Week 18 – Between a Rock and a Hard Place

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Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me;
O LORD, be my help.
You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever. Psalm 30:10-12, NIV

Fifteen years ago he resigned from his congregation due to conflicts out of his control. At age 50, with no salary and no promise of a job he vacated the church parsonage, placed his furnishings in storage and with no place to live he moved his family temporarily into a Motel 6. For a year he lived on his savings while searching for a position to match his calling and skills. Then an opportunity opened in New York City. Eventually he assumed his present assignment as the overseer of more than 80 churches and missions in the San Francisco Bay area.

John Calhoun knows something about coming back from disappointment and defeat. He is the District Superintendent of the Northern California District, chairman of the Board of Trustees at Point Loma Nazarene University and a member of the General Board of the Church of the Nazarene.
So, what do you do when you're ready to call it quits? It's one of the toughest things we face, yet oddly enough it is also one of the most common. We all go through times when we want to throw in the towel. But does giving up make the situation any better? Not really. Misery may love company, but have you ever noticed that company sure doesn't love misery!

John Baldoni’s book – Lead by Example: 50 Ways Great Leaders Inspire Results it contains a chapter on “Handling Defeat”. As a leadership consultant Baldoni has learned that, “Every person should know how to lose. Failure,” he advises, “is not something they teach you in school; it is something life teaches you.”

He offers these suggestions –

Avoid personalizing defeat

“Your project failed. Your team disbanded. Your career is in jeopardy. Not so fast. Points one and two may be true but only if you accept defeat, and internalize it as a personal failing, will you be defeated.

You must accept that the project did not meet expectations and your leadership was lacking, but you the person are not a ‘loser.’”

Analyze what went wrong

“Self-analysis that leads to self-awareness is required. Self-analysis that leads to self-pity is to be loathed. Take an active role in your self-discovery process. Write down what you would do differently the next time.”

Renew yourself

“Choose your next objective, or ready yourself for the next effort. Study your mistakes. Consider your options. In time you will get your energy back and be ready for the struggle ahead.”
We all know people who have had to overcome some major personal challenge, disappointment or defeat in the course of their lives. Most of us know friends and colleagues who have emerged from setbacks to continue and/or become strong and effective. We are inspired by leaders who hold steady while in the crucible.

For Lisa Marshall in “Speak the Truth, Point to Hope,” the journey to maturity requires facing down our own “monsters that are illuminated by our responses.” Defeat is not what happens to us but the result of how we handle what happens to us.

After all of our reading, training, and coaching, one thing is sure – sooner or later, personal challenges, disappointment and defeat will come. It may be a family tragedy, a business collapse, a health issue, an unanticipated lawsuit, or some personal failure. We seldom plan for these unwelcome events. Although according to Baldoni and Marshall they probably should.

So what can you do when you're stuck between a rock and a hard place and you just want to call it quits?

Look at some of the "greats":


· Joseph—a cocky upstart abandoned by his family. He became a slave and was then thrown into jail and forgotten in his cell. He learned humility and was finally promoted to Prime Minister over mighty Egypt.
· Moses—an extreme introvert who stuttered. Not only that, he was a murderer — a fugitive on the run in the desert. He led God's people out of Egypt and to the Promised Land.
· Ruth—a foreigner and a widow following a depressed, "down-on-her-luck" mother-in-law. She was also a brand-new believer yet she kept her heart humble and became one of Jesus' ancestors.
· The woman at the well—a divorcee who slept around and was the talk of the town. She became the first evangelist after meeting "the Man."

The Bible's casting call for heroes reads more like a "Least Likely to Succeed" Top 10 list. Yet this list of the least likely is the foundation of Hebrews 11—a commemoration of God's most faithful men and women across time—most often referred to as "The Hall of Faith." Don't be surprised—"the last and least" in man's eyes are often "the best and brightest" in God's plans.


Prayer:
When I am ill and my head and hands cannot work and I am lonely; Jesus help me. Always, always, in spite of weariness, falls and shortcomings of every kind; Jesus help me, and never forsake me. Amen


Some things to be mindful of this coming week:
  • Hope's 14th Annual Business Meeting, Sunday, June 6th following the morning worship service. Sunday school will be dismissed so we can have as many people as possible to attend.
  • Graduation Celebration & Picnic at Red Fox Run Farm, Sunday, June 13th services will be held off-site at the Malony farm beginning at 10am.
  • As a reminder Vacation Bible School forms are available in the foyer, the ENC ministry team "Sailing Free" are excited about ministering to the children of Hope.