LeadingSmart

Practical Stuff for Church Leaders

I Went Dark Last Week

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Last week I went dark. What the heck does that mean?

Urban dictionary defines it this way: To disappear; to become suddenly unavailable or digitally out of reach for an undefined period of time.

For me, last week, it meant...

  • I didn't check email.
  • I made sure my emails stopped forwarding to my phone.
  • I didn't carry my cell phone.
  • I didn't check any office voice mails.
  • For five days, I didn't even leave my house except for two trips to Lowe's.
  • I didn't blog. I also didn't read anyone else's blogs.
  • I didn't Twitter except for family stuff and updates about my project.

I don't do that every time I'm on vacation, but last week that is exactly what I did. It was what I needed to do for my health and sanity. I'm not saying I was over the edge (although I did have a good friend look at me and tell me, "The life has drained out of your face"), but it had been an intense ministry season for a long haul without much of a break. It was time to disconnect.

That means I missed some opportunities last week. I was not involved in some key decisions. I missed some calls and emails that needed action. I missed a writing deadline. And for a week, I was unavailable to my team.

But it also means that I'm back this week in a better frame of mind to serve and lead. I have a brighter outlook for the future and more margin in my emotional tank.

I'm not the poster child for health and balanced living. But I think it is worth asking you some questions...

  • Do you have someone in your life who can look you in the eyes and say, "Dude--you need a break!"?
  • Do you realize that you can't wait for someone else to tell you take a break. You are responsible for your health--no one else. It's great when you work in a place that also values your health (Granger is such a place), but ultimately you are responsible.
  • Do you know what fills your tank emotionally, physically and spiritually? For me, spending 50 hours last week engineering, hammering, drilling, sawing and measuring brought amazing healing and health. And doing it with my dad, being surrounded by my kids and wife, having my mom around--those relationships added to the joy.

You can't wait to take a break until the work is done or until no one else needs you. Those days will likely never come. It's possible that the best thing you can do is disappoint someone in the short-run so that you can serve them better in the long-run.

Think about it.