To be a trustworthy person and an effective leader we must be good under pressure. That means we need to have a pressure relief valve. Praying to God through Jesus Christ and talking with a trusted friend are safe ways to relieve pressure without self-medicating in a destructive way.
Casting our cares on the Lord and confessing our faults to a friend are essential for our spiritual, emotional and physical health.
If we don’t learn to do this consistently we won’t know how to handle pressure properly. Broken people can’t handle pressure; they either blow up or break down. Getting healed and getting healthy is essential if we are going to handle the very real pressures of this life. Below are two short parables to illustrate that often the value of something is determined by how much pressure that something can handle.
In Haiti there are several animals that are used for work and transportation. We will focus on 3 of them: the horse, the donkey and the mule. The horse is a horse. The donkey is a donkey. And the mule is a hybrid between the horse and the donkey. The horse is the best looking and the fastest. The donkey is the smallest and the slowest. The mule is the best of both worlds. We are truly stronger together. The mule can carry the heaviest load. If you go to the market to buy one which one do you think is the most expensive? The horse? Because it’s the fastest and best looking? No! The mule is the most expensive because it can handle the most pressure.
In the world of watches Rolex makes a Submariner and a Deep Sea, Sea Dweller. They are almost the same watch. The Submariner is smaller and skinnier. Its face is 40mm. The Deep Sea, Sea Dweller is a bit bigger and a bit thicker and its face is 44mm. The Sea Dweller also has a helium escape valve which can relieve it of pressure if need be. The Sea Dweller has been deeper in the Marina Trench than any other watch ever. Meaning although it is similar and it has the same maker, it can handle more pressure. There is more than a $4000 USD difference in price simply because one can handle more pressure.
Trustworthy people are healed, Trustworthy people are healthy. Therefore trustworthy people are good under pressure. God allows pressure to be put on us to do something in us. Be honest with God and transparent with people and you will become a trustworthy person who is good under pressure.
“And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” – Luke 9:61-62 NKJV
In a world where Christians slap “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” on t-shirts everywhere, being fit for the Kingdom has nothing to do with our body and everything to do with our mentality. While I do think health is critical and very important that is not what this short blog is about. If you put anyone before the king and anything before his kingdom, you are not fit to work in and for the kingdom. Here a man wanted so say goodbye to his family. This is a perfectly good request. In our world today we could send a text, make a call, send an audio text or even leave a video message. In Jesus’ day that was not possible. Here we see a person who is more concerned with how his family feels than he is with following Jesus. We can’t put other people’s feelings before our faith. Here is the stone cold straight up reality: If we don’t put God first, biblically speaking we are idolaters. If we want God to add to us we must seek the kingdom first. We are fit for the kingdom when we put God first. When we put God first, the only direction we can move is forward. If we are following Jesus there is no time to look back, we must keep running the race looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. If you have enjoyed this blog you can see a short video on being fit for the kingdom by clicking here. If you would like to follow the brand of the shirt that Adam is wearing you can do that on Instagram @dftliving
When we have unforgiveness in our life it changes the way we see reality. It even distorts how we see ourselves. When we have unforgiveness it feels like the whole world owes us something. When we have unforgiveness we are defined by what someone did to us or didn’t do for us. When we forgive we defined by what Jesus did for us. Unforgiveness even affects things that have nothing to do with the reason why we may have unforgiveness in the first place. Unforgiveness in one area of our life leads to bondage and deception in other areas of our life. Unforgiveness quickly turns into bitterness. Bitterness is poison to our soul, and it’s poison to those who hear and listen to us. Have you ever heard or said something that was right but felt totally wrong? That may be because it’s coming from a bitter root. If we want to move forward we must forgive. The only one unforgiveness holds hostage is us. Our future depends on us forgiving and letting the past go. If we let the past go it will let us go. Whether we are forgiving ourself or someone else, forgiveness is a key that opens up the doors to our destiny.
I really don’t believe in first impressions anymore. Unless I sense that someone is dangerous to my children, my wife or myself, I don’t allow my first impression of someone to define how I view them. In all honesty the first impression helps to lay a foundation for how I begin to think about a person but I have learned not to make a strong definitive idea about someone based on my first impression or on my first interaction with someone. You could be catching someone on the worst day of his or her life. They could have just lost a parent, spouse or even a child. They could have just been evicted from where they live; maybe they just got fired from their job. I think it is wise to be patient with our perceptions of other people. We should extend grace to others, and instead of immediately labeling people we should learn to love them. Something even dumber than first impressions is – second hand opinions.
Formulating a second hand opinion of someone is even more stupid than allowing a first impression to define how we see someone. It is unfair and unwise to allow someone to define how we view someone else. We can’t allow someone else’s bad experiences to keep us from good relationships. My encouragement to you is to be slow to formulate opinions of people, and don’t formulate second hand opinions of people because you would not want someone to do that to you.
If you don’t deal with your disappointment it will deal with you. We all have problems; we all have dealt with pain. We all have experienced disappointments on some level. We have been lied to, lied about, falsely accused, abused and used. While the pain, problems and disappointments are real we must choose hope instead. Rodney McBride said, “Faith is often strengthened right at the place of disappointment.” If we respond correctly to disappointment we grow in faith, hope and perseverance. If we don’t respond to disappointment correctly we become discouraged, disillusioned and depressed. Here is an example. You were engaged, you thought it was going to work out but you found out that the man of your dreams was really a nightmare. You were hurt badly and the downward spiral began. You became disappointed, disappointment grew into discouragement, discouragement grew into disillusionment and that can cause severe depression or even self-destruction. The “you” may not really be you but it is “someone.” I gave you this role-playing scenario as a parable. The circumstances may be different but the negative downward spiral began in the place of disappointment. If you want to protect your future you must guard your heart.
