Strength

Parents have the responsibility to give their children strength – strength to get through difficult times, strength to accomplish more than they thought was possible and the strength to carry on everyday. Not only as parents but also as adults, we should inspire all of those around us. We should be a source of encouragement, a resource for guidance and a cheerleader for our kids and for everyone in our lives as they reach beyond their limits and try new things as they go through their own personal growth. Our son turned 22 this past week, he’s quite an adult – just ask him! (just kidding but seriously, he is quite sure of himself) My hope at this point in his life is that he will say that his parents “Were always encouraging me, helping me figure things out and giving me opportunities to grow”.

So many people influenced me when I was his age. I turned 18 in February and by October, that year, I was in recruit firefighter school. The ‘men” I was working with saw things in me that I never did. They encouraged me, they taught me, they gave me advice and they put me in my place when I needed it. I’m sure they didn’t have any idea how they would impact me for the rest of my life and now I’ve taken those lessons and given them to my own son. He has the strength to be confident as he readies himself for what life has in store. I just hope that he can learn to “take orders” until he is the one at the top. Most everyone struggles with that and he will be no different.

Philippians 4:13 “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”

So, where do you get your strength? This passage reminds us to find our strength in God – “Him who gives me strength”. In our fast paced lives sometimes we can forget that. We can do everything through Him because God is our strength; he is with us all day – everyday. Our privilege to be a parent is a gift from God; He has put us in this place at this time. We have had a great mentor – Jesus Christ. He taught us to have compassion, patience and to be encouraging to those around us.

You can be the source of strength for your kids and those you work with by being a positive role model. When people ask you “Where do you get the strength from?” You can answer quite easily: God gives me the strength. In order to maintain your strength, like in any good workout routine, you need to work at it daily. We’ve all experienced a few days off from the gym; it gets harder to go back the longer you are away. Staying in God’s word or keeping up with bible study and devotions can be hard in our hectic lives, remain strong and stay committed. Much like the men who were there for me and had no idea that they would effect how I raised my son, you may be doing the same for someone else. Don’t worry; your strength is from God.

Peaceful

I was trying to determine if there was a difference between frustration and anger. The dictionary uses almost the exact same words in each definition but exchanges dissatisfaction with displeasure. My point is, some people will say that they are not angry just frustrated however, it’s not a big difference. In leadership positions, we have to guard against showing either of them to our workforce. The leader needs to remain calm and continue moving forward. This week, I had a conversation with a pilot from a major air carrier who told me that just last week on approach into an airport at 2am, the entire cockpit went dark, including the instruments. After the initial shock, they went into a holding pattern; he remained calm and went through the checklist to restore power to the instruments. I’m sure he suffered both anger and frustration. Once they were confident that problem was resolved, he landed without incident. In fact, he shared with me that he didn’t even tell the flight attendants until after they landed. Staying calm in an emergency is what saves lives. When we are calm we think clearer, and can process information faster than if we start getting angry. The same can be said in our daily lives. We make better decisions when we remain calm; in fact, we are much nicer to each other when we are calm. Everyone will have moments when they get really angry. I’ll bet the people around you know it when you do. Hopefully the moment comes and goes and you haven’t done too much damage to the relationships around you. What do we about those who are always angry? They are miserable to be around and almost instantly effect our outlook. Have you thought about your own actions lately? Which side of “angry” are you on? Bobby Farrin wrote the popular 80’s hit, “Don’t worry, be happy”. It’s good advice.

24Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, 25or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.  Proverbs 22:24-25

A couple of weeks ago I said something about “you are what you eat.” This week it’s also about the company you keep. Have you ever noticed that you enjoy a movie much more in the theater, laughing with everyone than you do when you see it again at home? People adapt to their surroundings constantly. If we work in a pleasant atmosphere, our general disposition is good. If we dislike where we are, it shows too. The same can be said about the friends you keep or the associates you make. We are being warned in these verses that if we make friends with short-tempered people, we too will become short-tempered. Jesus was never angry; He displayed calm in the face of grave challenges. When the Pharisees tried to trick him into breaking the law, he remained calm and worked through their deceit. When the devil tempted Him, he remained calm and used the bible as His defense. These are examples of life and death situations where calm was better than anger. Jesus never showed His frustration with those that failed to believe in Him, He continued to be compassionate. Don’t let the anger take over; give it up to God in prayer. Choose your friends and associates carefully and if you have no choice but to be around them, ask God for peace and understanding in their lives and calm in yours. One of the final words Jesus spoke to us at the last supper was “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you.” Stay calm, you have the Peace of Jesus Christ with you all day, every day.