Several years ago, at an ACSI school administrator’s conference, I heard ACSI’s regional director for international schools (and former BFA head) Tim Schumann speak about the principle of unstringing your bow. Essentially Dr. Schumann was encouraging school leaders to take the time to step away from the battle—the stress and the busyness that comes with being a leader—and really allow themselves the time to rest. The image of unstringing the bow comes from sport of archery. While the bowstring needs to be taut when being used to shoot arrows, if it is kept strung at all times it risks becoming brittle and breaking. Therefore, there needs to be times when the bow is unstrung, and the string is allowed a break from the tension. Similarly, when we don’t take time to step away from the battle, we risk reaching a breaking point as well.
Dr. Schumann talked about ten principles he discovered about the practice of unstringing the bow, starting with the fact that we need to be willing to let go and let God run the universe. We know this is true, but how often do we live our lives like things depend on us? Two other principles stood out to me from that talk: take time for quiet and solitude, and find opportunities to engage in a creative activity that energizes you. During the busyness of the school year, it is easy to fall into patterns of survival—especially during the really hectic seasons. And the end of the school year is always a crazy time! Rest and creative activities can feel like a poor use of your time—or simply like a luxury that you wish you could afford. But as you enter into the summer months, whether that means staying and learning more of the language and culture where you are, or going on home assignment, or moving on altogether, I would encourage you to be intentional to find times where you can unstring your bow and truly rest in the Lord. Make time to do something creative—even if you aren’t very good at it. Laugh. A lot.
Here at OnPractice, we will be taking a summer rest as well. Throughout the rest of June and the month of July we will not be publishing the OnPractice newsletter. We will start up again in August, hopefully refreshed and with renewed vision.
If you or someone you know would like to contribute to the OnPractice newsletter, or if you have a topic you’d like to see covered, please let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you all, and have a wonderful and refreshing summer!
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