Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Killing the Things that Cause You to Coast

We all get to a point, in our jobs or our relationships where we are tempted to put it on autopilot and coast a little bit. I've seen that in my own life. This is my 11th year doing Student Ministry and for whatever reason, I'm constantly having to reevaluate my own heart and kill the desire to coast. For this very reason, I found myself asking, "What are the things that cause you to coast?" Here is what I came up with:

1. You Coast When You're Successful:

When you get to the point where the flavor of success is fresh on your taste buds, be careful, because the tendency is to coast. I know Student Pastors who love having big events because that means they get to sit in staff meetings and brag of what GOD did... and then take a long break and ride the wave of that success for a while. We coast when we're successful... or when God is successful and we take the credit.

2. You Coast When You're Apathetic or Indifferent:

There are certain parts of every person's job that they really don't care that much about. Actually, this works in relationships as well. When there are things your boss holds in high regard that you don't care about, or when there are things your wife/husband thinks are important that you couldn't give a flip about... be careful because you're treading in dangerous waters. Apathy and indifference will lead you to coast. So the challenge here is to encourage you to identify the areas in your life that lead you to these feelings and prevent yourself from coasting.

3. You Coast When You're Distracted:

Multitasking is difficult, and when you do it, realize that ultimately you're going to prioritize one thing over the other. A long time ago, I was talking to a friend and mentor of mine, Andy Stanley, and he encouraged me to simplify my life. At the time, I was running a large Student Ministry, serving as a Teaching Pastor in Atlanta, preaching Chapel a couple times a week, doing work on a TV show and also traveling and speaking. Andy saw what I was doing and reprimanded me for it. All this time, I thought my busyness validated my ministry and my calling, but he saw it differently. He said, "When you are this busy, ultimately you'll be forced to choose. Ultimately you're going to have to choose between ministry and family. Ultimately you'll have to choose between traveling or Pastoring. Ultimately you'll have to choose between TV or local church." And he concluded the conversation by saying, "When you try to do too much, you choose to prioritize some things and you choose to coast in the other things." When you're distracted, you'll find yourself choosing... and many times, you'll choose the wrong things.

4. You Coast When You're Bored:

When you do the same things over and over again, you get bored. There's really no way around it. Something else you do when you get bored is... you coast. In your relationships, if you're bored, you're probably not giving 100%. If you're bored in that relationship, chance are you're coasting. In your ministry or job, if you're bored, you're probably coasting. That's why it's so important to constantly be reinventing yourself; keeping things moving and fresh.

5. You Coast When You Think You Know it All:

You're not an expert, but when you start believing you are, you won't give 100% anymore. You won't have your foot on the accelerator at all; you'll find yourself coasting. When I think I can lead a student ministry with my eyes closed, my tendencies lead me to closing my eyes. When I think I can be a husband or father without really trying, I'll actually stop trying. When you "know it all" you stop trying, and therefore choose to coast through life.

Coasting is dangerous because it means you've given up in positioning yourself to be maximized. If you're not accelerating toward the goal... If you're not giving it everything you've got, then ultimately you're not going to arrive at the destination you were shooting for initially.

Don't coast today. It's too early to give up. The race is still going, so today, in your ministry, in your marriage, or in your family, give it 100% and don't let coasting be an option!!!

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