After 9 months of planning Pete and I celebrated our daughter’s wedding last Sat. with about 180 guests. Out of that experience we realized there is such a thing as an “Emotionally Healthy Wedding.” Here are a few reflections as to what made it such a distinct, rich experience: 1. We Recognized Our Peerage. Our peerage with Christy had been established years ago. (We have done it with each of our daughters in young adulthood). We were not in a one-up, adult-child relationship. 2. We Clearly Expressed that the Most Important Thing for us was their Premarital Preparation. This was part of our gift to them. 3. We Gave a Gift of a Fixed Amount of Money and Let Go. Because this was a gift, they controlled the wedding, not us. There were no strings attached. They made the decisions and asked us for input along the way. 4. We Recognized the Most Important. Read more.
There are few things the world needs more than leaders who know themselves and know God, who are able to differentiate from the countless voices around them and do the Father’s will. The following are a few makers of a life with a growing, differentiated self: Life becomes easier. More ability to choose between thinking and feeling. More ability to choose one’s emotions. Less worry about what other’s think. People in one’s family are doing better. Goals become clearer. An ability to “stay out” of others’ emotions. More curiosity. Clearer thinking. Thinking systems more often. Better health, fewer symptoms of all kinds. Able to take a well, thought-out position. More goals become realities. Better, cleaner relationships Are you progressing on this difficult journey of leading others? Let me encourage you to read, or re-read, chapter four in Emotionally Healthy Spirituality (“Know Yourself that You May Know God”) and The Emotionally Healthy Woman (This is. Read more.
Having too much to do in too little time is normal. Leighton Ford, my wise mentor for over 30 years, once told me: “Pete, the problem is that if you are faithful to Christ over the long-haul, the demands on your time and energy will only increase as you get older. This problem of having too much to do in too little time is never going away.” The great challenge is to lead yourself first. Consider the following reflections (written to myself) from my journal: Be calm and clear about yourself. You can only be clear about where you are and your own “true self in Christ.” Your inner tensions today are a call from God for additional time for prayer and reflection to wrestle with your “inner demons” so that you can to listen to His will and priorities (See Matthew 4:1-11). Hold onto what God has given you to do and do. Read more.
I recently reviewed my journals from 2007 to 2013 to discern key lessons learned. Countless hours were spent alone, and with wise counselors, wrestling with my leadership at New Life and my own internal”demons” (Matthew 4:1-11). These are the top questions to which I repeatedly return to in prayer: What is success for me as the Lead Pastor? What is God’s unique shape for me? Feelings aside, what is best in the long-term for NLF? What might I be avoiding? Am I staying with the “uncomfortable” in order to get to the goals I believe God has for NLF? How much of my avoidance of difficult issues is driven by a need to be liked? Am I doing anything that soothes my anxiety but betrays my integrity? Am I making room for the space and time I need to provide overall leadership and guard the values and vision? Am I staying focused on the. Read more.
Leaders have a number of key tasks if we are to operate out of high level of integrity. These include: 1. Confronting myself. Am I calm and clear about what God has given me to do? Where am I doing the easy thing, not the best thing for those around me? Where am I abandoning my own values? How am I allowing fear to cause me to ignore problems? 2. Mastering myself in the face of anxiety. When we don’t, we end up looking for validation from other people. We end up using the people we aim to serve. 3. Tolerating discomfort. There is never a good time to change things. In fact, it is impossible to create change while maintaining stability. To kindly bring up hard things others want is one of our critical tasks. 4. Getting clear on my goals and steps. This is hard work.The alternative, however, is much worse. Once. Read more.
How you and I handle our anxiety in the midst of setbacks is one of the critical tasks of leadership. For ten days, during the Battle of the Bulge, American troops were badly beaten by Hitler’s armies in Europe. American casualties were brutal – with 19,000 killed, 48,000 wounded and 9000 others forced to surrender. The US Army was in full retreat. The pressure on Franklin Roosevelt (FDR) to blame his generals for the disaster was immense. Imagine! He did not. Henry Stimpson, his Secretary of War, wrote in his dairy: “He has been very extremely considerate. He has exercised great restraint, for the anxiety on his part must have been very heavy.” This was the fruit of his 12 years of serving, and suffering, as President during the Great Depression and World War II. May it be ours.