You’ve seen them before.
It’s the person at your job that everyone loves to hate. Everything always goes right for them. They get the promotion, has the biggest salary, the perfect family, and just returned from a two-weeks vacation.
Do you have that picture in your mind yet? Good!
Now, Imagine you’re on your way to work and by pass a police officer giving someone a ticket on the shoulder of the road. You take a double look and discover that the person getting the ticket is THAT person from your job. What are you feeling inside right now? Do you smile and whisper to yourself, “got ‘em!”
Welcome to the wonderful world of envy.
What Is Envy
Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another. Galatians 5:25-26
Envy is resenting God’s goodness in others’ lives and ignoring God’s goodness in our own life. In today’s society envy is encouraged. Take today’s commercials, they have nothing to do with the actual product, but more so, the product of selling envy. They’re subliminally saying, “buy our product and you will be envied! You’ll be the envy of everybody else!”
How do you profit from your struggle?
What comes to mind when you hear the word, “Struggle?”
It’s a touchy subject that one rarely wants to discuss, let alone dwell on. If you’re breathing, at some point in life, you will inevitably have to confront it, deal with it, get through it and learn from it.
In every struggle, there’s a lesson and we must learn how to leverage it and profit from our struggles. “When God wants to send you a gift, He wraps it up in a problem. The bigger the gift – the bigger the problem,” according to Norman Vincent Peale.
It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of TED Talks and it’s not uncommon to come across a life-changing message. Zain Asher, national business and personal finance correspondent for CNN, challenged listeners to “Trust Your Struggle.” Check it out:
After watching Zain’s talk, I came away with two valuable lessons:
- Seek the valuable lesson in every problem or difficulty. Every setback you face contains 1-2 lessons that have been sent to you to help you become more successful. Failures feel sorry for themselves when things go wrong. Successful people look for the valuable lesson they can learn.
- Focus on what can be done now (solutions) instead of who’s to blame. Ask: “What’s the good in this situation?”
When you look for something good, you’ll always find something good. Like Zain said, “I don’t believe in competing for what I want, I believe in creating what I want”
Are you trusting your struggle?
I have a confession to make: I waited until the very last minute to write this blog post.
Why? I work best under pressure. Really? That’s just another excuse I tell myself but in reality, it’s procrastination. No matter how many productivity tips I discover, procrastination still stalks me from time to time.
Procrastination is a Universal Problem
Most of us know what we need to do, we just put it off. The problem with procrastination is that it becomes a way of life, a lifestyle. The more you do it, the better you become at it. Some people are professional procrastinators. They are very, very good at it.
The Bible has something to say about procrastination.
Anyone who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. James 4:17
I know the things I ought to do, and I don’t do them. Here’s why:
When my children were younger, I frequently traveled for my work as a senior pastor of a growing church. When they grew older, they became active in sports and other activities. Consequently, flying slowed down dramatically.
Now that my children are older and living their lives, I’m flying again. When I board the plane and take my seat, I find myself paying more attention to an old familiar message from the flight attendant.
In the event of an emergency, please put on your oxygen mask before assisting others.
During past trips, I never actually paid attention to the flight attendant’s message. On this particular day, I did, and it hit me like a ton of bricks: You must take care of yourself before you can take care of others. Let that sink in for a moment. What does it mean? Simply put: If you don’t put your mask on first, you won’t be there for others when they need you. You will be unconscious.
Our natural tendency is to do for others, because we are caring, loving, nurturing, responsible, supportive and competent people. However, just like the oxygen mask, we need to take care of ourselves so we can effectively take care of the people we love.
Rejection is powerful.
When I counsel people, sometimes I hear them say, “I don’t care if people like me, as long as they respect me.” When they say that, it’s an “emotional wall they use to block the hurt of rejection,” according to psychologist Marcia Reynolds.
God created us to be social, and if we’re honest, all of us care if people like us. “The feeling of love, affection, and belonging is necessary before we can reach the highest levels of consciousness and wisdom,” according to psychologist Abraham Maslow. Maslow is saying we all need people to survive. So, how do keep from withdrawing when dealing with someone who doesn’t like you?
Fortunately, you’re not the only one who’s had to deal with this problem. After Nathan had anointed David as the future King of Israel, Saul became his bitter enemy. Like David, all of us, at one time or another deal with people we don’t like and who don’t like us. Perhaps you have people who want to do you harm and see you fail. This is where David found himself in 1 Samuel Chapter 24.
