Fatigue makes cowards of us all

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Vince Lombardi was right, "Fatigue makes cowards of us all." It also impairs judgment, frays nerves, and invites sickness. Ultimately, it makes one less effective.

Awhile back I was fighting my own "cold war." The germ invasion had me pinned down. I was crippled by the attack and unable to give my best effort as a leader in our church.

That same day I picked up David Gergen's Eyewitness To Power. Gergen served as a speechwriter and adviser to four presidents. Commenting on President Clinton's ineffectiveness in his first 100 days, Gergen cited the fatigue factor.

When he reached Washington, I am convinced, his physical exhaustion caught up with him . . . . Those who saw him in his first weeks at the White House often found him out of sorts, easily distracted, and impatient. I was watching from afar, and the harried man I saw on television bore little resemblance to the confident, relaxed leader I had known. (Gergen, Eyewitness To Power, 262)

Gergen's comments got me thinking about the importance of self-leadership. The Apostle Paul reminded Timothy, "Keep a close watch yourself and on the teaching" (1 Timothy 4:16 ESV). Having my teaching in order does little good if my health is not in order. I must watch both. I have learned that sometimes my best act of leadership is to get a good night's sleep.

Rest is what the president was missing.

Gergen continues,

"But history and research have repeatedly shown that fitness and stamina are the hidden ingredients of leadership. Especially in high office, a person must exercise judgment that is finely tuned" (Gerge, Eyewitness To Power, 262).

Despite the relentless pace and seemingly unending line of people who needed help, Jesus made sure his disciples pulled back to rest: "And he said to them, 'Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.' For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat" (Mark 6:31 ESV).

Don't let fatigue get the best of you. Never underestimate the power of a good night's sleep.