There are two temptations that I’ve struggled with in my role as small group director. Both are related, in some sense, to not taking care of myself. The first way that it’s tempting not to take care of myself is that it’s tempting to not engage in critical activities like prayer and reading scripture. The second way it’s tempting to not take care of myself is to act like a spiritual super hero.
It’s funny how we can’t escape some ways of categorizing the world, even when we know those categories are wrong. One wrong-headed category that I engage in all the time is dividing the world up into God-stuff and Not-God stuff.
There are all kinds of problems with this scheme. The problem I’m focused on right now is this: I rationalize that work I do for my small group counts as God-stuff. Since this is the same category that I place things like prayer and scripture reading, I can think ‘well, I can skip out on spending time with God today, because I spent all this time planning for Small Group.’
That’s not how it works. God expects me to do lots of stuff, I think. He wouldn’t be pleased, I think, if I decided to quit my job and let my kids go hungry so that I could pray more. Part of the way He grows us, I think, is to challenge us with increasingly complicated balancing acts.
And it is a balancing act! But when I’ve been investing time into my relationship with God I’m in a much better position to lead. Preparation or other work that feels specific to my group goes so much smoother when I’ve mantained a balance. When I fake it, and go all-out on investing all my time on these external things, it is so much more difficult. It ends up taking more time anyway.
The second way I can fail to take care of myself is by acting like a spiritual super-hero. If I see myself as to much the leader and not enough a member, I rob myself of all sorts of things.
It can be scary sometimes. I do have the fear when I’m vulnerable and honest and open that some body is going to think– or say “What right does this guy have to be running the show?”
But when I’m looking at things in the right way, I get it. The person who is vulnerable, who is admitting his fear, doubts, and failings… That is exactly the sort-of person we want running the show.