Until recently, I’ve never heard of the shiny object syndrome.
It’s the “syndrome” that causes one to be easily distracted by “shiny objects” and lose focus on the tasks at hand. You see it with parents overcommitting their kids. You see it in entrepreneurs starting several businesses at the same time. You see it in churches dabbling in everything except the main thing.
Are you interested, or are you committed?
How do you know the difference?
Why does it matter?
Interest vs. Commitment
I heard a story one time that discussed the difference between commitment and interest. Two guys independently created an objective to swim a mile. The first man calculated how many laps he would need to swim in the community pool to complete the distance goal and proceeded to attempt the objective.
The second guy had a friend drive him out in the ocean 1 mile, drop him off and leave him to swim back to shore. For the first guy, it was a matter of convenience, if he became tired, he could simply get out of the pool. For the second guy, there was not an option to simply get out. He would have to push through the fatigue, sore muscles, to achieve his objective. That is the difference between commitment and interest.
It’s no secret, like most executives and business owners, many pastors are workaholics and rarely take vacations. Workaholics, please take note – a vacation is a must. It’s time to mute the noise and take an annual vacation. Regardless of what others may say, it’s time to let go of your guilty feelings and VACATE.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico 2015
Welcome to the “Guilt-Free” Zone
I use to feel guilty about taking vacations fearing I may fall behind. Sometimes I took work with me and short-changed my family in the process. A recent study shows that 82 percent of small business owners who took a vacation were performing better at work when they got back. An added bonus is that about a third of men who take this sensible step are less likely to die of heart disease.
So, If taking vacations trouble you, I’d like to share the single most important reason taking a vacation makes you better.
Vacations Inspire Creativity
“Vacations help us change the view, which can spark an idea or kick-start creative thinking,” according to Rieva Lesonsky, CEO GrowBiz Media.
For me, the church environment is hardly the place to generate new ideas, strategies, and decision-making techniques. Ministry, like any other high-demand profession, is intense. You cannot be creative or get inspiration when you are under enormous pressure.
Change Your Scenery – Change Your World
A change of scene on a vacation can work wonders. Although you cannot switch off completely, when you relax, creativity flourishes. Your mind will start asking questions you never thought of up until now. You’ll have a clearer mind because you are no longer tired.
So, forget the old work ethic that longer hours mean higher productivity. Take a vacation instead.
You can thank me afterwards.
Recently I took up photography as a hobby and realized how much I love it.
Photography relaxes me and takes away stress. While taking pictures during my children’s graduation ceremonies and sporting events, I ran out of storage space. I couldn’t take more pictures because the SD card was full.
An SD card (Secure Digital) is a digital storage device used in portable devices such as digital cameras and cell phones because of its small size and light weight. Since videos and pictures require a lot of space, an SD card can fill up quickly. If you want to add additional footage, you have to transfer old footage to another storage device.
Your brain is like an SD card with unlimited storage space.
Our Brains Are Like SD Cards With Unlimited Storage
Your brain is like an SD card with unlimited storage space. It has recorded every single experience your five senses have experienced – everything you’ve smelled, seen, heard, touched, and tasted. It records everything people say (both past and present). Your brain is an amazing storage device.
Recently, I ran across a startling statistic that blew me away.
When it comes to cruel and cutting remarks, 99 percent of the time they’re not from strangers; they’re from someone we know. Let that sink in. Their words are painful and memorable because they come from people who should be the source of love.
It’s hard to admit, but wherever a relationship exists, the possibility of someone getting wounded exists. How do you respond when the people you know hurt you? How do you stop the tears from flowing? You agree to release the grip resentment has on you.
You can’t hold onto a hurt and enjoy life. You can’t get well as long as you harbor resentment. For your sake, let go the right to get even. The fact is, you only have a certain amount of emotional energy, and you must determine how you spend it.
I believe you have to be willing to be misunderstood if you’re going to innovate. That’s actually a serious point. If you’re going to do something that’s never been done before – which is basically what innovation is – people are going to misunderstand it just because it’s new.
Jeff Bezos, Founder & CEO of Amazon.com (BusinessWeek.com April 17, 2008)
(Jeff Bezos, April 17, 2008)