Do you ever get in a slump? Or do you grow tired, or skewed, or frustrated, or apathetic, or sapped, or bored? Me too. I have some things in my life that I use to hit "refresh." When I say "hit refresh" I don't mean getting away from ministry as much as I mean righting the ship, getting back on track, reorienting myself to my calling and direction. Though there are more, here's 10 things I do to "refresh".
1. I read 2 Timothy. It's "my" book from God. It's about me, for me, and it resonates with me in a big way. So many verses ring in my ears during different circumstances in my life and ministry. I just put the text into my Sprint Centro for reference and memorization. I have few places in Scripture that God uses as often as 2 Timothy.
2. I pray under the stars. I go outside at night (late) and stare at the stars until I remember who made them. The stars speak loudly about God for me, so I look until I feel the wonder again and then I pray with a heart full. I love to walk and pray, and that's what I do. A wonderful refresher for me when I fell "cold" spiritually.
3. I have a long talk with Molly. My wife is the best. She knows how to listen and lets me bounce stuff off of her. She is helpful in so many ways, but probably is used most to throw out my new ideas to see if they make sense. Her advice is always a great guide to seeing the good vs seeing the bad. Clarity and Molly are often in the same thought, and I always look forward to the next long ministry-centered conversation.
4. I rewrite my "roles and goals." This was introduced to me through the Franklin Covey materials. I have 7 roles with 2-3 goals under each. My roles as I currently define them are 1. disciple, 2. husband, 3. father, 4. pastor, 5. evangelist, 6. writer, 7. learner. My goals change all the time. I have my roles and goals listed in my Sprint Centro for regular reference and consideration. And when I get my hands into too many unimportant roles, this helps me eliminate what isn't important.
5. I read/reread/reskim books on faith or with chapters on faith. Like Timothy I think I gravitate toward timidity, so I need to look at good stuff on risky faith, confidence in God, etc. Piper's stuff is always good. Some of McManus' stuff is helpful. Obviously I could mention a lot from Scripture that I turn to as well.
6. I call Joe and vent. Everyone need a lightning rod, a person to talk to so we can get it off our chest, talk it through, scream, whatever. Joe Thorn is that guy for me. He absorbs much of my frustrations so that it doesn't build up in me or get vomited on someone else. Often just saying stuff out loud helps me realize when I'm being a whiny baby, or when I'm thinking wrong about something. And, obviously, Joe's opinions are some of the most helpful in my life.
7. I re-listen to John Piper's "Running with the Witnesses." Ugh. I need this thing every few months. In my best Piper yell: "Does it help me run!?" Exactly. So much in my life doesn't help me run the race with endurance. Piper reminds me of that often, and usually gets me out of the muck I've waded into.
8. I listen to Chevelle. Ok, not always (but often) Chevelle. There are certain bands and singers who get my blood pumping and my head bobbing. And sometimes when I'm just in a bit of a funk and need to get a kickstart, I throw it in my headphones and regain some energy. And yes, I'll admit. Sometimes it's even "Christian" music that invigorates me in other ways. Maybe Indelible Grace stuff, or Phil Wickham, or Dave Crowder, or Derek Webb. Sure, this isn't much of a "fix," but it's for the easy stuff.
9. I re-skim my favorite books on the topic at hand. For example, if I'm struggling with something in my personal walk then I'll revisit the underlined and starred sections of my favorite books on or around the subject. I mark up my books a lot because I know I'll revisit them. Even the ones that aren't that great often are helpful in a few areas and worth revisiting.
10. I stand in front of a blank whiteboard. Actually sometimes it's a notebook, a yellow pad, a blank sheet of white paper, an index card, or something else. But most often, when I'm in a work-based funk where I'm struggling with how to fix something that keeping me frustrated, I like a blank whiteboard, a marker, a locked office door (in my house), maybe some music, and the freedom to write anything I want. The freedom of it allows me to get creative and figure my way out. I do this almost as much with a Moleskine I keep and work in over a Starbucks mocha. I also do this on occasion with a digital voice recorder, though it's more limited.
There's mine. Let me know what you do to hit "refresh."