Filling Your Bucket

The Minnesota State Fair started last week.  The unofficial mark to the beginning of the end.

The end of the glorious season of going “up north”, going to DQ, and not going inside til neighborhood kids stop playing tag when the sun finally fades at 9:00.  Biking the lakes, going without shoes and without makeup.


We estimate church attendance goes down by 30-40% in the summer and we get it.  We live in a state where the only month that hasn’t had snow in recorded history is July.

People in MN play hard in the summer.  There’s a concerted effort to fill up.  To fill up with family time, sunshine, hide-n-seek playing, tubing, and kayaking.  We do summer big.

And then all of a sudden it’s school time again and we’re all about busy and schedules and no margin.  And sure, there’s a part of us that craves the order, but with it comes the stress of too much stuff and too little time.  

It’s got me thinking about the rhythms of our lives.

Bill Hybels says, “As a leader, the best thing you bring to the table every day is a filled up bucket.” 

I’m thinking you could substitute “parent”, “teacher”, “”boss”, “coach”….or just “person” for “leader”.

As a person, the best thing you bring to the world every day [of the year!] is a filled up bucket.

So how do you do that?  If you think of some the different areas of your life – spiritual, physical, relational – what rhythms do you have that keep you replenished so that you don’t just deplete, deplete, deplete, and then madly try to fill up?

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How to Discern What’s Real (A Resource for Leaders and others)

This looks flat doesn’t it?


Every time I ride this part of this bike path I have to down-shift one.  Because it is actually a gradual, but definite, incline.

Looks can be deceiving, but when I know that truth I can adapt.

Sometimes reality is hard to discern.  Sometimes it’s difficult to accept.  And sometimes we just want to deny it.

This guy looked responsible.  Healthy.  Devoted.

Not so much.

We had a perception of his character that was not rooted in reality.

Whether it’s stress, or circumstances outside our control, or sin,

facing reality and responding is a crucial part of our formation into people who look more like Jesus.  And a crucial part of leadership development.

All that to say, I have a resource to share with you.

I’ve been helping facilitate some online classes called Leadership Institute for Transformation (LIFT) offered through the Willow Creek Association.  The class I’ve been involved with for several co-horts is called Leading For Results.  It was created and is taught by Dr. Henry Cloud, using a book he wrote called Integrity.  One of the key challenges we talk about in this class is facing negative realities and adjusting.

Here’s a little taste.

We talk about 6 sources we can use to get an accurate picture of reality and then provide this tool for self-evaluation.  Take a look at each source, consider what you have in place, and  the suggested activity.

1. Direct relationship with God

a. Mechanism currently in place:

b. Suggested activity: Spend some time in prayer asking God to remove blinders and biases regarding your ability to see the reality around you.

2. God’s word

a. Mechanism currently in place:

b. Suggested activity:  Read 2 Peter 1:5-8. Consider whether you have been truly integrating these characteristics into your leadership as planned in the first week.

3. External truths

a. Mechanism currently in place:

b. Suggested activity:  Reflect on what you have been learning from different sources of information. What does this say about your currently reality?

4. Internal Truths

a. Mechanism currently in place:

b. Suggested activity:  What’s your emotional barometer registering? What are sources of anxiety, joy, stress, peace? Find a place to write, or talk with a friend to name these realities.

5. Other people

a. Mechanism currently in place:

b. Suggested activity:  Take something that you’ve noticed or learned about yourself, or your current situation. Interview a trusted friend or colleague to give you feedback on the same topic. What do they see?

6. Your life

a. Mechanism currently in place:

b. Suggested Activity: Reflect on your overall results as a leader. What were you producing 5 years ago? Two years ago? How have you grown since then? Where would you like to grow?

c. Suggested Activity: Consider doing a 360 degree interview.

Leading for Results is only one of the classes offered.  Each course is 7 weeks long.  At the beginning of each week you receive an assignment that may include watching a video, doing some self-evaluation, a little reading, and interacting on the on-line Discussion Board.  In addition, there are two virtual classrooms each session when everyone is online at the same time interacting around material being presented.

Starting June 11t I’ll be facilitating a class called The Leader’s Soul, taught primarily by Mindy Caliguire.  You can find out more about all the LIFT classes here.   We’d love to have you jump into one!

OR…if you’re on the fence, you can join me and participate in a Virtual Classroom on May 23rd at noon CST.  Just sign on as a guest.