Realizing the well is dry is difficult to admit. It really isn’t difficult to recognize. It is difficult to admit. In yesterday’s part one of this miniseries, we defined the well as, “a way we can talk about our soul, psyche, and “sweet spot” of mind and spirit.” I would encourage you to read that post first–in order to get the most of this post. Part One was about defining the well and recognizing when it’s drying up–when we are beginning to lead on empty. Here are some ways to begin replenishing–getting whole again.
RECOGNIZE THE WATER LINES
Everyone has a normal. We know what a healthy “us” looks like and feels like. Like a drying well leaves deposits showing where the water level is normally, personal droughts do the same. We might notice we don’t laugh as much as we used to, for instance. We might be eating or spending more than usual. Sound sleep may elude us.
In such times, some introspection can help us see where drought might be starting. Observing water lines doesn’t mean we are necessarily in drought. It is normal for water levels to ebb and flow in different seasons. Still, we should be able to recognize what normal is, and when we things are drying up. Then, once we’ve recognized the water lines, we should acknowledge levels are low.
CHECK THE AQUIFERS
Every person has water sources that feed the well. Wells pull water from underground aquifers (mostly)…places that store water that has worked it’s way there from rain or snow in times past. Let me suggest that most people have spiritual aquifers. They could be categorized in a number of ways. However, must of us have at least these spiritual aquifers:
- SPIRITUAL – This is the most important and the most subject to sabotage by the Enemy. This is the largest and only essential aquifer. It is irreplaceable, and feeds all the others. Key question: “Am I more devoted to Jesus than I was six months ago?”
- EMOTIONAL – Here, think relationships that are healthy. Do you have real friendship(s) and are you at peace with your immediate family and family of origin. How about your self-image? Do you feel depressed often?
- INTELLECTUAL – Our minds are vital to our sense of well-being. Not only does God’s Word say we can be transformed by its renewal (Rom. 12), our mind is the part of us that helps recognize and solve problems. Key question: “What did I read/listen to this week that taught me something interesting?” How am I caring for my mind?
- PHYSICAL – Our health – weight, diet, exercise, taking care of ourselves. Can someone say, SLEEP?
- RECREATIONAL – The things that we enjoy. Hobbies, play, sex (yes, I just said that), etc. This aquifer is more important for those who live or work in “heavy” situations.
Don’t be afraid to engage other people if you don’t really know how you are doing in one of these areas. Sometimes a spouse, mentor, or trusted friend are willing to admit things about us that we aren’t. Don’t just ask them to be critical…trust their positive words as well.
Sometimes wellsprings get obstructed. Sometimes it isn’t a lack of water–but obstructions to the water supply causing the well to dry up. Sin is the most serious. The right response here is confession, repentance, and restoration in the Holy Spirit.
There are two others that are blind spots for many pastors. The first is simply having too many negative inputs. Some of us can hardly breathe because we get so much of others’ second-hand smoke. If this is the case, do everything you can to remove unnecessary negative inputs from your life. Stop posting volatile social media posts that bring backlash, resign toxic positions of leadership or participation, and spend less time with irritable, cynical people. I’m not suggesting you should completely shelter yourself–rather, you should steward yourself.
The second obstruction is that created by a chaotic mind. Chaotic minds usually come from trying to use our minds to hold information rather than process or create information. What you need is a clear mind and a strong organizational system. Our minds will hold anything we are afraid we will forget or want to worry about. The only solution I’ve found is a really good system.
It can’t simply be a system–it must work.
All the time. When you’re exhausted. When you’re sick. Time and task management guru David Allen says, “Your system has to be better than your mind for your mind to let go.” Some pastors lack a credible organizational system, so, their mind is full of tasks and “oughtas.” Get that stuff out of there and into a system that works even when you are sick and tired.
In the next post, I will share my system with you.