or wait 15 seconds
or wait 15 seconds
I was given my first significant corporate opportunity to build out a new department and set of enterprises programs to support a multi-billion-dollar initiative. This was my break!
The stakes were high, timeline fixed by a federal mandate and it was exhilarating. Unfortunately, they put Shelby on the project with me and I didn’t think she was nearly as “driven” as I was.
She walked by my desk looking tired, so I asked her if she was OK. “Yeah, I am just adjusting to less sleep in this intense run.”
I condescendingly rebuked her, “Shelby, that’s dumb. This is a high-stakes project. You have to be at your best. I’m making sure that all I do is work, sleep, workout and maintain fitness of mind and body. What in the world is keeping you from getting enough sleep?”
She smiled and said, “Well, knowing how much this matters for everyone I’ve been getting up two hours early every day to pray that God would give me the wisdom to serve well. How are you keeping your prayer life up in this sprint?”
(Gulp) I felt 3 feet tall and she was suddenly towering over me! I, the “spiritual giant” I thought I was compared to Miss Not Driven Enough had brilliantly hit “pause” on my prayer and Bible reading “logically” to focus on “essentials” during this launch.
Years later, I met with a mentor seeking counsel on a conflict I was navigating professionally. After telling him that I really saw a light at the end of the tunnel and if I could just get “there,” I’d take a break, breathe and reset the dials in life.
He smiled and asked if he could pray for me. His prayer went, “Father, would you teach Mike how to rest in You at a high rate of speed?It is unlikely his life will slow down or the ideal circumstance ever be achieved where it is convenient to rest. Abiding in you is not conditional upon a lack of demands in life. Show him what You desire for him, how to rest at a high rate of speed.”
I have written that prayer in my journal probably 50 times since then!
As leaders we too often practice Calendar Atheism and become religious zealots for Performance Idolatry. Oh, it’s always “temporary” and “just a season.” Right?
I wrestled with this in an accountability group and found myself in a hotel room asking God why I felt so stressed out. Isn’t His way supposed to be “light and easy?” After a time of prayer I drew out this T Chart of Cosmic Insubordination.
I realized, I am actually at war with God in my life all too regularly!
As a husband I was haunted by 1 Peter 3:7. Was it true God would literally ignore my prayers if I’m letting my obsession fuel neglect in my marriage?
Greg McKeown wrote a wonderfully, irritatingly convicting book, Essentialism. Here’s a book summary:
Greg argues that our energy and effectiveness follows the laws of hydraulics. The more outputs the lower the pressure and the less distance the mass will travel. Unless we put in hard stops, denying many good things so we can be faithful in the great things we’re called to do, we will be mediocre or fail. (Summary by ReadItFor.Me)
Actually, behind all of this is a ton of theology. At some point we acknowledge God’s sovereignty in matters of eternity and “spiritual stuff,” but in the nuts and bolts of life we live as though we are the masters of our fate.
I sat in a C12 peer advisory group in Austin with 12 other CEOs I meet with monthly and we wrestled with this very issue. My chair looked at me and said, “Mike, in Genesis we see that God, the most productive person in the universe, each day found it possible to get some work done, wrap up with a huge “To Do List” as incomplete, called it a day and called that day “good.” He wasn’t done, there was so much to do, and it was ‘good’ to stop. If God could stop, why can’t you?”
This is a touchy subject, I know. I’m throwing no stones, because I’ve been the chief of sinners in this all too often. I’ve learned God delights in our constraints. However, we’re even deficient by design! There are often critical gaps that God is passionate to father us through if we’ll stop.
Photo source: istock
Mike Sharrow is the President and CEO of the C12 Group. He began as a C12 Group member in 2010 while serving as an executive pastor for a large church in Texas and owner of a healthcare strategy consulting group. With a background spanning Fortune 50 corporate settings, start ups, non-profit and local church, Mike has been discipled into an integrated life perspective around the calling all believers share to be disciple making disciples and ambassadors of Christ across all vocations and contexts. He is married to Jacqui and they have two daughters, Elayna and Sophia.
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