Life and leadership is a cycle of embracing a passion, pushing through the pain of reality, and then realizing the promise. There is always tough stuff to press through. How do we keep the joy and enjoy the journey while pushing through the realities that lead to the promise? In this episode, we talk about the place on our journey where we have to push through the part we don’t always want to do because it will take us to the place we want to be.
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Pushing Through the Pain to Realize the Promise
We started this podcast because our favorite thing, our calling in a way, is sitting across the table, having coffee with spiritual leaders who are younger than us, or a leader facing a challenging season, or a leader just wanting to bounce thoughts off of someone. Obviously, we cannot do that with as many people as we would like, so our aim is to be led of the Holy Spirit in the things we talk about, believing that often the topics connect with those who are listening.
Calibrate life is as much about life as it is leadership, but from the perspective of living our lives in such a way as to be healthy ourselves, and to fulfill our purpose of lifting and encouraging those we love and lead.
We called it Calibrate Life because we believe that personal life transformation is first, and then we lead out of the strength of who we are in Christ.
We are committed to being appropriately transparent. It is important to share our journeys (not just David and Donna, but all of us who are spiritual leaders) if we are to lift those we love and lead.
We’ve shared our journey, because we feel it important to encourage others on their own great adventure.
It is because of what we feel Calibrate Life has to be, that we want to approach something today that we are in the process of learning ourselves.
Have you ever been in a place where you know you could effectively coach and/or mentor someone through something, but when it comes to self-talk, and self-coaching, you find it to be a challenge. I am in one of those places. A place where I know all the right answers, I know what I need to do, and I am punching through those challenges.
We don’t wish the challenges away, we grow through them.
There are a lot of segments of our life journey that we do not particularly enjoy. We are tempted to wish away those bits of the path.
As I write these notes, it is February, cold, with a couple of inches of snow on the ground. Winter has gone on long enough and I am tired of it. I am starting to look forward to spring, when the air warms and things start to grow again.
If I had the power to wish it to be March 15th, instead of February 21, would I do so? Of course not. I am not willing to sacrifice even a few weeks of my life because I am uncomfortable outside. There are other solutions. A heavier coat, a trip to a warmer climate, anything but wishing away a few weeks of my life.
We cannot wish away days or weeks or months of our lives because we are uncomfortable. A hot humid day in the summer, a rainy day in the spring, a cold day in winter, we would lose way too much of our lives.
What about the grief process? How many times did I just want to get to the end of the pain? Would I have been willing to wish a few years away to get to a place where the pain was less? No. Why? Because I would have lost all of the life I lived as I pushed through the difficulty. It doesn’t make us feel any better when we are in the middle of it, but life is to be lived and not wished away.
I do not want to be in a season of fund raising. I want to go to Africa, I want to engage our passions. I want to get on with it. But I cannot wish the next several months away because they are too valuable.
So, how do we coach ourselves through such a season?
Enjoy the journey.
Find the joy that every day holds. If you focus on the negative every day, every day will be negative. What are you enjoying? What are the good things happening in your life right now that you wouldn’t be willing to trade. Focus on those things.
See the greater purpose.
We are building the kingdom of God, not just raising funds for Africa. We are forging partnerships, meeting people, speaking into people’s lives and situations, encouraging a lot of people to pursue God’s design for their lives. Most of the people we present to are not going to be monthly supporters, but they each have a life they can commit to the purpose and plan of God for God’s glory. If we can inspire a few to embrace God’s path with faith and trust, then the Kingdom of God is being built and God is being glorified. This is as much a part of the calling as what we will be doing on the other side of the ocean.
Learn to do the hard things.
I learned this lesson a long time ago, but I am still learning it. I don’t think we ever finish learning how to do the hard things. All of us have hard things yet in front of us.
See, here’s the thing, I promised myself that when I got older, which is starting to happen, that I would not allow myself to just be comfortable, go on auto pilot, and coast to the end. I’ve made it a matter of prayer throughout my life, I’ve asked God many times to keep me sharp, keep me fresh, keep me challenged, and that I would grow old with the spirit of Caleb who took one more mountain at the end. Now, I’m no where near the end, but stepping out of the comfort zone at this point was a big step. I am learning new skills, I am stretching in the very places where I am weakest.
The hard things we learn going through the difficult times sharpen important things. We are never to old to grow, this process never stops in our lives as long as we are living, and growing, and pursuing our passions.
Be willing to grow something important out of your weak zone.
I’ve taught the importance of staying in our strength zone for years, and I believe it is valid and important, but… There is a new found power in recognizing our dependency upon God, because the strength of God takes us into new life zones.
The reality of “when I am weak, I am strong” is becoming a new reality.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV
It is only when we press in over our heads, and our weak zone is always a place of in over our heads, that we find what it is to life in the power of Christ, and experience God in new ways.
Achieving the promise.
In marriage, the final “stage” is fulfillment. It is where the couple has learned many relationship lessons, have found their pace, and they grow old together in a powerful relationship. Some people never get to that stage. It takes time and investment.
To apply that principle to life in general: We start out passionate about life and our great adventure, then reality sets in and we discover the pain of pushing through the difficult things. It is only after we have pushed through and survived the difficult things that we come to a place of fulfillment.
Calibration Tools… Calibrating Our Lives and Lifting Those We Love and Lead
- If you are pushing through hard things, what is one thing that brings you joy right now? What is one thing you are thankful for?
- The tough stuff you are pushing through today… where is it taking you? What is your hope? What is the greater purpose? Can you state that purpose as you presently understand it?
- What is something that you must accomplish that is clearly in your weak zone? Can it be delegated? Who can you reach out to for help? How might pushing through and facing it build something important into your life? Can you speculate as to how the skills you refine by doing the hard thing you face right now could possible help you in the future?
- Is it possible (and this question is evidence of the fact that this podcast is for spiritual leaders)… Is it possible that it is important for you to be certain that what is going to happen in your life must be attributed to the power of Christ working in and through you? Because if we are limited to our humanity in the shaping of our future, I think there is a better future available.
We have to keep our eyes on the fulfillment.
There will always be tough stuff to push through, to overcome, to face, and sometimes to embrace and live with. Fulfillment only comes when we take on the realities.
We have a PASSION, we face the PAIN and grow through it, and we come into the PROMISE. You can’t experience the PROMISE without first facing the PAIN of life and the journey.
It’s not so much that we will just appreciate the PROMISE more, it is that we simply will not achieve the PROMISE without facing the PAIN.