Are you feeling stressed? Pressured? Overloaded?
Many of you are returning to school soon, some to totally new environments, some to increasing responsibility as you near the end of your educational career and the beginning of your working career. That’s stressful.
Some of you are under tremendous pressure at work. One guy described his day as “walking into a buzz saw.” Here’s a little research on the subject:
The average office worker gets 220 messages a day—in e-mails, memos, phone calls, interruptions, and ads.
A survey of 1,313 managers on four continents found that "one-third of managers suffer from ill health as a direct consequence of stress associated with information overload. This figure increases to 43 percent among senior managers."
The sheer volume of information you have to screen, absorb and respond to can make you sick.*
Then there are those other “little” stressors that anybody with a lot of responsibility and little authority can relate to:
Dealing with spin – information comes to us like a Clayton Kershaw curve ball. It looks like the straight stuff until it gets to the plate. The truth gets lost in the rumor mill or shady ethics.
Office Politics – strained relationships between others in your organization make your job more difficult.
Political Correctness – rears its head conscience requires you to say things no one wants to hear.
Administrative Hassles – you want to hire the best qualified person, you know who it is, but you have to jump through a bunch of hoops first to keep the watchdogs happy.
Communication Breakdown – they say the package would arrive Monday, but you heard them promise it would be there Friday.
If you can connect with any of that you can connect with Pastor Tim of the first Church of Ephesus. He was dealing with the same issues dressed in church clothes.
Spin – Legalism, Gnosticism and superstitious mysticism were confusing the church.
Politics – Strained relationships between church members put him in the middle.
Political Correctness – The role of women be in the church had to be addressed.
Administrative Issues – Who could serve as elder? Deacon? How would they be qualified?
Communication – Tim had to set the example of clear communication and following through on commitments.
Let me go back to my original question. Are you feeling overloaded? Pressured? Stressed to the max? If so you might be feeling like Pastor Tim: RUN BABY RUN!
It’s apparent from Paul’s very first instruction to Tim that he was ready to bug out. “As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus …” (1 Timothy 1:3a emphasis added).
That was not what Tim was hoping to hear. But it’s one of the keys to success in high stress. “Stay there,” he said. “Fight the good fight, hold on to your faith, keep your conscience clear, and stay there.”
If God has placed you in a tough situation, stay in it. Don’t bail out just because your palms are getting sweaty. If you’re sure God is in it, you stay in it. Problems are just opportunities dressed in scary costumes. God has something to teach you and something to accomplish through you in that difficult spot. If you bail out now you may never learn what you can be and you may never see what God can do.
*Kevin Miller, "Managing Chaos," Christian Management Report (June 2006), p. 9