Are you refreshed enough to be able to refresh and encourage others?
By Doug Lehman
“The Lord is my shepherd. . . . He refreshes my soul” (Psalm 23:1a, 3a).
Life has been full of the unexpected. Routines have changed. Rhythms have been interrupted. Pressure is squeezing us on multiple fronts. There has been an underlying uncertainty that most of us have not experienced in our lifetimes. While we are all in this quagmire together, many people are looking for strength and stability from pastors and spiritual leaders.
Did you hear the psalmist? Have you lain down in green pastures recently? Are you walking beside quiet waters? Are you drinking from an overflowing cup?
Refreshment looks different for everyone. What is refreshing to one person might be frustrating to another. Bike rides at dusk, weekend hikes on newfound trails, kayaking on local streams, spending time with new friends on work projects, discovering the Father’s fresh ideas, mowing hay on my dad’s farm, and re-watching The Lord of the Rings movies are a few of the activities that refresh my soul.
May I ask: what soul-refreshing activities have you discovered or engaged in over the past few months? As a leader, are you refreshed enough to be able to refresh and encourage others?
The funny thing is, there are times I have engaged in the activities listed above, but do not feel refreshed. Why not? I have wondered. Three questions come to mind in the attempt to find out why the much-needed refreshment is not being realized.
What Is My Soul Anchored To?
In 1874, Priscilla Jane Owens wrote these words in the hymn we know as “We Have an Anchor”: “We have an anchor that keeps the soul / steadfast and sure while the billows roll / fastened to the Rock which cannot move.” The writer of Hebrews calls hope an anchor. The psalmist considers God’s instructions an anchor. Proverbs portrays wisdom as an anchor. What is life without an anchor?
I would propose that life without an anchor is lonely, chaotic, and lacks direction. Anchors provide stability, security, a starting point, and freedom. Describing an anchored soul as a freed soul may seem contradictory, but I believe we will find it difficult to truly be refreshed without the stability and the reference point an anchor provides.
Do you have an anchor? When anchored to Jesus, His living water flows into us, but John 7:38 reveals that it is actually when that living water flows out that our soul finds refreshment.
What Do I “Feed” My Soul?
Our soul-diet matters! Without disparaging any particular music genre, I find that the type of music that I listen to impacts my attitude and mindset. My wife and I recently spent two days off the media grid. When we returned, we noticed an immediate spirit of discouragement and anxiety attempting to infiltrate our souls.
Nehemiah entered a ruined Jerusalem with the walls broken and the gates burned. We need to make sure our “soul gates” remain intact and that we are opening and closing them according to Philippians 4:8, which tells us, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Sometimes we take everything in, forgetting that we live in an age of sensory overload. Our “soul gate” needs to be opened and closed strategically to allow our soul an opportunity to refresh. What we allow our souls to “feed” on not only determines refreshment levels but will ultimately determine the fruit our lives produce!
Am I Taking Time to Recharge My Soul?
Ministry leaders struggle with this. There is always one more sermon to preach and one more need to be met. Remember Jonathan, King Saul’s son? Jonathan took a moment during the battle to be refreshed with just a little honey. This refreshment gave him the strength to continue the battle while the remainder of the army struggled due to fatigue. Let’s follow Jonathan’s lead!
No matter how diligent you are about refreshing your soul, it will still get dry at some point! Our society is crying out for people who can invigorate others because they have taken time to refresh their souls. We are called to be salt and light in this world. Let’s make sure our salt retains its saltiness and our light does not grow dim.
Take a moment today to intentionally engage in an activity that brings life to your soul. By doing so you will not only invigorate yourself but have the grace to invigorate others!
About Doug Lehman
Doug and his wife, Jen, planted Overflow Community Church in 2006 where Doug continues to serve as lead elder. He is also the apostolic team leader for DOVE International’s growing network of churches in South Central Asia. Doug enjoys coaching basketball, spending time with his family, starting new ventures, and creating opportunities for others to fulfill their potential in Christ.