Excerpt from The Discipled Leader: Develop Christlike Character, Influence Your Culture, Change Your World by Preston B. Poore
“His Care is Sufficient”
As a leader, keep calm in the storm
Due to the immense burdens placed on leaders like you, you can be filled with worry, anxiety, and stress. Sometimes, we leaders allow circumstances to drain our joy and peace. Then the domino effect begins: worry leads to anxiety, and anxiety leads to stress.
Worry occurs when your mind is consumed by nagging thoughts, self-doubt, uncertainties, fear of the unknown, or a potential threat. That leads to anxiety, your behavioral responses to worry, such as sweating, nervousness, and an increased heart rate. That leads to stress: the negative effect of sustained mental and physical pressure.
Fortunately, there is a way out. For the discipled leader, we are not to be filled with anxiety and tossed around without care. “Rather, we are to bring our problems and needs to the Lord with the confidence that he cares for us and his care is sufficient.”Warren Wiersbe wrote, “Peace is the inner tranquility and confidence that God is in control. This does not mean the absence of trials on the outside, but it does mean a quiet confidence within, regardless of circumstances, people, or things.”
Iappreciate Dale Carnegie’s approach to handling worry in the aptly titled How to Stop Worrying & Start Living:
-Live in “day-tight compartments”: Live in the present. Shut off the past and the future.
-Ask yourself, “What is the worst that can happen?”
-Prepare to accept the worst.
-Then, calmly try to improve upon the worst.
-Remind yourself of the high cost of worry to your health.
I firmly believe that worry, anxiety, and stress can be overcome by trusting God, turning everything over to him in prayer, and applying the above principles. Through these means, God’s peace will fill you and enable you to persevere through any storm.
If you’re faced with chaos, a dysfunctional team, and insurmountable odds, begin praying, work through Carnegie’s steps, then consider these suggestions:
-Prioritize the priorities. Not all things can be important. Rank what needs to be done about the most impactful and essential work. Then, focus all of your energy on accomplishing the top priorities and move to the next ones. If you do, you’ll become more productive, efficient, and less stressed. Also, don’t be distracted from the work at hand.
-Empower the team. People feel more committed to working if they know they can make decisions and have an impact on projects. They will help you accomplish common goals and objectives with vigor. Do this and you’ll reduce anxiety because people will feel like they have more control and can take ownership. If you don’t, people will become disengaged because of their perceived lack of influence.
-Expand your capacity. Realize that pressure-filled situations enable you to grow and prepare you for the next opportunity. While maintaining healthy margins for exercise and sleep, lean into such circumstances. Let them stretch you. One of my favorite Bible verses is, “If you’re worn out in this footrace with men, what makes you think you can race against horses? And if you can’t keep your wits during times of calm, what’s going to happen when troubles break loose like the Jordan in flood?” (Jeremiah 12:5 MSG). The verse reminds me that all of my experiences are preparing me for the next ones, building my capacity to handle them.
If you prioritize, empower your team, and allow challenging circumstances to expand your capacity, you’ll become a persevering leader, able to withstand any storm.
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Thanks for reading!
Ellsworth, R. Opening Up Philippians. Leominster: Day One Publications, 2004, p. 84.
Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996, Vol. 2, p. 95.
Dale Carnegie, How to Stop Worrying & Start Living, Diamond Pocket Books Pvt Ltd, 2017
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