Do you sometimes feel like the harried circus performer spinning plates in the air? At times our schedules seem to dictate that all our effort is spent running from one responsibility to another, anticipating a “wobble” or trying to maintain the needed momentum. It’s easy to gravitate toward this extreme and if we look at our Day-Timers it seems as if the meaning of “balance” and “perspective” has been forgotten.
Life in the Fast Lane is seductive – it blinds and entices while eroding our long-term effectiveness. There is an almost fatal attraction to the rush of adrenaline fed by our own sense of indispensability. Perspective evaporates as we listen to the siren song of activity. And the result is a chaotic and unbalanced life.
Four Marks Of The Grind
Spending too much time in the fast lane is not only dangerous but also destructive. The grind of the pace can affect a leader in four ways.
1. Loss of perspective.
When your schedule moves too fast for clear thinking and reflection, you experience a loss of objectivity and clouded judgment.
2. Misuse and/or abuse of others.
As a result of the seemingly unending pressure, relationships bear the brunt. This is perhaps seen in manipulating others with your anger or frustration.
3. Focus on short term gain at the expense of long term goals.
In an effort to maintain the activity level, your focus is switched to the immediate, while often ignoring the truly important.
4. Diminished Effectiveness
When living off the rush of adrenaline we fail to recognize that we are less effective, both in personal projects and in ministry to others.
Julia Ward Howe, the author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, once asked Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts if he could give some assistance to a family in need. Senator Sumner said, “I’m sorry, Mrs. Howe, but I can’t. I have become so busy that I can no longer devote any time to individuals.” Mrs. Howe said, “That’s pretty amazing Senator,” she said, “not even God is that busy!”
Maintain The Balance
Maintaining personal perspective and balance in a world full of demands is tough. It means we make a commitment to renew or refocus our perspective while being open to others to point out the wobble in our life.
Before the Lord instructed Elijah to show himself (1 Kings 18.1) he was told to hide himself (1 Kings 17.2). The “hiding times ” allow us to recharge our batteries, refocus our vision and renew our relationship with our Savior. The energy of activity can prevent us from hearing the voice of God. Don’t let it diminish your ministry as you work toward faithfulness in your commitments.Stay the Course,
Reprinted by permission of the author. All rights reserved. This article originally appeared in the August 10, 1998, Leadership Dynamics Newsletter located at www.leadershipdynamics.org
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