare to come back and give your organization the vertical lift it needs.

Mark the calendar for a personal spiritual retreat 

A sabbatical has great value, but we need intimate time with the Lord on an ongoing basis.

“I drop my sword and cry for just a while…”

I remember this line from a Twila Paris song from the 80s, “The Warrior is a Child.” We’re all in a spiritual battle and the closer you are to the frontlines, the more shrapnel you’re going to get hit with. Sometimes we need to put the sword down for a little while, take a strategic retreat with the Lord and then pick our sword back up and jump back into the battle.

Incorporating intentional blocks of time with the Lord into our regular schedules allow us to push pause on the rush of our schedules so we can focus on God, get into His Word and listen to what He’s telling us.

One week a year, two days a quarter or both, get away. Go to a hotel, cabin, Airbnb or campsite. It doesn’t matter where, really, as long as it’s time invested for just you, a Bible, a yellow pad and God. When it’s impossible to get away completely, I recommend spending at least one workday each month away from your office. Turn off your notifications. Use it as either a personal spiritual retreat, a strategic thinking day or both. Your soul will thank you for it.

Critique your daily devotional

I’ve read that CEOs spend more than 70 percent of their time in meetings. As a ministry or essential leader, you also need to schedule meetings with God. As believers and leaders, we all understand the importance of a regular quiet time, but man, are we busy working for the Lord.

Withdraw from the busyness for daily solitude and spiritual reflection. Do it for your soul, not your job. We all need Bible study that’s not for the next sermon or promotion of our ministry. Prioritize time that’s entirely about you and Him. This is precious time that goes beyond asking for something and focuses on being with Someone.

Taking steps to care for a tired soul will bring you straight to the heart of God. Make space for intimate, unrushed time to place your mind, your heart, your soul and your life fully before the Lord. Listen for His direction, conviction, wisdom, and insight. Abide in Him, guard your soul and get some rest.

Dustin Manis serves as President & CEO at Reaching Souls International. This year, Reaching Souls will see 10 million decisions to follow Christ and plant 6,000 churches through 2,500 National Missionaries in 14 countries. Dustin holds an MA in Philanthropy and Development.


2 Responses to “5 practical steps to care for a tired soul”

  1. Gladys J. Willis

    Thanks for the wisdom you’ve shared in this article. As a pastor for almost six years for a small church that was founded by my late husband and me fifty-five years ago, I’ve been truly blessed by what I’ve read here. Peace and blessings to you.

Leave a Reply

HTML Snippets Powered By : XYZScripts.com