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Cartwheels and Cannonballs

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

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“He who would be calm must first put on the appearance of calm.” – William Shakespeare

When I hired an assistant director at my previous ministry and started mentoring him so that someday he would be equipped to take my place, one of the first lessons I taught him was “Don’t let them see you sweat.” What I meant was when (not if) things “hit the fan” as they invariably do in life – and in ministry in particular – if the person at the top of the organization acts like he’s got everything under control, everyone else will remain calm. However, if he loses his cool when the heat gets turned up, then everyone else will follow his lead and start to panic.

I first adopted that management technique when I was serving as Director of Recreation at a retirement community in New Jersey when I was just 23. If the entertainer I had booked for the monthly birthday party failed to show up, no big deal. I always had an alternate program in my back pocket and so, we never missed a beat.

Here is how Thomas Boswell, a retired sportswriter for the Washington Post, described the need to keep cool (at least outwardly) under pressure… even when your insides are doing cartwheels and cannonballs.

“Our emotions do not simply come from inside us and express themselves outwardly. The process can work in reverse. By putting on the outward appearance of calm – or confidence or enthusiasm or whatever quality we value – we can increase of tendency to feel that way.”

Boswell then went on to apply this formula to Ernie Banks, whose Hall of Fame career he covered… and admired.

“Everyone assumed that even if Banks’ temperament tended toward cheerfulness, there was something else at work. Ernie made himself want to ‘play two,’ even on days he undoubtedly didn’t. And yet that habit of enthusiasm, that determination to focus on the love of the game for its own sake, seemed to become a reinforcing principle for him. The more he repeated it, lived it, the more it became true.”

My friend, God is in total control of the entire universe and every aspect of our lives… so don’t sweat it!

“The LORD Himself goes before you; He will be with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid or discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 (BSB)

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid.” John 14:27 (BSB)

- Rev. Dale M. Glading, President

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