Live in Peace

Every day that goes by I seem to find it harder to simply tolerate the nonsense that I see on TV or hear about on the radio. Being in politics, I struggle to “hold my tongue” when I hear about the crazy things that state and national elected people do. As the old saying goes, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, then say nothing at all”. I remain silent. I’m one of these weird people who often look for the middle ground on issues; I guess this is from my mediation experiences.

Supervisors often have a hard time with the middle. After all, they are the rule maker, which often turns into “my way or the highway”. An important responsibility that all supervisors have is to create peaceful workplace. Your job as the leader is to show people the way to act toward each other and to demonstrate what is expected in the workplace. Peaceful, isn’t saying no confrontation or no discipline. Sometimes, in order to achieve peace you must have a little confrontation. Peace in the workplace opens creativity, which allows people to feel free to experiment with ideas, be willing to collaborate and to share ideas. Peace makes supervising and leading much easier.

Romans 12:18 – “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

The bible teaches us to live in peace with one another, love your neighbor as yourself. Living this way allows us to reflect God’s love by loving each other. Just as peace makes supervising and leading much easier, it makes social interactions easier too. How better for Christians to show love than by living in peace? This is the message of the verse; “as far as it depends on you”. It all depends on you; how you react to a situation or how you create a situation.

We are taught to “stick up for ourselves” and not be bullied. We’re not taught to avoid conflict simply to live at peace. Conflict can be good and healthy for relationships. We should try to find common ground, work out the differences and keep our focus on the issue not the person. Have the difficult conversation starting by making it safe for everyone, stay focused on the issue and how it makes you feel rather than what you think the other person is saying. This is not a time for assumptions. When we deal with one another in an open manner, we can reach mutual understanding much quicker. By living in harmony, we live by God’s word and show others that as God so loved the world, so can we.

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What’s on your heart?

There is a saying “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” What is in your heart will reflect on your leadership style. If you are caring for your people, deflecting stress from all angles, sincerely working with them so they can: achieve more, learn more and, reach their goals then your heart is in the right place. Do you say, “I want to develop my team so that they can take my place” but are too busy to spend time with them in one on one career coaching?

I’ve read several articles in the past week about doing away with annual performance reviews and replacing them with regularly scheduled coaching sessions so that employees know how they are doing on a more regular basis. As the workforce changes, supervisors and leaders need to change. The challenge this puts on leaders is that they are required to interact with their people more frequently and that might expose what is really on their heart. If a leader really only cares about his numbers, his department’s goals or his promotion, it will all be revealed in regular interactions. So if you really want people to be successful, you must ensure that your words and actions match. It takes far more time to recruit, train and develop new employees than it does to coach them and help them be successful. The results will reflect on everyone.

Proverbs 27:19 – “As water reflects our face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.”

This verse is about our hearts as Christians. What is on your heart? Do you attend church weekly and sing the songs but go out on Monday and terrorize your workplace by showing no compassion for others or “steal time” by putting in less than a full day so that you can get what is coming to you? God knows what is your heart! Putting God in His rightful place on your heart may take time and it won’t be easy, but God is understanding and has compassion as you work toward it.

For many of us, putting God first is a hard transition. As humans, tend to be so self-centered that we often consider God’s word as an afterthought. Try to introduce God into your conversations at home, it may feel uncomfortable at first but it quickly goes away. Remember the love that God has shown to all of us and be extra forgiving when someone really disappoints you. Daily devotional reading will help you understand the depth of God’s grace and love for you. As God comes into your heart, He will be reflected outward in how you treat others. You’ll be more understanding, have compassion and show forgiveness. Think about what your reflection looks like today and ask, is this what I really want to show to others?

