Tuesday, July 09, 2013

4 Lessons For Pressure Times

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(Knowing that we all face pressure times, I am re-posting this entry from three years ago. I hope it encourages you.)
These last few weeks have been...interesting for me at work: My three main areas of pastoral oversight (building & maintenance, IT, and tech arts) were director-less (vacation, surgery, other ministry responsibilities), many of our pastoral team were involved in testifying in a court case, thus increasing my pastoral load, and our worship pastor is on vacation and asked me to oversee worship for two weekends and during the week (never a burden though). Plus, one of our pastors is in long-term recuperation from surgery, and we have divided up his responsibilities among us.

I am not complaining, but rather grateful for the way the Lord "built" me: type-A, task-oriented, driven, etc. This has helped me "get 'er done" during this time (it's not over yet, although our building supervisor is back and our tech arts manager is able to focus more on tech arts). But, now some of our team are on vacation or ministering elsewhere, so here we go again... Stressed and tired, but not complaining.

Here are four lessons that I have learned during the last few weeks:
  • Maintain my disciplines: Every morning I have my devotion time, run several miles, read, and have coffee with my wife. I maintain my eating habits. I pray. These are my anchors. Neglecting them would only destabilize the rest of my day. Lesson: Maintain my disciplines!
  • Plan for disruptions: Being a "list-checker" guy, I get easily frustrated when a project I am working on takes longer than I anticipated, especially when a higher priority problem needs an immediate solution. If I anticipate taking more time than I expect a project to take, I am surprised and encouraged when it goes quicker than planned. Lesson: Plan for disruptions!
  • Use my tools: My iPhone and MacBook Pro have been invaluable to me, helping me keep up with the multiple responsibilities I have needed to cover. Lesson: Use my tools!
  • Remember people: No matter how mundane or "task-oriented" a project is, I still interact with people. I needed to keep my stress-level in check and my people-response skills strong. I am an encourager, seeking to serve, rather than a fixer who is being bothered by people. I have made sure that I have taken time to invest into the lives of those I usually invest in. Lesson: Remember people!
I have survived to face another day (or rather face another evening: I have a board of trustees meeting next). I am still going strong (although the late evenings are "vegetable times" - and I'm not referring to what I eat). My family still likes being around me (although my daughter thinks my humor is sub-par). Lessons learned!

Question: What are some lessons that you have learned in your times of high stress or heavy work?

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