Life is bewildering and difficult at times. Don’t we all know that! It would be amazing to anticipate every blow, ride every wave, and duck every kick, and I think that we can – to some extent – make sure that we’re as prepared as we can possibly be by doing certain things to focus our efforts.
What is skill? Well, it is the ability to do something well. In the Bible, skill is also sometimes described as wisdom. God’s goal for us as people is not just to live, but to multiply (in every area of our lives).
Skills come in skill sets and learning how to handle multiple tasks with skill or with certain skill sets is what sets a good leader apart from the mediocre.
I’ve made some points on how to live skilfully and given points on two different categories of life: our devotional lives and our practical, everyday lives (for example our career situation). However, I fully believe that the two are strongly intertwined.
- Develop a personal relationship with God
- Devotionally: Without it, we aren’t going anywhere, and we might as well accept our lives being mediocre. A disciplined person who invests consistent time in prayer and Bible study shows a deep relationship with God. The reading and study of other ministry and devotionally related books compliment your Bible study well…
- Practically: The Bible (in the book of 1 Timothy 3:2-3) talks about the ability to read and influence people by one’s personal lifestyle. Living and leading also includes handling and communicating with different types of people all the time. Therefore, building your relationship with God and serving in your local church can not only help you when you’re serving, but also when you’re about your daily work.
- Develop an interest in listening and reading
- You should be reading something at all times – knowledge is key.
- Practically: Jack Ma has said that his College Mentor, who grew up in a really poor family and made something of himself after being the first of his family who ever went to college, thought that his biggest success was his reading habit. He would often ask his interviewees what book they were reading and the “excellent’ ones could give the answer immediately. Reading gives you a head start, and creates new possibilities for you – especially if you are interested in expanding your vocational skill set.
- Devotionally: I like to listen to preaching Podcasts in my car – it’s a good way to not only increase your knowledge of the word through being taught, but it also allows the Holy Spirit to work in you throughout the week!
- Practicing healthy routines
- Devotionally: Things like fasting are paramount to a committed Christian’s lifestyle. It’s about showing commitment and readiness to sacrifice in order to do the will of the Holy Spirit. I’ve found that fasting deals with many other issues that I have in my life when I commit to it.
- Practically: If you have a full-time job, what you do every night is very important. If you want to develop your skill set to be able to get the job of your dreams, begin to practice daily (even if it’s just for an hour). Obviously, we need to balance life and work (and family), but there are plenty of things in one’s life that one does that wastes time, like watching the new season of a Netflix drama – 14 hours per week is the average amount of television watching time. Other than that, get that exercise in, bebe!
- Actively Build Your Connections
- Practically: In your career path, a strong network of connections will accelerate everything that you do, and if you haven’t set up your personal connections then you should probably allocate a portion of your time to doing so. A strong network of relationships helps you to:
- Contact smart friends, and then learn their opinions;
- Get information and knowledge that’s hard to get (sometimes speaking to people is the best way to find this information);
- Look for or just run into income generating opportunities
- Devotionally: People perish without knowledge or vision, and people who desire to move forward not only long to cultivate their own vision but desire to connect with people who have vision!
“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.” – Seneca
I merged both the devotional/spiritual and practical/everyday life points because a lot of times we can get so focused on the “getting forward” part and forget that we need Jesus, thinking we can do it all by ourselves. I believe that only Jesus Christ can fully equip one to face the everyday challenges of life with the utmost skill, humility, faith, and hope!