The High Cost of Anxiety and How to Overcome it
The suicide of an apparently successful, talented, and influential 30-year-old pastor near Los Angeles this week has stunned American Christian leadership.
His beautiful wife and mother of his three little boys eulogized him HERE. His church is in total shock. “How could pace, pressure, and performance produce a total crushing collapse?”
David faced unthinkable pressure. He ran from cave to cave, hiding while stalked by a madman intent on killing his leadership and destiny. He wrote his deepest psalms while living under intense pressure and anxiety.
The same Saul spirit is stalking young leaders today. Pressure is real. Anxiety is real. Here are a few important thoughts to remember:
1. Pace is critical.
- I wrote a chapter once called the “pace of grace”. If we “red-line” our time and commitments, something within us is drying up and dying.
- Slow down. Build in margin. Listen to those who love you. Put a Sabbath in your routine and calendar. Focus on your inner circle. Pray about every new opportunity.
2. Pressure is never the will of God.
- God tells you to “do this.” The devil says, “Do it NOW.” If I am forcing myself to do something, I am not following the Spirit.
- Pressure comes when I’m pleasing man. If I please God, who cares what man thinks? Jesus’ brothers tried to force him to go to Jerusalem and He replied, “Your time is always now. My time has not yet come.” Let God build His kingdom, not yours.
3. Performance leaves you empty.
- “The show must go on.” When a leader forces himself or herself to keep up the performance schedule with no sense of anointing or presence of God, something inside of them is dying a slow death.
- Adrenalin is not anointing. Adrenalin fuels performance. Anointing fuels passion. Change directions. Serve where you fit and flow. Be set free from performance and style and focus on adding value to every listener.
4. Don’t do life alone.
- I have three men to whom I am totally accountable. They have the right to call me into account in my morals, money, ministry, motives…anything. I know they love me deeply and only want to cover and protect me.
- You need those three people. Seek them out. Ask them to cover you. Commit to follow their counsel when your anxiety has confused your decision making processes.
Pace, pleasing God, passion, and partnership.
These words could mean the difference between life and death.
Let us stop right now and pray for these four principles to get down into the heart and soul of young, vibrant leaders who are overrunning their headlights.
Their marriages can be saved. Their children will keep their Dad. Their churches will not have to go through the deep upheaval of a leader being removed from them.
To all our new generation leaders: “We stand behind you, holding up your hands and cheering you on. We need you. You are the hope of America.”