I find myself in the slower season of my ministry year. For me, January to August is a season where I live in utter busyness – fighting tiredness, experiencing adrenaline rushes, and disciplining my life to accomplish more that I think I can. When September hits, I shift into an administrative mode which feels like I am suddenly moving from 5th gear to 1st gear. The temptation for me is to convince myself that I deserve a “coasting season” – one where I recoup and pay less attention to the demanding disciplines needed during the season of chaos. When the storm is done, many people shift gears radically and shift into what I call the “downhill coast”. For those unfamiliar with the term “downhill coast”, it is what many novice cyclists do when they hit a decline – stop pedaling and allow the hill to bring the necessary speed to their ride so they can breathe!
For those who have ever coasted downhill on their bicycle, it is clear that perhaps this is not the best practice. The reason is simple…often the decline is followed by an incline. AND when one has coasted down the decline, the incline is difficult to get up. The better practice for cyclists is to keep pedaling down hill in order to create a proper momentum for the incline. Downhill pedaling is not as rigorous as normal, but is still needed if one is to make it up the next hills. Which brings me to my point – in seasons that follow the “storms” of leadership / ministry, the necessity to recoup can be equated with the excuse to “stop pedaling” – stop the disciplines that have been there through the busy times. When leaders give into this practice, they will find themselves unprepared for the next uphill season. Each leader must have a set of “pedal” disciplines in their life that continues regardless of the uphill or downhill typography of life.
As leaders recoup from tough seasons, it is not past disciplines that need to cease. Instead, we need to add new ones – reflection, reading, planning, etc. The truth is, these should be part of all seasons but may get extra “pedal power” during the downhill seasons. As we keep consistent with all our disciplines (pedal power) in all seasons, the uphill parts of the journey will not leave us huffing and puffing!