Disappointment is a real place, it’s ok to visit but don’t live there. When you experience disappointment you are learning that maybe you scheduled the wrong appointment. Maybe you trusted the wrong person. Maybe you made a good decision with the right motives but the timing was wrong. Maybe you didn’t listen to a voice of wisdom and stability in your life. Maybe you did something you know you shouldn’t have done. For me personally, the deepest and hardest to handle disappointments are the ones that were my fault. The ones I could have avoided. If that is you what you will need to do is assume responsibility for your mistake or bad decision and learn a lesson from it, forgive yourself and move on. If you are feeling courageous share your story with someone else so that you can help someone avoid the pain that you went through. You can either have wisdom or regret, the choice is yours. If someone else is the source of your disappointment forgive them and put your hope in Jesus alone. Here are three things that I learned from disappointment. I hope my pain can be your gain.
Generally it is not wise to make assumptions. Unfortunately I have learned this the hard way. You can either ask questions or make assumptions. If you want answers, ask questions. If you want problems build your expectations about reality on merely assumptions. Assumptions often lead to false assumptions. False assumptions often lead to miss understandings, which usually lead to a downward spiral. When it relates to others we should ask questions when we are able to. However there are times in life where we are relying on our own perceptions of people or circumstances and we have to move forward without all of the facts. In cases like that all we can do is go with what we perceive. In life we are always estimating and assuming stuff. We estimate how long our commute home will take. We assume that our house will be there when we get there. As we forecast reality we need to be able to make some safe assumptions. Think of it like bringing your umbrella to work when it is very overcast and moist in the morning but not yet raining. Or like a life preserving raft on a boat or a seat belt in a car. Life will blind side you so make sure you wear your seatbelt.
3 safe assumptions you can make.
Things will take longer than you thought because there are many variables that are out of your control which can prohibit things happening exactly when and how you planned them to happen. All the planning in the world can not stop something that is out of your control. So enjoy the process and be patient with yourself and others. Things will cost more than you thought because things break, and it costs money for parts and labor. A first time home owner, a first time parent or first time Mercedes Benz owner can attest to this reality. When you buy something nice be sure to research the cost of maintenance and factor that into your decision. Also having an emergency fund is a wise way to prevent a problem from becoming a crisis. The people you trust will let you down more than you thought. This is a painful reality because you trusted them. You can avoid unnecessary disappointment by verbalizing your expectations. Once you verbalize your expectations then you can determine if those expectations are realistic or not. Unverbalized expectations almost always leads to disappointment. It is important to factor in let downs and disappointments into your meaningful relationships. Give people permission to be human. Meaningful relationships are not perfect because we are not perfect. Be merciful because one day you will need some mercy.
Leadership is service, integrity and influence. When you serve someone they see your motives and find out that you have integrity. Then they know that they can trust you and will give you permission to influence them. In my opinion those are the basic mechanics of how leadership should work. Someone who is not willing to serve doesn’t deserve to have influence. I will not give anyone my trust before I see their integrity. Show me your integrity and I will give you my trust. Dwight Eisenhower said, “the supreme quality of leadership is integrity.” Integrity shows me they are safe and therefore trustworthy. When someone is trustworthy then and only then do I allow them to have influence in my life. Do not give someone influence in your life unless they are looking out for your best interests. Many people are disillusioned with leaders who they trusted and allowed to have influence in their lives when in all reality they should not have, because those leaders were not safe or trustworthy. Below are the 3 essential elements of leadership.
3 Essential Elements of Leadership
Leadership is not just service, influence or integrity, it’s all three working together to demonstrate an example worth following.
Progress causes us to turn our backs on those who don’t want to move forward. Progress means change and change is uncomfortable and uncertain. The cost of progress is change. The thought of change causes us all to ask questions. If I change does that mean I sold out? Will I get the desired results of that change if I change? Part of the pain of progress is that you by default turn your back on people who don’t want to move forward. Let me further clarify by telling you what I am not saying. I am not talking about thinking that you are better than people. I am not talking about betraying your family and friends. Let me give you a visual of what I am saying. Five guys are standing and facing north. One of them steps forward and continues to walk forward. What do his friends see? His back. So they no longer see him in the same manner? Did he change? Maybe, but did they stay the same? Yes. Progress means that we are consistently moving forward. The velocity is not as important as the direction and consistency. I am writing this so that you keep moving forward. Will you loose bad habits and people who don’t want to change? Yes. Will you become more and do more and contribute more? Yes. In reality most people want more but don’t use what they already have wisely. Most people don’t have the courage to change. Do you? We can’t really change if we don’t know who we truly are. Before progress can happen we must be honest with ourselves about where we really are in life. Progress begins when we take our first step forward. Which means we will leave some things and some people behind. Are you willing to move forward today? If so what does that mean for you? Let me give you a final thought that will help you gain traction in your life. When you know your priorities then and only then can you gain traction, get momentum and really make meaningful progress. Below are 5 simple steps that lead to progress. A better tomorrow starts today. Remember this, your choices are more powerful than your circumstances.
5 Steps to Progress