Harnessing Stress for Growth

Brian C Houston

12 December 2018

Have you considered what it takes to grow your leadership capacity? How do you manage yourself and those you lead when the gravity of leadership weighs heavy?

Within you is an enormous capacity to fulfil God’s call on your life. If you want to grow what you are a part of, make a difference to those in your world, see your dreams fulfilled and continue to impact and influence in the Kingdom of God, then you must grow your capacity.

Capacity is often tested by pressure and stress. Stress is a real part of life and it affects us all in various measures and ways. In fact, there is no such thing as a stress-free life. Stress can be generated by your own issues, family matters, work or ministry pressure, relationship concerns and sometimes even all these things conspiring together. Stress is often feared and considered to be the tipping point at which we are meant to draw back and get rid of the responsibility, task, relationship or commitment that is the source of pressure.

However, the cost of drawing back and doing less is an unfulfilled life.

As a leader, is it paramount that you reassess how you view and handle stress – it does not have to damage your productivity and momentum, rather stress can be a catalyst to ENLARGE you. The answer to all your problems is not to get rid of all stress… but grow your capacity to manage it! You don’t have a stress issue, you have a capacity issue.

So how do you grow your capacity to lead?

To grow in your capacity, you must be intentional. The enemy would love to derail your God-given purpose and cause you to quit growing. Don’t live disappointed and dissatisfied because you resigned from things that applied pressure, creating distance between yourself and the path of purpose on your life. Lift your eyes to see a higher perspective, trust God to increase your ability to manage the pressure! Stress doesn’t have to harm, shrink, and paralyse your capacity; it can grow you as a person as you get better at managing it… allowing stress to work for you rather than against you.

Here are a few practical insights to help you grow your capacity:

  1. You will never be INCREASING in capacity if you are DECREASING in confidence.
    A revelation of Jesus and who you are in Him will increase your capacity to live from the truth of who God says you are rather than how you feel. You cannot grow your capacity without growing your relationship with God. We must be who God called us to be – and He has called you to be great. Hebrews 10:35 (NKJV) “Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.”
  2. You will never be PROGRESSING in capacity if you are REGRESSING in positivity.
    The influence of your thinking on your emotions and stress levels is huge. Pressure does not have to be bigger than you are! Shift your gaze off the hardships and consider all the good, wonderful, and miraculous things the Lord has done in your life. Psalm 103:2 says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.”
    In this Psalm, David is telling his soul to bless the Lord! Do not get lost in challenges, though it may be tempting. Make an intentional effort to remind your soul to bless the Lord. 
  3. You will never be GROWING in capacity if you are SHRINKING in generosity. Keep a generous eye and be mindful of how you can bless those in your world. Generosity is not confined to monetary – rather you can be generous with your time, words and spirit. As your generosity increases, so will your capacity to lead. God has not put His divine purpose and hand on your life to shrink you… His hand is on your life to grace you to get BIGGER and enlarge you to fulfil all the plans and purposes that are included on the adventure of living in His will. Consider the words of David as he writes so honestly in Psalm 4:1 (TPT):

God, you are my righteousness, my champion defender. Answer me when I cry for help! Whenever I was in distress, you enlarged me. I’m being squeezed again—I need your kindness right away! Grant me your grace, hear my prayer, and set me free!

The purpose God has for your life goes far beyond what you could ever accomplish on your own – which means you need Him to INCREASE, PROGRESS, GROW, and ENLARGE your capacity to lead.

Think about your future and make choices that create it. Don’t stress over the things you can’t control. Trust God and remain focused. Raise your sights and believe Him for more – don’t settle into a routine of small expectation. He is for you, not against you. His grace is sufficient and working in your everyday life. He has given you all you need to fulfil your God-given future, including the ability to successfully manage stress.