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Ministry is tough work, as time wears on, it takes a toll. Each of us desperately needs a safe place to share personal successes, doubts, and failures. We need cheerleaders, counselors and coaches for encouragement, support, and correction.

God created us for community and we are better when we’re together with refreshing people. As youth workers, we know this, we work hard to help our students experience community, but sometimes we can forget the importance of community for ourselves. Here are a few ideas for connecting with the important people in your life when you need to care for your soul.

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Maybe it’s time to take your focus off of teenagers.
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WATCH YOUR WARNING LIGHTS
Both of us are mechanical idiots, but even we know the importance of paying attention to our car’s “check engine light”. A decayed spiritual life doesn’t just appear… it decays slowly. The changes are subtle, but they’re not too difficult to detect when we are aware of the warning lights. Soul decay looks a little different for everyone, but here are a few signs that it’s time to get back on track:

..| We spend less time alone with God. We do this guided by the faulty logic: we can get more ministry done if we spend more time doing ministry.
..| We grow short on patience with problems. We become a little more critical and less forgiving of the mistakes of others.
..| We have shallow conversations with others. The busyness of life, and a weaker connection with God, keeps us from engaging with others.

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Maybe it’s time to take your focus off of teenagers.
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MAKE THE TIME
Reconnecting with a friend won’t get a “to do” item checked off of your project list. However, if you don’t do it soon, you’ll have something much worse to handle than a bloated project list. Stop making excuses and set aside some relational time to reconnect with those who refresh you.

TALK TO THE RIGHT FRIEND
Revitalizing your soul takes conversations with the right friend. Here are some qualities of that friend that we think are important:

..| safe: someone you can trust to respond in love and confidence.
..| admirable: someone you respect as a mature believer to offer solid perspective.
..| positive: someone you know to be encouraging and uplifting (a negative friend is draining and not what you need to be refreshed).

GET REAL
When you connect, talk about stuff that matters. Accountability is only as good as your honesty. Without integrity, accountability is powerless. Be open. Share like a child who has no concern for the consequence of what he just said. Fear of consequence is a killer of meaningful conversations.
 

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