Greetings and Christ’s peace to you all!
The topic of our resources this week is that of stress, and how we’re taking care of ourselves as we’re taking care of others. In my work with leaders in human services agencies supporting the needs of people on the front lines of the pandemic, the issue of stress and burn-out comes up repeatedly. Following up on the reflection from last week on servant leadership, which tends to emphasize the kenotic and altruistic dimensions of leadership, a corollary topic is how we model good leadership by taking appropriate care of ourselves. While Jesus tells us in the Great Commandment to love God with our whole heart, and love our neighbor as ourselves, St. Augustine had a singular impact on our Christian notion of this tripartite nature of love. His focus on the sin of concupiscence had a powerful stifling effect on the topic of healthy self-love and compassion, as if all self-care is selfish. As a result, our Christianity can sometimes manifest with a certain masochistic tendency suggesting that complete selflessness is not only possible but necessary. However, when we acknowledge the nature of our human relationships, we can discern a profound interdependence, so that a healthy and discerning care of self is also a benefit to all those with whom we deeply connected.
As we reckon with the experience of stress in our lives as leaders, I encourage you to read the article linked here, and to consider what lessons it may have for you at this moment. Please let me know if you are interested in further resources along these lines.
What implications does this article does this have for you as you undertake your roles of service and responsibility? Are there any implications for your teams?