February 18, 2010

Living & Leading In Crisis

It's hard to really define a crisis; it's sort of subjective. It may seem like a crisis to you or me, but to someone else who has faced much tougher situations, it may just be another day. However, it is safe to say that all of us will have to face circumstances that rise to the level of crisis by our own definition. Here are a couple of principles that I'm in the process of learning that are good to keep in mind.

1) Refuse To React
It's our natural inclination, but it is not likely to be our best option. Uncertainty, turmoil, & crisis surround us, & we feel like we have to do something, & we have to do it now. Fight that instinct; reactions are usually born out of emotion & emotionally charged decisions can be dangerous. This is played out in scripture in Isaiah 36 & 37. King Hezekiah faces a national crisis. Jerusalem is surrounded by the Assyrian army. He sends his men to the city wall to discover just how bad things are, & they find out that if possible, things are worse than they thought. However, neither Hezekiah's men nor the people of the city reacted to the threats of the enemy.  The king had told them to remain silent, do nothing, simply report back. Rather than react to the crisis, do some recon; then respond wisely

2) Retreat To The Vision
Once Hezekiah understood the nature of the crisis, he did what great leaders do. He fell back on the vision that God had given. For the nation of Israel that vision was tied to their relationship with God. Through the nation, God would make Himself known to the world. Hezekiah sees this as a perfect opportunity for God to do just that. Therefore, he runs to God & sends his men to find Isaiah, God's prophet. They ask God to intervene on their behalf & to show Himself through this situation. When crisis comes, the last thing we should do is scrap the vision. The current strategy might need to be tossed, but the vision is what gives us direction & clarity in the midst of all the uncertainty. What is it that God has led you to do in your life or in your area of leadership? That's the thing you need to go back to. We don't have to have miraculous resolutions to crisis. In fact, the miracle was only possible because of Hezekiah's faithfulness to the nation's God-given vision. Following the vision led to the miracle that led to the resolution of the crisis.

How do you handle crises? What principles have you learned in dealing with crisis & uncertainty? Are you a reactor or a responder? There is a difference.

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