Filling the Well

I haven’t written in while, and I used to think that was a bad thing until today. My last post was written at the very of September, and it is now nearly the end of December. I have staring many different pieces, but I haven’t seen any of them through. Through a combination of busyness and restless I haven’t really felt much like writing. I felt guilty for not being a font of words daily, and then I remember a concept that has been repeated again and again in the course of my learning.
This is the concept of keeping your well filled. When I was in college I went to a retreat and the speaker told several parables that related to leadership skills. The one I remember most was the starving baker. The jest of it is that you cannot pour yourself out constantly without putting something back in. If you’re not feeding yourself eventually you will run out of inspiration to give away. This concept was reinforced when I read The Artists Way by Julia Cameron, in it she talks about daily refilling your well of inspiration, so that you can pour it into your art. And just a few weeks ago, at the Global Leadership Summit, I heard Bill Hybels, while talking about Passion, say that it is a leaders job to keep their own passion bucket full.
It wasn’t until today that I realized that I wasn’t being lazy or selfish by not writing, I was merely refilling a well that had been hard hit by the drought of the start of another school year and the impending holiday season.
We can easily forget that our first duty in life is to make sure we are sufficiently filled before pouring ourselves out, and it is even harder to remember that while pouring ourselves out, we still must keep filling ourselves up. There is no shame in taking a time out to refill ourselves. It’s not admission of weakness, or maybe it is, but maybe admitting why are fragile and broken isn’t a bad thing. I once heard a pastor say that all leadership is flawed leadership, but I think that all humanity is flawed humanity. We have weaknesses and we need rest.
For me this time away from writing has been very productive, I have attended a couple of conferences, built some new relationships, read some life affirming books, and built some great new habits. In stepping away from writing I was not lazy, I didn’t sit on the couch shoveling chips into my mouth. I used the time to build myself up. And that is really what filling the well is about.


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