This Week in Soul Talks

Leading from a rested soul is good for you! When we overwork ourselves to the point of exhaustion, it not only harms us but it leaves a mark on those around us. Bill knows this well as a ‘workaholic in recovery’ who over the years has learned to live in Jesus’ easy yoke.

Bill & Kristi reflect on how overwork negatively affects their relationship, and their ability to care for others. Conversely, they share how rest in Jesus brings peace and removes striving. 

Listen in to this podcast—Leading from a Rested Soul—to discover how to find a deep and satisfying rest in God that overflows naturally in your care for others.

Or, you can read the transcript below.

Resources mentioned in this podcast

Bill Gaultiere:

Hello friends, you will be so thankful that you tuned into Soul Talks.  

We are going to be talking about leading from a rested soul. We are finishing our series on beating burnout. 

And, in this episode, we will reflect on one of my favorite writings titled—Ministry Begins With Rest.

And this concept, the concept that ministry begins with rest is one that I have personally needed a lot. I’m continually trying to live in and work from this.

Even though I’ve lived a lot of my life as a psychologist and as a pastor I didn’t really understand the power of Sabbath. Especially in an experiential way. I didn’t understand the power of Sabbath Rest. And that the Sabbath day, in the biblical mindset, is the first day of the week because we give God the first fruits. 

We give God the first day. 

There’s a space to it, to worship, to rest. A space to trust that God is love, and that God is at work. It’s a day to abandon the outcomes of our work, our ministry, our relationships, our home, our problems, and abandon them to God

Instead of working like we normally would the other six days, advancing things or fixing things, we’re saying, “Lord, you’re in charge. You’re your God. And today I’m going to rest and enjoy myself.” It’s a day to emphasize being relational with God and with loved ones. And that’s a powerful practice. 

As we abide in Christ, in that way, with the Sabbath Rest, then that becomes our source of purposefulness and power in our ministry and our work. 

So ministry begins with rest. I know, Kristi, you like me better when I’m in rhythm with that rest.

Kristi Gaultiere: 

I do, it makes a big difference. I noticed that difference in you. It makes it so that you are more reliant upon Jesus and less reliant on yourself.

Resting as a Type A Personality

Bill Gaultiere

You know that I’m a Type “A”. I’m not a typical therapist. I’m not a monkish spiritual director. 

I have learned the value of contemplative prayer and retreats and I do live the things that we teach in Soul Shepherding, but a lot of it is coming out of my brokenness and healing and my learning. 

As with any speaker, a lot of times, our best message is sort of talking to our weakness. And so I’m a workaholic in recovery. 

Kristi, you live with me, and you live with that energy I have around activity and accomplishment and leadership. 

And you know the difference when I’m in sync with this teaching. Ministry begins with getting my Sabbath rest and then taking that into my approach to my life and my ministry.  Being in the yoke of Jesus, the easy yoke of Jesus. 

This is something that we teach in our book, Your Best Life in Jesus’ Easy Yoke, and in the Journey of the Soul book, this is the stage in the Christ stages.

The Easy Yoke Stage

Bill Gaultiere

The stage of spirit-led ministry is the easy yoke stage. This easy yoke is really the understanding, experience, training, and habits of Sabbath Rest being brought into our daily life, work, and ministry. 

So, you know the difference when I’m in that easy yoke and when I’m not. And so talk to us about the difference.

Kristi Gaultiere: 

Well, it makes a big difference because you wake up with tremendous amounts of energy and fresh ideas, and then you go for a run and you get more fresh ideas. You start playing those out and you come back from the run you want to make them happen today. 

Maybe you can wait till tomorrow, but probably not. 

And you want to want to get other people activated around it and you get going down all these new ideas. When we were younger, you would have all these irons in the fire, you would have envisioned how to shape these as if you were a blacksmith. 

You have enormous ideas and energy and vision and motivation and capacity to work, work, work, work, work. And oftentimes that will keep you in and take you out from being present to people and to some of the other realities that those of us with our minds tuned into.

