We pastors are some of the worst when it comes to taking care of ourselves. Our position in the lives of others puts us at risk. While directing and caring for the souls of others we neglect our own. We exercise spiritual authority so much we hardly ever get a chance to practice the submission of our own souls. We’re so used to being in charge that we actually grow to resist anyone who would exercise spiritual authority over us. We listen but only what we want to hear, picking and choosing what we think is best for us.
This goes largely unnoticed while our inner lives become messy and fall into disrepair. Our prayer life grinds to a halt. Our faith weakens. We fall prey to pride, anger or cynicism. We become shopworn and soul-weary. Eventually we burn out.
Pastor, who takes care of you? Have you given anybody else access to your inner self? Do you have anyone who can speak objectively and honestly into your life? Most of you don’t. Many of you have adopted a “just Jesus and me” approach to managing the private affairs of your souls. How’s that working out?
Speaking for myself, I can’t go it alone. I’ve tried it. It doesn’t work. When it comes to my own soul my judgment is weak. I’m prone to self-deception. I can’t guide my spiritual life all by myself. I need someone to check it. The help of a coach or a spiritual director has become indispensible. I believe every pastor should have one or the other. To quote a wise sage, “Our spiritual sanity requires it”.