Eighteen year old wisdom

Our son decided to get a tattoo for his 18th birthday. When he made the announcement months earlier about his intention, I think he expected a huge negative reaction from us. This was his opportunity to rebel against us – a rite of passage for all boys. But we didn’t object. We simply asked him to honor a few requests: nothing objectionable, something meaningful – now and in the future, in a location that won’t be embarrassing for him, at a reputable shop and to speak with a couple of my friends that are very experienced with tattoos. He complied and was ready to go a month after his birthday; we still didn’t object. He designed his own symbol that represents – be positive and keep moving forward, period! Two bent lines and a dot in the center (the period). When he looked up similar symbols he found that it is almost identical to the Viking symbol for “create your own destiny”. It was very meaningful to him and he had the two lines and a dot placed on the underside of his left wrist (covered by his watch). He told us that he was surprised that we didn’t say no. We had no reason to object.

The verse today describes how most of us feel on a regular basis – hard pressed. Since the start of the New Year, I’ve focused on the opportunities that come with a new beginning. I learned from or was reminded by “a kid” that I need to be positive and look forward in all things. He’s obviously much smarter than I ever give him credit for. So ask yourself, are you looking forward to what is possible or are you looking behind at what could have been? As they say, “out of the mouths of babes”, came great advice from someone who is choosing to see the rest of his life with great optimism. Maybe we should all do the same.

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” 2 Corinthians 4:8

My guess is that this verse describes most of our lives – hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted and struck down. We are however, not crushed, not in despair, not abandoned and not destroyed and we have God to thank for that. Life can be hard and challenging but God is working with us to help us navigate the troubles in our lives. I can’t help but wonder if I let all of the negative things that happen in my life to gain the advantage, how miserable I would be. I can’t tell you why I wasn’t upset that our son wanted to get a tattoo and those that know me; a tattoo isn’t exactly in keeping with my “old man” persona. It wasn’t the worst thing that he could have done.

God is in control of our lives and He has a plan for us. While we can’t create our own destiny, we do have the ability to influence the things that affect that plan. We can choose to ignore God’s plan or we can choose to follow it. Our son’s tattoo is really a symbol of what God’s wants for us – stay positive and keep moving forward. We will not be destroyed by this life or by the sin of our lives. God sent us a savior to make sure that we would be close to Him; forgiven for all sin and innocent in His eyes. This is enough reason to keep moving forward and to stay positive.

Calm out of Chaos

The old saying is that chaos breads discontent is very appropriate these days. American politics are getting more and more “angry” and people in general seem to tolerate a lot less from each other. Radical outbreaks are occurring all over the globe and terrorism is griping us all in our homelands. What is happening? Chaos has effects on our health, our mental state and how we live our lives. Some people choose to hide in hopes of it going away while others seems to thrive on the uncertainty and a few more like to make matters worse.

Chaos in the workplace is a common occurrence all too often as well. The top employers remain on top because they remember who is on the front lines with their customers; unhappy employees have a direct impact on customer service. Keeping employees happy is not about coddling them or offering Ping-Pong tables in the break room. Creating an engaged workforce can be a result of many different workplace strategies that are not always associated with pay and benefits. Good supervisors offer coaching, provide developmental opportunities and encourage teamwork as a way to create a peaceful work environment. Employees that are encouraged by their work, as Abraham Maslow told us, tend to perform at higher levels that often result in greater satisfaction and customer service excellence.

1 Corinthians 14:33 – “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace…”

God does not want us to live in disorder and chaos. Jesus Christ, was known as the Prince of Peace. Jesus was a great reconciler for us by bringing us to peace with God our Father. Jesus taught us to be humble, loving and forgiving of one another. These are all synonymous with peace.

God does not want us to live in fear but be loving and forgiving toward each other with the knowledge of everlasting life with Him through Jesus Christ. There is no greater display of peace but to promise ever lasting life in heaven with God our Father and His son, Jesus Christ. Now that’s peace! The disorder that we see all around us today is not created by God. Who better to use fear and chaos to turn us all away from God but the devil himself? It is our sinful self to use these events as temptation to turn away and believe in our own power rather than rely on our God of peace. Do not turn away but turn to God in prayer and find calm in His words.