A Day in the Life of a Pastor – Slow it Down

A warning sign on the approach to a hill on a winding rural road.

I have been working on something in my leadership that has been challenging me quite a lot.  I have a lot of “energy” when it comes to intense situations.  My heart pounds faster, my mind goes into overdrive and I am ready to “go after” the solutions.  Lately, I have been trying to “slow myself down.”

When the GFC Wednesday Night Bible Study was in the book of James, Tony Dungy shared on James 1:19 NIV “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”  He nailed it and in the process gave me a great template for dealing with intense situations.

 Quick to Listen.  I will never learn something while I am talking.  When I share my own views, thoughts and feelings, it only reverberates what I already know.  I need to hear what others are thinking so I can get a better understanding of where they are coming from, any blind spots I may have or I may actually learn something.  One of the best ways to actively listen – ask questions.  By asking questions, I am inviting that person to share and I learn so much.  For those who feel like they need to be the expert, you will struggle going to new places if you feel like your ideas are the only good ones.

Slow to Speak.  This is a big one for me.  I am growing in my ability “not to interrupt.”  I used to listen to someone and when I heard something I wanted to comment on, I would jump in.  Now, I listen until the  end.  I find that when I do that, I get a better perspective on how to proceed.  By not jumping in too quickly, I save myself the extra efforts of back tracking or confusing the conversation.  And a quick secret tip.  I have found that in most group situations, when someone talks…they think that the exchange went better.  People want to feel valued and one of the ways to do that is to encourage them to share.

Slow to Anger.  I learned the power of forgiveness allows me to walk without  a lot of baggage.  I can point a finger at a lot of people (And they can at me too – I am far from perfect.)  What I have learned is that it isn’t productive or healthy for me.  I forgive and forget pretty quickly.  Do I continue that relationship as it was – most of the time it changes. Depending on the situation, I establish healthy boundaries in that relationship which allows me to think the best of them and move on. Honestly, as I get older, I realize that all of us are on a journey and have our own stuff to deal with it.  I am responsible for mine own faults and problems, not yours.

Next time you are in a “crucial conversation” or an intense situation, slow it down.  The results will amaze you.

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