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The Soul Over the Goal: A Spiritual Leader's Reflection

achievement balance burnout family life fatigue goals impact longevity soul care soulcare Jun 08, 2024

In this fast-paced world full of demands and opportunities, it’s easy to get caught up in the endless cycle of setting and achieving goals. And hey, I'm a list-making, goal-setting, hour-stretching kind of person. Whether it’s growing your team, expanding your outreach programs, or increasing your influence, the pressure to succeed can be overwhelming. But in the midst of this hustle, it's important to remember that our soul is more important than our goal.

The Biblical Foundation

Jesus framed it unmistakably: "And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?" (Mark 8:36). This question is as relevant today as it was 2,000 years ago. It’s a strong reminder that no earthly achievement is worth the loss of our spiritual well-being.

Martha and Mary: Soul vs. Goal

Consider the story of Martha and Mary in Luke 10. Martha was busy with the tasks of hosting Jesus, while Mary chose to sit at His feet and listen. When Martha complained that Mary wasn’t helping, Jesus gently corrected her, saying, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her" (Luke 10:41-42).

As spiritual leaders, we often find ourselves in Martha’s shoes, consumed by the responsibilities of our roles. But Jesus reminds us that our first priority should always be to sit at His feet, to nurture our souls in His presence.

The Risk of Burnout

When we prioritize our goals over our souls, we risk burnout. King Solomon, despite his wisdom and wealth, experienced ultimate emptiness when he pursued earthly goals over his relationship with God. In Ecclesiastes 2:11, he reflects, "Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun." That's a tough place to end up after gaining a reputation as the wisest man in the world.

Solomon’s experience is a warning for us. We can achieve great things and still find ourselves spiritually depleted if we neglect our relationship with God.

Practical Steps to Prioritize Your Soul:

  1. Daily Devotion: Begin each day with quiet time in prayer and Scripture. Let God’s word be the foundation of your day, setting the tone for everything you do.

  2. Sabbath Rest: Embrace the biblical principle of Sabbath. Set aside regular time to rest and rejuvenate your spirit. This isn’t just a day off; it’s a sacred time to reconnect with God.

  3. Accountability: Surround yourself with fellow believers who can hold you accountable. Share your struggles and victories with them, and allow them to speak truth into your life.

  4. Boundaries: Learn to say no. Recognize that you can’t do everything, and that’s okay. Set healthy boundaries to protect your time with God and your family.

  5. Reflect and Reevaluate: Regularly take time to reflect on your goals and your spiritual health. Are your goals drawing you closer to God, or are they becoming idols? Adjust as necessary to keep your soul at the forefront.

As spiritual leaders, our calling is to guide others towards a deeper relationship with Christ. But we can't lead where we haven't gone. Prioritizing our souls over our goals ensures that we lead from a place of spiritual abundance, rather than burnout. Remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

 

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