6 Powerful Pulls that Challenge Your Peace
Are you experiencing peace right now in your life and work? What’s pulling at you and challenging your peace?
When you are pulled by challenges and circumstances that are out of your control, it is difficult to relax, not to mention a little overwhelming! That’s how I felt on my first and last water-skiing adventure.
To be fair, I’m not much for water sports, but that didn’t keep me from accepting an invitation to spend the day on the lake with friends back when I was in college. At the time, it seemed like an exciting new adventure.
To say that the best part of the day was hanging out on the boat and soaking up the sunshine is an understatement. For me, the water-skiing part of the adventure was an epic failure. I spent more time treading water than up on skis and let’s not even talk about how sore I was for days afterwards!
I am still no water-skiing expert, but thanks to the internet I know at least intellectually what what’s necessary to water-ski successfully:
- A skilled boat driver
- Skis that fit well
- The right form – Starting in a ball, standing slowing with knees bent, back straight, arms extended, and skis together. Eyes up. If your arms are not extended, you will not be able to adjust should the rope go slack.
- Being relaxed – let the skis and boat do the work
Leading is a lot like skiing without the water! Leading successfully requires:
- A skilled driver – that’s God!
- A purpose – a way of “being” that fits you like a pair of well-fitting skis. Knowing who God created you to be and leaning into that.
- The right form – the leadership skills and being centered in Him, eye’s up, and arms extended and prepared to adjust what comes your way!
- Being relaxed! No one operates at their very best when they are tense.
That’s easy when life is calm, but remaining peaceful and relaxed in the choppy wake-filled waters of life– that’s another story! Just like navigating the wind and the wakes in the water takes a toll on your form and puts added stress on your body when water-skiing, the powerful pulls that happen in life have a similar effect on leaders.
When water-skiing, learning how to manage and adjust the tension of the rope between you and the boat is key. And as a leader, there are also tensions you must learn to manage including the tension between…
1. Productivity & Rest
How do you gauge the success of your day? I’m guessing that how much you were able to get done is a significant measure for you. The more you’re able to accomplish, the better you feel, so you attempt to pack more and more into your day. That task focus has the potential to really take a toll on your relationships, well-being, and put you on the fast track to burnout!
Taking regular breaks throughout the day, creating boundaries around your work hours, and enjoying regular times of rest including the Sabbath and vacations to refresh and refuel actually increases your productivity and allows you to get more done in less time. I know it sounds counter intuitive, but I dare you to give it a try!
On the other hand, lean too far in the direction of rest, and you won’t get the results you are after either. There is a happy tension between productivity and rest. Have discovered what that is for you?
2. Goals & Surrender
Goals help you to focus and provide direction, which is a very good thing! However, being so goal driven that you are unwilling, or unable, to surrender to God and His way of doing things – that’s not so good!
God’s timing is rarely our timing; His way is typically unorthodox and at first glance may not even make sense.
There’s a delicate balance between pursing goals and remaining surrendered to His will.
Remember, He’s in control, He has your best in mind, and He is qualified to “drive” your life!
How do you deal with the tension between goals and surrender?
3. Strength & Weakness
Who wants to appear weak? I know I don’t! Yet scripture tells us that God gives strength to the weak! I don’t know about you, but I need that supernatural strength!
While you have some amazing God given abilities, God also asks you to do things that are outside of your abilities and your comfort zone. It’s in that place that you must rely on His power!
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:29 (NIV)
4. Planning & Being
I am a planner. God regularly challenges my plans! Circumstances outside of my control have interfered with my plans more times than I can count in the last couple of weeks. How do you respond in those moments? Do you buckle down and get more determined to force your plan to happen or are you able to relax and trust His plan and just be?
I am still learning to be. Just be. No striving – just trusting!
What helps me to be is dwelling on the fact that I matter to Him. He loves me, really loves me! What others think of me – that doesn’t matter. It’s OK for me to plan as long as I am willing to trust Him when it’s time to flex my plans.
How do you navigate the tension between planning and being?
5. Success & Obedience
The world’s way of measuring success is wealth, the accumulation of material things, status, fame, etc.
God’s view of success is different. Very different. He longs for you to savor His love and that His love would urge you to obedience. Your obedience brings Him glory. Being obedient doesn’t make you look like you are “successful.” In fact, it might even make you look downright foolish at times.
How are you measuring your success right now? How do you handle the tension between success & obedience?
6. More, More, More, & Less
Leaders tend to take on more and more – more than they are able to truly handle. Do you resist delegating because you believe you can do the tasks quicker and better? Do you assume another board position, speaking engagement, or new product – whatever the “more” is in your world – because it’s a great opportunity even though you are barely able to handle what you already have going on?
The result: you are less and less effective!
While taking on more temporarily makes you feel successful, it rarely feels that way down the road. However, narrowing your focus and putting more effort into less not only yields better results, but enables you to be more effective too! Saying “no” is hard! You might have to turn in your “busy badge” and practice setting boundaries, which will be uncomfortable at first, but will ultimately benefit you. Talk about tension!
I left out one little detail when it comes to water-skiing: Practice! Any time you venture out try something new like water-skiing, you must be patient and practice. Not only does it use muscles that you didn’t even know you had, but you have to learn to relax and let the boat and your skis do the work. Fear makes that hard! Beginners have a tendency to work against the boat which doesn’t do them any favors.
Navigating the powerful pulls that come your way – that takes practice too. Those powerful pulls prey on your peace and make you less effective.
A little bit of tension is good. It makes you stronger. Too much tension is not so good – it leaves you vulnerable to getting hurt and wears you out. Bottom line, it steals your peace.
Which tension is most difficult for you to manage? Where are you feeling the pull?
Originally published on 5/1/16, this blog post has been updated and revised just for you!