Sometimes we need to press pause and check how we are doing. Check our gauges to make sure we are firing on all cylinders!
Just so blessed by reading Dane Ortlund’s Gentle and Lowly – it was like balm for the soul last autumn. The book is centred on Christ’s words in Matt 11:28-30
In our culture we like to know what the bottom line is – the thing we are going to take away.
In Jesus time it was different! They often wrote and said things where the middle line(s) are what we would call the bottom line. If you are theologically minded – that’s called chiasm.
Each line has a parallel line in the passage or poem, heading to the main point which is in the middle not the end.
Easier seen than explained…
The “Bottom line” from this passage is Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart.
Because of that, if you weary and burdened – you will find rest from Jesus.
Lockdowns are exhausting emotionally, relationally, spiritually. I for one, miss being with people. I’m an extrovert by nature – energised by a room/garden full of people.
Jesus wants to give us rest – not really a snooze on a Sunday afternoon – more like relief from our burdens and a light and easy load.
In these verses
Yoke – wooden bar that attached two oxen together so you get the power from them both. We get the power of Jesus to keep us going
Gentle and lowly in heart. Heart is the centre of our being. Jesus heart is gentle and lowly.
As Dane Ortlund puts it, Jesus is therefore “Not trigger happy, harsh, reactionary, easily exasperated. He is the most understanding person in the universe. The posture most natural to him is not a pointed finger but open arms.”
Lowly overlaps gentle, and it means humble. Jesus is the most accessible person in the universe! He is glorious and powerful and holy AND totally accessible!
Come to Him and he gives you rest – he gives us relief!
So with that background…
Self-leadership is hard! Leading yourself well especially in a really disorienting season is hard. The hardest person to lead is yourself!!!
It takes some self-awareness to lead yourself and recognise when the yoke is hard and the burden is heavy. Many will be acutely aware of burdens and maybe even a little burnout in this season.
So this article will help us check our gauges, so that we can get that rest, that relief that Christ offers in every area of our lives..
Car Engine has some gauges – fuel, tacho, water temp, oil level and so on. Keep an eye on them or things go wrong.
Let us check our gauges so we know where we need Jesus’ gentle and lowly heart to give us rest!
Grab a piece of paper and draw 5 circles. Or download the image below!
Label them Physical, Mental, Emotional, Relational and Spiritual. E on the left and F on the right.
As we go through the 5 gauges in this article, why not mark your levels with a direction of travel.
When your car fuel gauge is empty, the tank needs filling and that is pretty quick to do. When your battery goes flat, you can do a jump start to get going, but it needs a good trickle charge. Same with us. Some of the gauges can be topped up quickly and some of them need constant trickle charging!
Comedian Marcus Brigstock complained that all his clothes have shrunk in the lockdown!
During the pandemic 30% increase in alcohol sales – people relieving boredom with alcohol.
Paul wrote that physical training is of some value (1 Tim 4:8)
Greed is idolatry Col 3:5
Jesus needed a rest by a well after a journey John 4
This physical gauge is about how are you are doing with these:
- Sleep – need 7-8hours a night
- Food – good diet and not too much/too little
- Managing health conditions
How are you doing with the physical gauge?
I don’t mean mental health – we’ll put that in the emotional gauge.
How are you feeding your mind? What are you thinking about and learning?
What are you reading/listening to/watching/ learning?
Not all readers are leaders, but leaders are readers (or listeners!)
Here’s the books that have fueled me recently…
- Gentle and lowly by Dane Ortlund
- A resilient life by Gordon MacDonald – long haul
- Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer
I’m learning Italian – learning a language or musical instrument also keeps the mind growing!!
Leadership is draining, people are draining, lockdowns are draining, Zoom is draining
Intensive Ministry Activities – confrontation, problem solving, leadership meetings, counselling, Zoom coaching, deliverance… anything that is not your primary gift mix. All intensive and draining.
This gauge is definitely one that needs trickle charging.
Some signs it is low
- you are feeling more vulnerable morally, certain sins are more tantalising right now,
- you are being short with people
- nagative thoughts
- feeling overwhelmed
- you just want to go to a desert island!
How do you recharge? me – bike ride in the countryside, a bath, time with friends.
Elijah 1 Kings 19:3-9 – just had an IMA facing down the prophets of Baal – drained! Needed rest, food and to meet with God in that order!!!
Being Busy is often considered to be a badge of honour. No it is not – it is the badge of burnout is coming
Jesus and the disciples paced themselves. After an IMA they would do some thing like “Jesus and the disciples went from Judea to Galilee” – 50 mile walk – 3 days of walking, taking, goofing around, resting in the afternoon, scrumping corn…
How are you doing on the emotional gauge?
The relational and emotional gauges are like the oil and water gauges
Extroverts will be missing being with people, introverts may have full tanks on this one!
Unresolved conflict will drain this one. If you take a look at Matt 5, 18 whether it’s your fault or the other persons. You are responsible to go and try and get it sorted and with help if needed.
Peopled out – some people are draining – they sap everything. Don’t spend too much time with them. Some people you input into and you can see the impact (but it still takes something out of you!), some people fire you up! Balance time with the different people you are involved with!!!
Zoom coaching and meetings can be exhausting, the social cues are different.
How are you doing on the relational gauge?
Easiest gauge to read in a lot of ways
Time with the Lord and being filled with the Spirit.
Ebb and flow with “Quiet times” sometimes very devotional, sometimes disciplined – BiOY, sometimes feel like a desert – feels like heaven is silent. Time to build resilience. Worst is when it is occasional – just not a priority. Check out my article on the five phases of your devotional life.
Filled with the Spirit – getting prayed for and soaking in Him.
How are you doing on the spiritual gauge?
Why not hook up with someone and talk through your gauges and pray for each other.