I Just Love Problems!
One of the hard parts of discipleship is that God develops character in is by not avoiding problems but teaching us to get through them with Him.
I think that's why James wrote in James 1:2-4
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
Recently at our Staff Lunch (we have those every month - and Rick always brings a teaching element for us), Rick posed the question to us as leaders: How do leaders handle bad days? This was apropos considering that just the day before our large capacity coffee machine in Cafe Grace broke down after just one batch (and we do at least eight every Sunday morning). Jack Smith and his team struggled to find any coffee maker in the church (some were mismatched with the wrong caraffe!) and a couple of old-fashioned percolators. THEN when a visitor tried to use one of the percolators, the spigot broke off - hot coffee spilled everywhere!
Sunday was a bad day! But they did it! No one quit (yet) and no one died! They persevered!
You might say, well this doesn't apply to me - I'm not a leader.
Not true! You lead yourself (probably the most important aspect of leadership) - and if you're parent, you're a leader. If you are in charge of a task at work, you're a leader. If you are responsible for equipment or people, you're a leader! We may not lead highly visible or get paid for it, but we all lead. So what does a leader do when you get a bad day? The answer: With grace and truth. Grace that comes from God - the strength and ability to handle the hit; and the truth found in the following:
First, remember being a leader does not exempt a person from experiencing bad days.
In fact, the opposite is true.
Being a leader will increase the number of bad days because a leader is working on problems no one else wants to deal with and a leader must work with people where delicacy, diplomacy and discipleship must accompany the tactics of ministry.
Second, a Leader keeps in-mind the following about bad days:
You Should Expect Bad Days.
Just knowing bad days are coming is half the battle. Don't be surprised!
A seasoned leader is not shocked or surprised when bad days regularly arrive.
"A leader seldom has two good days in a row!" John Maxwell
Don't Let Your Emotions Control Your Motion.
Bad days can discourage and paralyze any leader - if they lose track of their core values and goals.
A seasoned leader develops the tenacity and determination to keep moving forward through the bad day.
"A leader cannot moan and lead at the same time!"
Expect Big Problems/Tough Decisions.
Leaders have to address big problems and make tough decisions.
Seasoned leaders know how to put on their "big-boy/big-girl pants" and make tough decisions.
People under your leadership get to solve the small problems and make the easy decisions.
If being a wise and capable leader was easy, everybody would be one!
Don't Waste Time or Energy on Things You Cannot Control.
Seasoned leaders know the difference between a problem and a fact:
A Problem in Life = You can Fix It - you can control this.
A Fact of Life = You have Accept It - you can't control this.
Example: You will never play basketball in the NBA. This is a fact you cannot fix, but you can accept.
Don't Just Go Through Bad Days; Grow Through Bad Days.
Value the growth opportunities of bad days.
There are some lessons in life that can only be learned from bad day experiences.
Don't waste a bad day...they hurt too much to waste!
God means for you to lead in one capacity or another. Again, SELF leadership is an important part of your maturity process. Why is this so important to God? Because you are SPECIAL to God - and when God sees a problem, he never sends a message, he sends a Messenger; when God fixes a problem, he doesn't send PowerPoint, he sends a Person. In all the Universe, for this time and this season, he has YOU to be a trophy of his grace and to collaborate with him in the maturing of his Church! Wow! That makes the problems we have seem a lot more bearable, doesn't it?
So, have a great day - and don't waste your bad ones!