The Need to be Present

One practical thing is you needing to be present too. And you’ll just totally not even realize those things or not see those things are people. Also, sometimes Jesus becomes one of those people that you can mess with in your ideas and your excitement and your motivation and your work and your energy and your movement towards something. Especially things that are new, that you like to start. 

And so when you are learning and disciplining and training yourself to live in this easy yoke of Jesus, and that ministry begins with rest, you submit on all that, you’re submitting it. 

You’ve learned “submit and surrender”. All those ideas, all that wonderful energy, all those great things that God has given you the capacity to work, or your desires and visions to say, “Lord, that rod in the fire is yours”. 

What do you want to do with it? Instead of just going in and getting busy to do what you want to do with it, you submit it to him and you say, “I’m at your service”. 

I’m your servant speak, Lord, your servant is listening and you [Bill], you listen and you make a space to listen, so that you can receive that God might have a better idea for you or for this rod or for the person this rod is going to serve. And that’s a big difference.

Bill Gaultiere:

Yeah, that’s helpful. So now let’s have you talk about it from the standpoint of how it feels for you as my wife, or, you could be my friend, or if you were working with me. How you might feel. 

I’m thinking of you who are listening right now, some of you are married to someone like me, who is a pastor, a missionary, a leader, who’s “Type A “or a business person who is “Type A” and others of you who are like me.

If you can hear Kristi, and hear her describe the emotions of what it’s like. 

If I’m in sort of the overworking hurried, relying on myself mode, the trying to make things happen mode, or if I’m in the Sabbath, yoke of Jesus mode.

 If I’m in that relational space, I can still have ideas. I still have passion. I still have energy. I can still work hard, but I’m doing it in a relational way.

Kristi Gaultiere: 

It’s kind of like, you’ve learned that you need the pit stop before the race and that even during the race, you need that pit stop.

Bill Gaultiere

Right. That’s true. That’s good. But, tell us about how you feel. Describe your emotions with Type “A” Bill or Easy Yoke Bill.

Type “A” Bill vs Easy Yoke Bill

Kristi Gaultiere

Well, Type “A” Bill scares me and exhausts me and leaves me in the dust. 

But the Bill that has learned that ministry begins in rest is present to me. He includes me, loves me, and I feel Christ’s presence through and Christ’s grace though. I also feel like I have significance. 

Also when I’m with the Bill who has learned that ministry begins with rest, I feel that I have a calling too, and that I have something to contribute to the body of Christ.

Bill Gaultiere: 

In other words, I’m easier, I’m more inclusive, more…

Kristi Gaultiere

Relationally connective, loving, present, open, yes. More collaborative…

Bill Gaultiere: 

Better inclined to listen to you and how you feel and consider that.

Kristi Gaultiere: 

Yes. And I think way more brilliant, way more intelligent.

Bill Gaultiere: 

So say more about that because all the people listening are like me. And it’s not just men, there’s a lot of women that are like me. When I’m not in my Type “A”, but I’m in this relational mode. That’s more brilliant.

Kristi Gaultiere: 

Oh yeah. That’s when you really have your best ideas because they’re not your ideas, they’re the Lord’s. You get new insights and because those insights come out of an awareness of God’s presence and his spirit in you speaking, and a groundedness that you have in him, you’re way more deeply rooted in him.

Bill Gaultiere

That’s good. You’re giving some amazing descriptions of the two different ways that we can function, those of us who are Type “A”. 

But I want to go deeper into understanding what it’s like to be in a relationship with someone who is Type “A”, because I think this is going to help us understand leading from a rested soul. 

So you’re saying that if I’m trying to make things happen, I’m in a hurry, overworking, that you feel like you’re left in the dust. You didn’t say this, but I can be sort of cranky and not in a relational mode. 

Kristi Gaultiere: 

Well, you’re driving the ball to the goal. And I gotta get out of the way, or I’m going to get tackled.

Bill Gaultiere: 

Obviously, it doesn’t feel warm. Doesn’t feel close. You don’t feel secure. You don’t feel safe. You don’t feel connected to me. Right?

