Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, said, “Change is the only constant in life.” Our lives are continually changing. Sometimes it can feel like we’re in a constant state of transition. We can all likely relate, leading a school and constantly going from one thing to the next. We’re all trying to discover the balance between work, home life, family, and friends. Life and transition can feel exhausting, life-giving, or both.
Jesus came to give life and life abundantly. We are able to ask for and receive overflowing grace when we need it. Today, we want to share three keys for meeting your needs and how to flourish in the midst of change. May these keys help unlock pathways to fullness of life and to thrive in this season!
Bring It Back to the Basics
So often life is full of doing what you “need to do”. Your schedule says to lead a school, serve or work at church, do your job, and stay present with family and friends. It’s clear to understand the obligations and expectations from those around you. But how often do you check in with your heart? Is your heart in a place to thrive? Are you feeling loved, cared for and safe enough to process?
Typically your first instinct is to check your vitals. You know you need to meet your body’s primary physical needs: to get enough sleep, eat nutritious food and hydrate. But your emotional needs are just as important.
Many times your heart needs more of the basic necessities in life: to feel known, to be seen, to love and to be loved. These basics are the foundational elements that make up who you are. The little things that bring joy and life. The simple treasures in life that bring a smile to your face when things are difficult.
You likely know these truths and often teach them to your students. When the busyness of life catches up to you, it can become harder to practically live out though. John C. Maxwell, leadership expert and author of Developing the Leader Within You 2.0 says, “Leaders are responsible to help themselves and make themselves better before they try to help others.”
It’s crucial as school leaders to recognize the value of what your heart needs and how you get those needs met. While it may be easier to be the supplier of the needs of those around you, you can’t afford to sacrifice your own. There’s wisdom in the old adage, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.”
Define Your Needs
In addition to knowing your basic necessities, it’s also important to know what your heart needs. In busy seasons, it can be easy to allow chaos to trigger survival mode tendencies. Rather than slipping into survival mode, take time to care for your own needs with kindness and love toward yourself.
Each person is unique. Your requirements can look vastly different depending on personality and varying circumstances. Your needs and demands from students, leadership teams and families can change. What brought you life in the past season may not refresh you in the current season.
Your list of needs may be to spend time with friends in community, letting them speak into your life and love on you. It may look like being around the people who remind you who you are and where you are going in life. Perhaps you need to find a hobby or activity that brings fun and enjoyment. You could put together a puzzle, stay in and start a new documentary, or find time to paint or write. This may look like a movie night, going on a walk with a friend or going to get ice cream with your family. For others, it may look like exercising or going on a day trip to a nearby city. What brings you life?
This might seem obvious, but you always need to draw near to Jesus and spend time in His Presence. At times it may be difficult to find space in your schedule, but make time. You may need time to journal and soak in His Presence. Perhaps for you, this looks like spending more time reading the Word. It may seem counter-productive to slow down and be still, but it’s the very thing that can bring peace and vision to you. Find time to be with the Lord during transition. It might even be an opportunity to creatively pursue intimacy with Him.
With this in mind, do you know what you need? Do you know what your heart needs? It’s okay if you aren’t able to answer these questions right now, but find time to reflect. Take time to reflect on your current needs and then to make those needs a priority in your life. As you identify these priorities, add them to your calendar to ensure you have space to get these needs met. Remember, your calendar should help you run your life, not run your life.
Make the Investment
Now that you understand your basic necessities and needs, make the investment. You will have to make choices, sometimes even daily, to keep your heart and mind in alignment.
You need to believe that your needs are worth the time, the money, and the energy. You are a worthy investment!
These investments may become sacrifices, hence the word, “investment”. The dictionary defines “invest” as: “to devote (one’s time, effort, or energy) to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a worthwhile result.” You get to invest in and say “yes” to the things that will bring a profitable return in your life. Your “yes” is invaluable to your own heart and life, but also to who you lead, the families you love, and the people you serve. Jesus came for abundant life, (John 10:10); it’s paramount your “yes” goes to the things and people that bring life and joy.
Remember, every “no” is really just a “yes” to something better. Your choices matter and your decisions can and will influence how you embrace change.
Finding unique ways for meeting your needs is something you need to walk through. Transition seasons will impact your personal life and the people within your schools. These keys can help you thrive and love yourself well, no matter your circumstances. May you be blessed to thrive in this season as you go after connection and whatever makes you come alive.