I saw a skit several years ago in which the role of a youth leader was depicted as a boxer battling Satan. Toward the end of the skit, Satan delivered a knockout punch to the head and the youth leader fell, sprawled out on the ring floor. It looked as if Satan had won—until a student stood up and yelled: “Get up! I need you!” That was enough to inspire the youth leader to rise up (albeit slowly) and start swinging some more.
I don’t know if you’re feeling “beat up” lately, but I do know students need you to stay healthy and strong. I heard it said years ago that the great paradox about true leadership in ministry is this: It’s all about you—and yet it’s not about you at all.
I think that’s part of what Jesus is getting at in Luke 10:27 when He shares the two greatest commandments: “He answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
It’s all about others and, more importantly, God. It may seem counterintuitive, but devoting yourself to God and others—in four key areas—will lead to you staying strong personally. This article will cover the first two of these key areas.
“‘…with all your heart and with all your soul…’”
- Spend at least 12 minutes a day praying. According to Dr. Caroline Leaf: “It has been found that 12 minutes of daily, focused prayer over an 8-week period can change the brain to such an extent that it can be measured on a brain scan.”
Tip: You can set prayer reminder notifications through the Life in 6 Words app.
- Spend at least 12 minutes a day in God’s Word.
Tip: Consider listening to the Bible (try the Streetlights app), trying a new version, or going through a yearlong plan (especially if you’re in a rut).
- Memorize a new Bible verse every month.
Tip: For help, try the Verses memory app at getverses.com.
“‘…with all your strength…’”
It’s hard to minister to others when you’re not physically healthy. Fortunately, making even small changes to take better care of your body can pay big dividends.
- Eat well.
Tip: Have an alternative plan on “pizza nights.”
Tip: Drink lots of water.
- Get exercise.
Tip: Do whatever it takes to move more—take a walk every day, recruit a workout buddy, or find a physical activity you enjoy.
Tip: Make it convenient.
- Sleep more.
Tip: Commit to bedtime or at least a time to unplug.
Tip: Utilize settings on your phone to reduce notifications, minimize screen time, and even set an alarm to go to bed.
What’s one thing you want to do this week to care for yourself spiritually? Physically? In the next article, we’ll cover the mental and relational ways we can continue to stay strong so we can “keep swinging” against our enemy.