Kristi Gaultiere: 

Or sometimes I even will feel used because you’ll throw me the ball and expect me to run it and then pass it back or something. There’s expectations on me because you’re so…

Bill Gaultiere: 

Focused on the goal. I’m trying to get help reaching the goal. And I’m not tuned into what you need.

Kristi Gaultiere: 

Right. And then also, I’ll tend to worry about other people that I see you mowing down that you, maybe, don’t even know are there. Like you didn’t realize they were there because you’re seeing the goal.

Bill Gaultiere: 

All right. That takes a lot of energy. Yes. You’re thinking about other people that could be family members or that could be, in our case, that could be the Soul Shepherding staff. 

It could be friends, but you’re thinking about how, because you’re my wife, you’re connected to me and you’re empathetic. And so you really think about how other people feel, so that’s like an additional burden that you’re carrying there.

Kristi Gaultiere: 

Yes. And I’m in touch with what it’s costing you and you’re not. So you won’t be aware. But I’m aware of you or you’re not hydrated enough. Or you haven’t eaten. I’m aware of things that you’re not tuned in to.

Bill Gaultiere: 

Right. I’m trying to get a touchdown. And if I get bruised or bloodied or a broken bone, or I step on somebody, it doesn’t matter if I get the touchdown. When I’m in that mode, I’m not very sensitive to the people around me. And so one of the things that comes up is you will have feelings about this. 

So that’s a way that I have a chance to get back on course, was when you talked to me about how you’re experiencing our life together or working together. That’s a really important situation in terms of how you handle that. Because some people, some of you listening, if you’re living with a Type “A” person, whether it’s your spouse or a friend or family member, you’ve got feelings about that. 

But do you know how to talk to that person about that? 

Hopefully in a way that doesn’t put gasoline on fire of conflict and that doesn’t evoke defensiveness. But, can the two of you talk about that? I’m bringing up a whole other podcast, but talk to us about how you talk to me.

How to Talk to Type A’s that Need to Relax

Kristi Gaultiere: 

Well, I certainly haven’t always done it. And don’t always do it.

Bill Gaultiere

You get angry or you blame. You have reactions.

Kristi Gaultiere

Yes. But when I’m at ease with yoke to Jesus, then I use I-statements and I take responsibility for what I’m feeling. 

And I ask to talk, ask if you have it to listen to some emotions that I’m having. Some things I’m feeling and experiencing, and then I invite you into my experience. And I share with you what it’s like to be me, in relationship with Type “A” Bill.

Bill Gaultiere

When you talk to me that way, it often, not always, because sometimes I will react with defensiveness or just be too pressured and not want to talk now. But it normally will warm my heart and I’ll feel concerned for you. And I’ll ask questions and give you empathy and try to work that through a repair. 

Then secondly, it can wake me up to, “oh yeah, wait a minute, who am I, what am I doing? This isn’t who I want to be. I’m off-kilter here”. And get me reconnected to the presence of the risen Jesus, living and breathing in me now. And keep those relational centers back on and slow myself down.

Kristi Gaultiere

Yes, and it’s very helpful because the way that you respond at those moments, really, always increases my respect for you. And then I’m better able to join in with you in the service of what you’re working hard on.

Bill Gaultiere

So what we’re illustrating here is that to lead from a rest, his soul is the best way to prevent burnout. 

Kristi Gaultiere:

You would say, you’ve learned that you need it. That it’s…

Bill Gaultiere

Good for you. It’s good for me. 

And one of the keys in that learning, in that change, is the kind of relationships that I’m in most, especially in my relationship with you Kristi. 

So I think that to correct our course if you’re a Type “A”, if you tend to be towards workaholism or stress overload, or this could also relate to people pleasers and proneness to compassion, fatigue; the way to self-correct is going to be a particular kind of relationship with someone who you can be honest with, and they can be honest with you and you can give and receive empathy. 

That relational process can help us to wake up to our, our better self, our higher values, and to tap into God’s presence with us.

Kristi Gaultiere

That’s key, but I’m not sure that’s enough because you also have had to train to rest. And you’ve learned that when you rest out of a discipline by obeying the Lord’s command here, then you realize actually that you are tired and you need it.

