What Can A Leader Do When They Are Down, Depleted & Discouraged?

When You Are Down…Be Thankful

Be thankful for what you have, not what you don’t. I’m writing this post sitting near my son’s hospital bed with a bad bone infection in his hand. He had an accident a month ago to reattach the partially detached finger, revascularization surgery to repair an artery and two pins to hold the bone together. And, just when everything was going well, a bone infection, another surgery and a long road to recovery. Now what? Mad, upset, blame, yes…I have felt all three. However, when I stop and take an inventory of the room for the last 45 minutes I can choose to focus on the circumstances or the possibilities. Here are seven quick examples.

I am thankful for the two antibiotics he is receiving.
I am thankful for the nurses who check on him every 30 minutes.
I am thankful for the Doctor and surgical team.
I am thankful for medical technology.
I am thankful for the couch I can lay down on in his room,.
I am thankful for the friends who brought Mary and I something to eat.
I am thankful for the 100’s of people who are praying on Facebook.

You can see where this is going. I can focus on the circumstances and stay down or I can focus on what I am thankful for and get up.

Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 CEV


When You Are Depleted…Be Available

Leaders are quick to give and often reluctant to receive. I speak from experience. When you are completely emptied by life’s circumstances it’s not only ok to ask for help but necessary.

Being available to receive a gift or acknowledge help form others when you are completely spent is a healthy step toward vulnerability. As leaders, when we say no to someone offering help, it reveals something about our ability to be completely vulnerable with those who are closest to us.

By acknowledging our depleted emotional, mental or physical need we are saying, “we need help.” Revealing that "we need help” puts us in a vulnerable position. Acknowledging the fact that we need someone else is a humbling prospect. Be available to others when you are depleted. Be open and available to receive, not give.

Help carry each other’s burdens. In this way you will follow Christ’s teachings. Galatians 6:2 GW. This verse is not just for leaders who feel like they can do it all or should do it all but a verse for everyone. When we are not available to receive we may be robbing someone of the opportunity to help carry us.


When You Are Discouraged…Be Mindful

Be mindful with an intense focus and fixation on God alone, not our circumstances. I say be mindful because it leads to peace and freedom from inner disturbance. It is possible to have inner peace in the midst of outward chaos.

When we hyper focus on the negative in other people or events we have an out of balance outlook that will always tip us to the side of discouragement. When we find our focus in and on God He brings about peace.

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you. Isaiah 26:3 NLT

What a great verse with so many implications for our lives! It’s interesting to note that the word "perfect" is not in the original Hebrew text. The way it is written is, "You will keep in  "peace, peace all who trust in you.”

I have no profound reason why I like the fact that the verse reads “peace, peace” other than the fact that I really don’t know what “perfect” peace looks like. I do understand, peace, peace. God says if you lean in, trust on and give over your situation to me I will give you peace, and then peace, and then peace and then peace...

The key for me is I don’t need to seek peace, its a byproduct of leaning in and trusting on God Himself. You see, HE gives the peace to us, we can not beg, borrow or buy it. Peace is a byproduct of his benevolence as we keep our mind fixed on Him

Photo Credit: illustration:thinkstock:cnmoney