This afternoon, I read a portion of Jon Gordon’s book, The Power of Positive Leadership. (A friend had recommended this and I was eager to read something that would be motivating.) I love this particular section (p. 51):
Dr. James Gills accomplished the remarkable feat of completing a double triathlon (two triathlons back to back with only a 24-hour break.) Even more remarkable is that Gills completed a double triathlon six times, and the last time he did it was 59 years old. When asked how he did it, he gave the best advice I’ve ever heard. He said, “I’ve learned to talk to myself instead of listen to myself.” He memorized scripture and would recite it to himself when he needed a boost. Gills continued, “If I listen to myself, I hear all the reasons why I should give up. I hear that I’m too tired, too old, too weak to make it. But if I talk to myself, I can give myself the encouragement and words I need to hear to keep running and finish the race.”
Far too many of us (including church leaders) seem to be almost obsessed with listening to the negative, fear-based, anxiety rooted messages that are within us. We listen to ourselves and we hear hopelessness, futility, and reasons to give up. We just don’t have enough of this or that. Of course, we then talk to our spouses, fellow church leaders, colleagues, etc. and our anxiety spreads like a highly contagious disease.
Perhaps it would be more helpful to focus on talking to ourselves. For example, I could ask the following:
- How does God’s presence, power, and love impact this situation?
- How would I behave in this situation if I really trusted in God?
- How might the most Godly people in my life handle this situation?
- How might Godly people whom I have admired through history have handled this situation