August 16, 2017 by Dr. Alan Ahlgrim
Even the best life is a stressed life these days. The constant bombardment of noise, nonstop media-driven bad news and the unrelenting busyness of ordinary life all combine to drain my emotional tank. By contrast, three types of consistent activities especially fuel and replenish me.
One of the books I’ve recently appreciated is simply entitled Reset. It’s subtitled Living a Grace Paced Life in a Burnout Culture by David Murray. At first I didn’t realize just how beneficial the book would be, but now I’m ready to recommend it far and wide―especially for highly stressed leaders. Here are my own 3 R’s anyone can use to reset themselves for living a grace paced life.
1. Read more good books and watch less TV. Lately I’ve noted that reading real paper books vs. digital books is far more relaxing and rewarding. David Grothaus observed, “Reading doesn’t just improve your knowledge, it can help fight depression, make you more confident, empathetic, and a better decision maker.” He confessed that his life was in a rut until he read the classic tome, War and Peace. The 1,500 pages took him two months to conquer, but in a weird and unexpected way it sort of gave him his life back. Among the 30 books I’ve appreciated so far this year were two surprising jewels of history. I highly recommend them both, Undaunted Courage, by Stephen Ambrose about the Lewis and Clark expedition to open the American West, and The Man Who Could Be King by John Miller, about George Washington and how this amazing man was used to save the nation.
2. “wRite” to recall and reflect well. In the Doctor of Ministry class I taught at Emmanuel Christian Seminary last month, I not only required the students to journal, but encouraged them take handwritten notes in class. What we now know is that writing engages a different part of the brain and actually helps with retention. Several of the students mentioned how surprisingly beneficial that simple tactile shift was for them. My own daily journaling has been a lifesaver for me and a source of continual insight whenever I pause to ponder and review.
3. Relate face-to-face, not via Facebook! I’m increasingly burdened by the unrelentingness of social media. I find Facebook not only to be a chore but a drain on my spirit. Frankly, if it weren’t for family updates and occasionally checking on friends around the country, I would probably cut the Facebook cord completely. That’s because most on-line stuff leaves me feeling depleted and sometimes even mildly depressed. By contrast, face-to-face connections are just the opposite―they feed and refresh me. I’d love to tell you more about the deep rewards of my regular connections, but I’m heading out to lunch with my friend and successor, Shan Moyers, right now. I always treasure time with guys like Shan because when we finish up I not only feel more grateful, but more energized!
What might you do to reset for greater health and fulfillment? This I know . . . a year from today, the news you are consuming right now, the entertainment you are experiencing and the professional success you are achieving will do little to enrich your soul. What will change things for the better and add value to your life? It will be the books you Read, the “wRiting” and reflecting you do and the rewarding Relationships that you enjoy. Are you ready to reset?
Blessings on your head and heart,
Director of Pastor Care
Blessing Ranch Ministries