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)
Do you have a wound that won’t heal?
“A wound that has been present for more than six weeks is considered a chronic wound and may need special treatment,” according to Dr. Prasad Kilaru, a plastic surgeon and director of the Washington Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine.
Have you ever had a cut that required stitches? Have you ever had a surgery of any kind? Deep cuts and surgical procedures leave wounds that often require stitches. Eventually the stitches are removed and the pain goes away. What do you do about wounds you can’t see? How do you begin to stitch emotional wounds embedded deep within the recesses of one’s heart?
Hidden wounds are memories that hurt
Hidden Wounds are Memories That Hurt
Hidden wounds are the recollections from your past that when you think about them, they still cause pain in your life. Some define them as memories of abandonment. Some have memories of abuse. Some even have memories of ridicule, criticism or hatred.
Hidden wounds come from prejudices in society. They come from family members (they are the ones that hurt the most). Sometimes they come from parents, our children, our siblings, and aunts and uncles. You can get wounded in the work place. They’re everywhere.
I’ve been a pastor for a long time and I’ve talked to people and I’ve learned two truths about life.
- Everyone has a hidden wound. You may be masking it but everybody has a hidden wound. An emotional scar from someone in the past who hurt you in a serious way.
- Hidden Wounds (emotional scars) take longer to heal than physical wounds.
Are you ready for some good news? The good news is this: Jesus wants to heal your hidden wounds.
According to the Phobia List, there are OVER 2000 “CONFIRMED” fears.
Phobias are emotional and physical reactions to feared objects or situations. Symptoms of a phobia include the following: Feelings of panic, dread, horror, or terror. Recognition that the fear goes beyond normal boundaries and the actual threat of danger.
Fears are mostly learned behaviors and this process can often start in a mother’s womb. Unborn children pick up on their mother’s responses to situations. This is known as innate learning and can become naturally inborn fears.
It appears there are only TWO fears we are born with:
- The fear of LOUD NOISES – (We question how sound affects and impacts a growing baby, after all we can make judgment, see, hear and sense sound. A baby has little insight of this)
- The fear of FALLING – (Giving birth is about gravity, and often baby’s can spend a long amount of time upside down, no wonder this is classed as a fear we are born with)
Therefore, if we can learn them, we can unlearn them.
I’ll admit, as a leader it’s quite easy to get caught up with a vision.
It’s natural because as leader’s we’re encouraged to look out for opportunities and then take the lead in making things happen. But sometimes we find ourselves alone out front and wonder what happened to the people we’re leading? Why aren’t they with us?
Do You Like To Fish?
Take a scenario of a group of people going fishing on a lake. Typical leaders get the vision, jump in the boat and are off to fish straight away. But the rest of the group may take a different approach. As the leaders look back, they find that half the people are still on the river bank.
Some are still prepping their fishing gear. Some are just starting to launch their boats. Others are on the water but are heading in the opposite direction. Some are going in circles, and still others haven’t yet even decided if they feel like fishing after all. That’s when you realize that only leading from the front doesn’t always help facilitate the transition.
We have a choice to change or remain the same.
John Maxwell in his book Winning with People admits that patience is not one his strengths. He says:
When I was younger I constantly cast vision for the people in my organization and then left them behind – not a good thing for a leader.
In the past sixteen years, Mars Hill experienced many changes. But as exciting as that vision of building was, we know now that during the process we left some people behind. There were parts of the process whereas leaders we simply dropped the ball. Here are three humbling lessons learned: