A Day in the Life of a Pastor – Poise Under Stress

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“The key to winning is poise under stress.”  Paul Brown

This quote has been resonating in my mind the last few days.  Recent events in sports has brought this principle to light.  Lot of finger pointing about who did this, who said this and why they were wrong.

You don’t see anyone pointing fingers at themselves.

There is one thing I can assure is going to happen with all athletes, high achievers and those who are at the top of their game.  I have never seen someone elude this result.

Ultimately, they are not going to be the one who wins.

This is true in sports as it is in business, relationships, ministry and life.  We are all going to lose at one time.  We are all going to face stress and pressures.  We are all going to have people question our actions, motives and decisions.  It can be as big as financial decisions, job changes or bold steps of faith.  It can be as small as what to wear today or what to eat.  We all have opinions about other people.

What do you do when other people are causing you stress?

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.                 Phillipians 4:6, 7 NLT

I have learned that I cannot control others.  Like a coach, I can teach, demonstrate and speak into someone’s life, but I cannot make them do anything.  Also, I cannot control my external circumstances.  I cannot control how certain things happen in my life.  Life happens and you have to deal with it.

However, the one thing I have direct control over is me.  My thoughts, attitude, words and actions are all under my command.  I have the clear ability to look at any situation and determine my course of thinking, speaking and taking action.

The tension is there every day of poise and stress.  Integrity and stress.  Character and stress.  Success and stress.  Challenge and stress. It isn’t going away.

In applying Paul’s words, I need to do a couple things:

  1.  Go to God and tell Him what I need.  A novel concept – tell God that something is bigger than you and say this is what I need…not want. (Ahh, there is the kicker, need not want.)
  2. Thank Him for what he has done.  Can I show gratitude when it isn’t going my way or even more challenging, when I do get what I desire?
  3. I will experience peace. Here is the toughest statement of the whole post – Some people enjoy chaos more than they enjoy peace.  They would rather have their “hair on fire” – it makes them feel like they are in control or paying the price for the situation.  Why do that when Jesus paid the ultimate price and God offers me peace even when I don’t understand it?
  4. His peace will guard my heart and mind.  As goes my heart (emotions, passions, desires) and my mind (intellect, decisions, actions) – so goes me.  If I let his peace guard those things, I will move forward with greater growth.
  5. In Christ Jesus.  I need to acknowledge that I am not self sufficient.  I am fallible and can be broken.  Only God can mend me and make me whole.

Today, you are facing stress.  What is your next step?

 

 

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