14 March 2012
Steve Jobs on Self-Care: Keep Your Passion Kindled
Ministry people are kind of obsessed with "self-care." We talk about it a lot and, truth be told, we tend to do a much better job talking about it than actually doing it.
There are all kinds of self-care strategies out there, which can include sprititual direction, retreats, sabbaticals, setting aside time to read and reflect, travel, and continuing education. I've done all of these and they have kept me grounded and well.
Nonetheless, there is something that really bothers me about the way we usually talk about self-care.
I guess its because there's this sense that if we just do enough self-care the path of ministry will somehow be easier - that we can avoid conflict because we'll be so zen-like we'll sense it and defray it before it happens, that if we just take good care of ourselves we won't find ourselves exhausted, that if we just do enough interior work everything will be fine.
The thing is: ministry is hard. Really hard. Incredibly hard.
That's just the way it is and no amount of self-care is going to change that. And so, instead of inventing self-care strategies that try to avoid this reality, we need ones that can actually help us get through it.
Steve Jobs has some advice on this. Someone once asked him about the secret to success and this is what he said (text below):
"People say you have to have a lot of passion for what you're doing and its totally true and the reason is because its so hard that if you don't any rational person would give up. It's really hard and you have to do it over a sustained period of time. So, if you don't love it. If you're not having fun doing it. If you don't really love it, you're going to give up."
It's so hard any rational person would give up. That's ministry for you. And the key to endurance is keeping your passion kindled, your will strong, and your hope fierce. This kind of passion comes from a deep belief in what you are doing and its that belief that enables you to push through.
When that passion isn't there we are less willing to lead, to go to the hard places, and, thus, as Jobs would say, to make something "insanely great" because we know don't have enough to get over the hump. And that's okay, but you can't stay there.
Search out ways in your self-care to kindle or rekindle your passion. Go back to why you started this in the first place, surround yourself with passionate people. They don't necessarily have to be in your field. Be who you are and not who people think you should be. Trust that God wants good for you. Believe you can still change the world...because you can.
If you can't sustain or summon the passion, that's okay, but maybe its time to find something else to be passionate about.
So, is your self-care a way of engaging with reality or a way of avoiding it? How are you kindling your passion?