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What Missionaries Should be Currently Learning from LeBron James.

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At age 32, the professional basketball player is widely regarded as one of the greatest NBA players of all-time, with three NBA Championships, three NBA championships, four NBA Most Valuable Player awards, and two Olympic Gold Medals — not to mention that he is now the all-time playoff scoring leader of the NBA. Seems like that $1.5 million is money well spent. Number 23 understands that his body is the most valuable possession and instrument he owns. That is why Self Care is not just a healthy habit, but actually a huge return on invest. He understands that he can not complete his long term-goal while still remaining on the injured reserve list. He never takes a day off and never takes his health lightly, even with such a demanding traveling schedule.

“Without a clear vision on your long-term legacy — you will always default to satisfying the expectation that people place on you.”

LeBron has a clear vision and expectation of himself, which is not built by others. From the age of 17, LeBron has been heralded as the heir-apparent to Michael Jordan. However, it is no secret that many, if not most people continually push against this notion, as most feel that Michael Jordan holds an untouchable place in the basketball. Therefore, if LeBron were to find his value in this, he would likely be emotionally and physically spent. He would do very little Self-Care, because he would be trying to fullfill everything else expectation, which are consistantly placed on him. Yet because of LeBron’s clear vision and goal, he has the passion and permission to — Self Care.

So, in light of LeBron’s success, I ask you this: Why aren’t some of our beloved missionaries taking the same approach in building a long-term legacy?

Self Care — in Ministry.

Missionaries often deal with a massive weight and heightened false expectations of producing metrics for God’s Kingdom. These pressures are often sometimes felt from their sending church, their donors and their sending organization (regardless if they are explicit or implicit). Similar to LeBron’s situation, missionaries without a clear vision on their long-term legacy, will default to their given expectation — which can become extremely wearying. To add to this, missionaries often times feel as though they cannot be transparent when seeking support. With that pressure of producing metrics in order maintaining financial support (which raises up the important question: do we place value on people based upon their production?) negates the ability for missionaries to share their struggles in ministry. With a combined mixed pressure of “producing” and not havbing the ability to share openly, can become very isolating.

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