But you don’t know that until you’ve learned to do it as a discipline. Now you’ve discovered that.

Bill Gaultiere

Yes, if I’ve got a lot of important things that I’m working on, it could be projects, could be people that I’m mentoring, giving spiritual direction to et cetera, I’ve usually got a lot of energy and enthusiasm and I could overdue and not realize it. 

But when I take my Sabbath day, when I do soul care practices on other days, I can get in touch with the fact that actually, I’m tired.

But I have to get out of the frenzy, out of the overworking, out of the people-pleasing, out of the adrenaline, and just let myself rest.

And I’ve had to choose between taking a nap, choosing to meditate, choosing to go outside and be in nature and not work, and choosing to pray a Psalm or sing a song and do a breath prayer. 

These sorts of things that will calm me down and help me experience God’s rest.

By  training in those activities and doing that in solitude, doing that in community, that has helped me to develop habits. And so I will choose to engage in these activities of rest, even though I don’t feel like I need it. 

And then that will often show me, actually I am tired. So then I will sink into that, especially on my Sabbath, I’ll sink into that more. 

I do it as a way of appreciating God’s grace to me and appreciating that God is in charge of my life and my work and my ministry and I don’t need to be working on that right now because God is loving and God is at work.

Kristi Gaultiere

And you have found through your training and I’ve seen this, that actually, it takes you less time and less effort now to achieve rest. That you get there quicker. 

So even on vacation this summer, you said to me, “wow, I’m really amazed how quickly I transitioned from the frantic Type “A” Bill with running all these balls to the goal, to Bill at rest, reconnected and recalibrated.”

You’ve gotten so that you can do that quick and achieve that rest sooner, faster, and deeper.

Leading from a Rested Soul

Bill Gaultiere

It used to take me two or three days to really settle into a vacation because I just didn’t really know how to rest. 

I was in the mode of “you work and then you reward yourself with, with a celebration or, or some rest or a vacation.” 

It’s just constantly doing that. But then you’re always operating out of this cycle that is leaving you depleted. So, to reverse it, where you put rest first, the seventh day is the first day of the week, that changes the whole thing. 

But you’ve got to learn very deeply how to experience that rest, how to experience a way of being in relationship with God and with people where it energizes you. 

A lot of us don’t know that, a lot of us don’t know how to be in a relationship with someone and not be the teacher, the helper, the encourager give reassurance. So our experience of relationships, it’s always output. I’m always responsible. I’m always giving. And there’s something we love about that because it’s an honor and we’re caring. 

You know, I’m sure if you’re a pastor or a missionary, a small group leader, a spiritual director, a counselor, you know exactly what I’m talking about. But others of us in the family context and our friendships, we can be like this. 

We have to learn how to be with people that we trust in a way that we can be vulnerable and receive empathy, receive a sense of energy because someone is leaning towards us with concern, with interest compassion, they’re asking us questions, or they’re praying for us, or trying to help us understand and figure things out in our life and to be strengthened and encouraged in our life with Jesus. 

The best way to learn that is to find someone who’s an expert at it, like one of our social openings, spiritual directors, and then just put it on your calendar every month, every two weeks.

Talk to that person, ask them to listen to you and pray for you, and just begin to learn what that’s like to be in a relationship where you don’t have to be responsible. You don’t have to be caring and helpful. You don’t have to be positive. 

You can just bring your mess, bring your stuff, bring your discombobulation, bring your hurt, bring your questions and let someone, and let the Lord especially, care for you through that person. 

That’s how we learn to get in sync with how God has made us that we’re relational beings. And so that these, these two sides of rest, solitude, and some spiritual disciplines with that, but then also ways of being in relationship. 

And there’s also spiritual disciplines around that. The balance of those is what really helps us to experience that abiding in Christ life. That, then, can sustain; because we’re joined to, we are branches, joined to Christ, fine in the sap of the holy spirit. The life of God is coming into us, and now we can bear fruit naturally. 

That abiding, that intimacy with Jesus is what sustains us in our work and in our ministry so that we don’t burn out