Tending to the Private Life of a Public Person

Doug Fields, one of the nation’s leading youth workers (behind our very own Doug Ranck of Santa Barbara, of course) declares these to be warning signs that your life is slipping toward the dark side:

  • a cluttered appearance (unless you are just naturally a really sloppy person) – your office is messy, your car is messy, you are messy … not good
  • low level paranoia – there’s this looming fear that people will find out you’re not perfect
  • you leave a series of disappointments in your wake – you miss appointments and you break commitments, without meaning to
  • excess time spent on easy, unproductive tasks – you file away the paperwork or throw a few quotes on facebook rather than plan your 18 month strategic calendar or dive into exegeting this week’s text for your sermon
  • your connections with Jesus are rare and lack depth
  • you begin skimming in relationships – like your lack of intimacy with Jesus, you begin connecting on a surface and superficial level with others
  • you’re easily discouraged

The danger in slipping toward the dark side is not so much arriving there, but the temptation to think that we can overcome the dark side simply by “doing” more.

The analogy Doug Fields uses to describe the soul of the leaders is the basement.  Our souls are either finished or unfinished depending on how we tend to them.  There are six “rooms” every leader (every person for that matter) needs to have in their basement in order to live a life that overcomes the dark side.

  1. Drive/Achievement/Motivation Room – If business is your motivation then you’re headed for a life of hurt.  Healthy people begin with the end in mind (sounds like Covey to me) and create a life that moves them toward that end.
  2. Time – Identify and track the rhythm of your time and don’t fight it, use it.  If you’re not a morning person then try to be a morning person.  Remember that every “yes” is a “no” to someone. (I think he has a book with this in the title.)
  3. Study – You need to decide if you want to study or if you want to skim.  The difference is offering your people a juicy filet mignon or taco bell meat … they can tell the difference.  If you have to, write the names of the authors you are reading in your calendar so it looks like you have an appointment with them.
  4. Spiritual Strength – You should know what life looks like when you are full and when you are empty.  What are your warning signs?  Schedule times of solitude.
  5. Refreshment – Read Exodus 31:17 and ask, How do I refresh myself?  Make sure you practice a regular sabbath.
  6. Calling – Know that you are called to this ministry.  At the same time, be in touch with your own depravity and know that you are always only one bad decision from shipwrecking your calling.  Know your limits and get help when you need it.
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