I remember when I was first falling in love with my husband. I remember the feelings of excitement, wonder, and amazement. I was so mesmerized by spending time with him, and I remember staying up late thinking about our dates and the special times we shared together. It did not matter if we were spending time at Steak and Shake or walking a two mile hike. I loved the time we spent together (I still love the time!). As I think about this experience in my life, I also think about my relationship with Jesus Christ.
As a leader, I often struggle with burn out and overworking. I have a Type A personality, and am always taking on projects. I love being involved, and I am good at getting things done, but sometimes I feel exhausted. I often have to come back to the center of my life: Jesus, and remember why I am who I am and why I do what I do. I have to think about grace and mercy. I have to think about the Biblical mandate for Sabbath rest. I also have to daily reflect on my love for Jesus Christ. As a chaplain, I experience multiple traumas a week. I am constantly surrounded by suffering, hurting, crying, and pain. In this type of environment, I have to remind myself of my love for Jesus and my love for people. I often go back to Matthew 22:34-39, and think about the commandment to love God with all of who I am, and the second commandment to love my neighbor. When I put these two commandments into practice into my life, some of the things which are not priority fall to the way side, and I feel less stressed. Working cannot be at the center, my love for Jesus must be at the center of who I am and the things I have the opportunity to do.
As a leader, I also struggle with perfectionism. I always want things to be 100%. I hold myself and others to unrealistic expectations at times. If perfectionism is at my center, I will always feel frustrated and burnt out. I will always feel like I cannot live up to standards which no one but myself creates. Jesus has to be at the center, and the love I have for my creator has to be the focus. Perfectionism is crippling, but the love of Jesus calls me to the next level!
I have also struggled in the past with fear. As a Pentecostal Christian I heard a lot about hell and holiness. I always heard hell fire and brimstone messages, and I somehow learned along the way whether intentional or unintentional to let fear be at the center. I constantly have to get this doctrine out of my being, because fear is not the greatest motivator. Fear will lead people to fail, to become bitter, and to anger. I do not live as a Christian because I am afraid of hell, rather I live as a Christian because I love Jesus more than anything or anyone else. I’m addicted to Jesus. I’m excited, in wonder, and in constant amazement by the love and acts of the Holy Spirit within my life. I want to spend time with the Holy Spirit, because I am constantly falling into greater depths of love.
In the end, we as leaders will struggle with different things being at the center of our world. I hope we can find the courage to always have the love of Jesus Christ at the center. Everything else will fall and fade away. Love is what will keep us. Rules, legislation, and legalism will change. Love is what will sustain us. Our love for Jesus must be the cornerstone of the foundation of our discipleship, life, calling, and well…everything!
Copyright 2014 Crystal Schmalz