More Antidote for Anxiety

(Continuation of my last post…)

Take delight in the Lord. Commit your way to the Lord.

It seems to me that these two go hand in hand. What might God delight in? What does God desire? The prophet Hosea says that God desires us to know him and to love him with a steadfast love.

How do we commit to knowing and loving God? Practically speaking, we spend time with those we love. How much time are we willing to spend with the Lord? I mean, really? What does that time look like? Is it ten minutes of looking at a devotional reading while the tasks of the day run through our mind? Is ten distracted minutes enough for a signficant relationship to thrive?

It takes more effort to engage with the Lord, and it requires a commitment to prayerfully reading the Bible regularly…as in every day.

Just a word of caution here… For a while, I used an app on my phone for my daily prayer. The app promised to make it easier to follow the Daily Office (my preferred reading plan), offering each day’s readings all in one place at the touch of a single button. But I found that the pings and dings of incoming texts, emails, and voicemails distracted me mercilessly. And then I would think of something I needed to add to my to-do list for the day, which prompted me to open my calendar to type in a reminder, which led to a whole bunch of other distractions. I’ve since gone back to my printed Bible!

And speaking of reading the Bible…while that’s certainly a good and necessary thing to do, is that all we need to do? Just because I read a book about someone, it doesn’t mean I really know them. Of course, the Bible is not just any book. It is unique in that it is the living word of God—the Holy Spirit enlivens each word for us as we allow Him to. And that’s just the point. Reading or studying for knowledge is one thing, and it’s what we are trained to do from the time we learn to read. But the intimacy of actually knowing God comes from meditating on his word, contemplating its meaning for our life and for our relationship with the One whose love for us is complete.

I’m certain that this sort of communion with God is what David is speaking of in Psalm 37 when he suggests that we delight ourselves in the Lord. And it will most certainly lead to another of his antidotes for anxiety, which will be the subject of my next post.

In the meantime, spend some time with God pondering these two questions:

  • Lord, how would you have me delight in you today?
  • Lord, practically speaking, what does it look like for me to commit my way to you today?

Recognizing Leaders

What does a good leader really look like? Seriously. We all know lots of leaders, but are they good leaders? Osama bin Laden was said to be a charismatic leader, but he certainly wasn’t good. Are the leaders we look up to effective leaders? I can think of several politicians who are esteemed as leaders, but who accomplish little aside from padding their pockets. They certainly aren’t effective.

There is much chatter in the “church world” about leadership. The Church has seen leaders who have advanced the kingdom, and  leaders who have blemished and stained her.  It seems that we would do well to identify some traits of a mature, godly leader so that we know what to look for. I’ll get the conversation rolling…

Wisdom

The older I get, the more I look for–and desire for myself–wisdom. Proverbs has a lot to say about wisdom: it comes from the Lord (2:6), it is supreme and therefore we should get it (4:7), it is more precious than rubies (8:11). The first deacons were chosen because of their wisdom (Acts 6:3). Knowledge is great, but wisdom tells you how to use it effectively. Interestingly, people who possess great wisdom are often quiet… and perhaps overlooked as potential leaders.

Teachable

The most effective leaders I know have a lifelong love for learning. The need to appear all-knowing is not part of their makeup; these leaders realize that there is always something new to learn that will help them be better at what they do and who they are. They are teachable, which often points to a humble spirit.

Values Relationship

Show me a person who values people over programs, relationships over material things, and I will bet my last dollar that this person can become a good and effective leader! Programs and buildings are temporal. Programs are subject to the winds of change and will lose their effectiveness in time; any material thing will eventually decay. Jesus commands us to love one another as He loves us (John 13:34). Later, in his first letter, John tells us that the world and its desires will pass away, but the one who does the will of God (loves others) lives forever (2:17). John learned well from Jesus!

These are just three of the things that I consider essential to good, effective leadership. What would you add?