“Refuel My Soul”

In reading a reflective essay from Ruth Baley Harton called “When Leaders Lose their Souls,” it reminded me so much of myself. See, much of my life, and I believe many others who have grown up in houses of worship, have a servant’s heart. They give of themselves often, unfortunately sometimes to the detriment of themselves. In the midst of giving, we miss the true purpose of why, and sometimes even lose our own identity in the process. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it was evident that many of us were tied to the routine of service, i.e., rehearsals, church meetings, event planning, etc., that when all of that is stripped away from us, what are we left with? We had to search deep to realize that while our realities has changed, our souls were missing. As the article states, the writer states her teacher Bob Mulholland mentioned the soul is “the place where God is present to you.”

Unfortunately, over time, my soul has felt empty. While I believe that God has revealed His purpose in my life, oftentimes the “business of service” becomes overshadowed by its purpose. In addition, we have to remember that we can’t give from an empty vessel. So many times, persons who have a servant’s heart don’t take time to heal, refuel, and regenerate ourselves. Just like we have to take time to refuel our vehicle when our tanks run low, so should we do with our soul. I recall multiple times being stubborn and waiting until the last minute to go get gas in my vehicle, sometimes even waiting until it says “refuel” before I take it in. Now, I can clearly see on the dashboard how many miles I have left in my tank, and I keep forging ahead, knowing that there’s always a little more available than what the dashboard says. For many of us who are servant leaders, we move like this, sometimes to our own detriment. We become compassion fatigued, becoming indifferent to people’s needs or suffering. We become bitter because we don’t see ourselves progressing as compared to others, especially knowing the sacrifices made in serving others. We take advantage of the positive relationships in our lives because of the giving, which comes as a detriment to those relationships. Our soul tanks are on REFUEL and are on empty!

We have to learn how to refill our soul. Attending a faith service isn’t solely going to do it. Helping someone else isn’t going to do it. Praying ritualistic prayers isn’t going to solely do it. It’s the time we personally spend with our God. Not the time in service to others, or in planning events. But, what time do we give to our relationship with God. It’s during that time of prayer, reflection, journaling, reading His word, or meditating, that our souls are filled. We have to value that time more than our time in service. It's during this time that God is most present with us and continues to reveal His purpose in our lives. It’s this time that we are refueled, ready for service to others, or in some ways, ready for others to pour into us.

Footnote: “When Leaders Lose their Soul.” Ruth Baley Harton. Transforming Center. https://transformingcenter.org/leadership-journey/when-leaders-lose-their-souls/.

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