15 May 2023

Colonel Jenine Main: What renews your strength?

Colonel Jenine Main

A headshot photo of Jenine Main wearing Salvation Army uniform

Territorial Secretary for Leader Development Colonel Jenine Main reflects on how she looks after her wellbeing.

Psalm 18:19 says: ‘He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.’ The concept of God bringing us to a spacious place is often repeated in the Old Testament, and often follows a time of great exhaustion, challenge, trial or opposition.

These verses are a great reminder that God does not intend for us to constantly live at full pace. There are times when he will want to bring us to a ‘spacious place’ where we can breathe deeply; this is his desire because he delights in us.

If we are self-aware, we will know the signs that inform us to slow down. The signals for me are when I feel the pressure of having too much to do in too little time, when I am always running late, making poor decisions, apologising for forgetting things and when I become constantly distracted. It is at this point I know that it is time to find that spacious place that God wants to bring me into.

However, how much better life is if I measure my pace rather than wait for the crisis moments. It’s a bit like setting off early in the car and happily slowing down at traffic lights when they are turning amber, rather than putting my foot down to try and get through the lights before they turn red – I expect we are all familiar with this experience!

Measuring my pace is about leaving margins, creating spaces in my diary to do the things that energise and refresh me. These could be described as my pools of refreshment. For me, this can be preparing for sermons or Bible studies just as much as meeting with friends for a meal, getting together with my family, spending time going deeper with God alone or with colleagues or working as part of a team planning and strategizing for a particular project. Also, perhaps a little strangely, finding ways to live simply (decluttering my life in various ways) energises me. Intentionally creating margins is essential.

I have a ‘Pause’ app on my phone that buzzes twice a day, reminding me to pause and know that God is in control – although admittedly there are times when I skip the reminder because I am too busy! At particularly stressful times I set an hourly alarm. A favourite ‘alarm verse’ is Psalm 16:8: ‘I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me’ (New Living Translation).

A regular Sabbath rest renews my strength. Sometimes this is a Sunday, but most often it is Friday evening until Saturday evening. During this time, it is important for me to intentionally find time to rest, laugh, sleep, feast, walk – in nature or by the sea, if possible – and spend time with family or friends celebrating the goodness of God together.

Written by

A photo of Jenine Main.

Colonel Jenine Main

Territorial Secretary for Leader Development

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