A leader is a person who must take special responsibility for what’s going on inside him or herself, inside his or her consciousness, lest the act of leadership create more harm than good.” – Parker Palmer “Leading From Within”
If you’ve been a leader for any amount of time you understand that leadership can be draining. When you are around people for any length of time the demands for your time, thoughts, and energy can drain a leader to where they are not functioning at their best.
If you want to stay healthy in leadership, a principle that you must embrace is time for solitude. I was reminded of this while reading a book called “Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership” by Ruth Haley Barton. In chapter 2, she deals with the topic of “what lies beneath” and digs into the solitude that Moses experienced in the wilderness. it struck me as she pointed out that Moses went away from Egypt and then sat down by the well. He began to experience solitude like he’d never.
His whole life was surrounded by people 24/7. As a Prince, he probably knew nothing of being alone. For most leaders we don’t do solitude well. I know I don’t, well didn’t. I hated solitude. I love people!
My first experience with solitude came on a spiritual retreat week where I went to Yosemite with some other guys in ministry. It was during this time I did my first solitude walk. Just me, Jesus, and his creation. It was more intense than I imagined. (I blogged about it before so I won’t go into detail now) Just let me say, that God spoke so loud and clear that it wrecked me to my core and I’m so glad it did. Since then I regularly practice taking times of solitude. I get away from everything, unplug from everything. No music, cellphone, or people. Just me, my Jesus and his Word.
Solitude allows me to look deep and hard. To let the Spirit dig and pry and cut out the things that should not be in my heart. It’s a time for me to repent, renew, restore and refocus on being IN Christ.
Moses did what we all must do when such awareness breaks in: we must find a way to take our whole self into God’s presence shadow side and all and wait for solitude to do its good work.” Barton. pg.34
So when is the last time you scheduled some solitude. Not for planning or preparing! Just for being in the very presence of God? DO IT NOW! YOU HEARD ME! YOU READ IT RIGHT! GET THE CALENDAR OUT NOW AND DO IT!!!