When Stress Threatens Your Leadership

How to get back on track when the pressures of life consume you
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Leading while feeling stagnant and sluggish are sure ways to self-destruct in ministry. Attempting to lead others while we’re frustrated, uneasy, and tired will shipwreck our leadership abilities. The problem isn’t just big issues in life, but also the everyday pressures that add up and consume us. This kind of pressure can slowly chisel away at us, weakening our mental strength, and filling us with feelings of depression, isolation, and procrastination—and it can all sneak up on us if we’re not careful.

Sometimes we forget that we’re human—we aren’t Superwoman. Stress is the product of pressure when it’s not handled properly. We often carry too many heavy loads. Even worse, we’re often the ones accepting the responsibilities. Rather than say no when we’re unable, rather than make time for the most important things in our lives, we continue to take on others’ loads and more responsibilities. We need to hand them over to Jesus.

Effective leadership is difficult under pressure. To lead well, we must be alert spiritually, emotionally, and physically. As a leader, I’ve experienced being spiritually absent when my presence was required. It was difficult for me to come up with ideas, events, or even an encouraging word for myself—and that made it difficult to support the people I lead.

At times we may run into that dry spot where nothing seems to get us excited in ministry. In such times, remember that God “will never leave you nor forsake you.” Our duty as leaders is to lead others in the direction of the teachings of Jesus Christ. We must be able to handle our own issues if we are to lead others effectively.

Unless we develop a daily regimen to keep our intimate relationship with God, it may be difficult to keep our spirit nurtured while handling so many responsibilities. Acknowledge the pressure, release your emotions, reprioritize your responsibilities, and return to the peace that God wants you to experience. He supplies us with peace that we far too easily give away to this world, peace “which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Take the time you need to unplug and connect with God. Jesus says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

An important step in dealing with the pressure in our life is self-evaluation so we can discover the areas in which Christ wants us to grow. Present yourself just the way you are to the Lord. He knows exactly where you are in your life, and he knew what it would take to get you to admit it. Put your pressures before God, and ask him for wisdom in dealing with them. After all, we’re told: “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you.”

Deidra Fulsom is founder and president of Sisters Yielding Righteousness Under Pressure in Memphis, Tennessee, which encourages and motivates women to live a healthy lifestyle in spite of obstacles that may stand in their way.


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