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The question leaders must answer when the pressure is on

| by Scott Cochrane

Every leader feels pressure; the pressure to perform, to achieve, to succeed and many, many other stresses unique to leaders.

And when the pressure is on, every leader, whether they realize it or not, wants to go someplace.

The important question is, Are you aware of where you want to go when you face pressure?

Because some places are very helpful, soul-filling and healthy. And many others can be destructive. Case in point.

King David faced tremendous pressures, which he wrote about in Psalms 55:

My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught…My heart is in anguish within me” (Psalms 55: 2, 4).

And in response, David’s first instinct was to escape.

I said, ‘Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. I would flee far away and stay in the desert’” (Psalms 55: 6,7).

Every leader who has faced pressure (in other words, every leader) can relate to David’s desire to go someplace. The key is to be aware of where it is you want to go.

At first, David wanted to go hide out in the desert. And every leader needs to be ruthlessly honest and figure out where their “desert” really is.

For some, when the pressure is on, they want to hide out in the desert of social media. For others, it’s the desert of busyness. Still others want to hide in the desert of pornography, alcohol or in unhealthy relationships.

David was aware that his first instinct might have been to flee to the desert, but he also had the presence of mind to be able to set that aside and to instead go to a much healthier place.

As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice. As for me, I trust in you” (Psalms 55: 16, 33)

When the pressure was on, David recognized his first instinct was to flee to the desert. But ultimately, he recognized that the only place to go was to lean fully on God.

The next time you feel like fleeing to your desert place, pause. Reflect. Recognize any unhealthy pattern that might exist in that place. 

And then do as David did, when he said, “I call to God, and the Lord saves me.”

Photo source: istock

Scott Cochrane

Scott Cochrane serves on the executive team for the Willow Creek Association, as Vice President, International Ministries. He was born and raised in Canada, where he became connected to the Willow Creek Association, first as a marketing director and later as the ministry’s Chief Operating Officer. Scott has been married to Nora since 1985, and they have three grown married children, Adam, Amy and John, as well as three grandchildren.

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O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Psalm 63:1 (ESV)
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