A leader without self-management is like a train without a track. No matter how high-tech or luxuriously built the train may be, if this potential is not harnessed within the rails of a track, the train won’t reach its destination. Self-management is a great challenge; it is however, at the same time foundational for a focused life of effective ministry. It can be especially difficult for leaders to set aside the tasks and responsibility of others to deal with their own issues. Depending on their personality, people often find it difficult to shape their lives in a strategic and disciplined manner. But as leaders, “We should invest 50 per cent of our leadership amperage in self-leadership…“ (Bill Hybels). At the very latest when one assumes responsibility for others and not only for oneself, basic self-management should be already in place and should be continually developed.
As we open the Bible, we find numerous examples of leaders who have realized their need to lead themselves and that their inner nature had a direct impact not only on their own lives, but also on the lives of their followers. Before Jesus began his ministry, God prepared Jesus’ inner being for ministry. “And immediately the Spirit drove him out into the desert. And he was in the wilderness for forty days, and was tempted by Satan…” (Mk 1:12). Later in his ministry, we see that Jesus balanced intense phases of ministry with times of solitude, silence, prayer and fasting. He knew that he had to regularly strengthen his faith by having time with his father – to stay connected to who he was and God’s will for his life.