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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

16 Sep '11

Inside out: Why our personal issues impact others

We often do not pay close enough attention to our inner lives - those things that wake us up in the night, anger we harbor over issues or people, anxieties that cause a slow grade burn in our stomach, worries or unresolved issues or besetting sin. We figure these are just our issues but the truth is that they become other peoples issues as well because Jesus said that what is in our hearts (and minds) is what spills over to others from our lives (Matthew 7:15-23).

I put it this way. We live inside out. What resides inside us inevitably spills over to others whether we are aware of it or not. On the negative side, it can exhibit itself in irritability, shortness, lack of compassion or understanding or even anger which has nothing to do with those who are on the receiving end but has everything to do with issues we are struggling with. I think of the difficulty I imposed on my wife and kids during a time of depression. They took the brunt of my issues. I was living inside out even though I didn't want to or intend to. Dishealth inside - as it spills out can create missunderstandings, the break up of friendships, treating others poorly and it's ripples can be large and unhealthy. This is why people with significant dysfunctions cause chaos and dysfunctions in relationships and friendships.

On the positive side, when we are healthy, at peace with ourselves, our situation and with others, that peace spills out in kindness, compassion, graciousness, patience and in all kinds of ways that reflect the fruit of the Spirit. What is inside will spill over because we live inside out. The healther we are personally the healthier our impact on those around us. That health encourages health in others as well. It's ripples are large and many. Think of how the righeousness and health of Jesus rippled on those around Him and how it not only attracted others to Him but to desire what He had. Inner health lived inside out is powerful, wonderful and magnetic.

Because we live inside out we need to first be aware of the unresolved issues in our own lives (we all have them) and then do all we can to resolve them in a healthy manner. Unresolved issues cause issues for others.

We also need to be aware of how our inner issues manifest themselves to others while we are working through them. They do: And the more aware we are of them the better we can work to ensure that they do not negatively impact others.

Third, when we are dealing with something particularly difficult it is often helpful to disclose those challenges to others so that they can support, and pray for us as well as understand when we are short, unkind or irritable. People around us will give us grace if they understand some of the pressures we are dealing with.

Remember, we live inside out, whether we know it or not. For those of use who live in the leadership arena the stakes regarding our inner health are even higher because our inner lives ripple on that many more people.