Mark Batterson's recent post about "Emotional Endurance" provided me with one of those... "Thanks, I needed that" moments. Here's what Mark had to say:
One of the keys to effective leadership is what I would call emotional endurance. If you're going to make it as a leader, you have to have a high threshold for a wide variety of emotions.
Every once in a while, fellow ministers will ask me about the greatest challenge I face in church-world. Frankly, I think it's managing your emotions. You have to manage the fear and the discouragement and the anxiety. If you can't, you won't make it. But if you allow the challenging situations to build emotional endurance, you'll be prepared for even bigger challenges.
One of the things that has helped me deal with criticism and stress is my perspective. I don't particularly like criticism or stress, but I see it as building emotional endurance. And if I'm going to do bigger and better things for God, then I'm going to need more emotional endurance.
I met with my alma mater's basketball team this week and told them that the lessons they learn on the basketball court will translate to leadership. A big one is managing emotions. When the game is on the line and you're at the free throw line, you have to perform under pressure. I feel the same butterflies when I preach in a high-pressure situation as I did when I ran out of the locker room for a big game.
What I'm getting at is this: God wants to sanctify your emotions. He wants to build emotional endurance. And that generally involves high levels of stress or criticism or fear or discouragement. But if you grow through those circumstances then you'll become a stronger person emotionally.
One of my most distinct college memories was speaking at my commencement. I was so nervous! Good thing we had graduation gowns because I was shaking. But I look back at those kind of situations that were outside my comfort zone and they built emotional endurance. I was able to step into a high pressure situation with a little more confidence the next time around.
I think it was Martin Luther King who said, "What does not destroy me makes me stronger." So true! So I don't wish perfect peace upon you. If you don't build up emotional endurance, God can't use you!
May God give us thick skin and a soft heart.