Leadership Lesson…Take 2!


I have never been one for taking initiative. I have never been one for taking risks and chances on things. So, I have never been one for remotely considering myself as a leader. And that’s ok…right?

I have been blessed to be part of an organization that has bombarded this extremely Type-B personality with biblical lessons in leadership. I have learned that ultimately anyone can be a leader…because leadership is influence.

Leadership = Influence

Here’s where my habit of over thinking things comes into full force. For me, a definition like that gives me the idea that I, as a leader, should for the most part have the answer. If I am going to influence people, they are going to look to me. Here’s my problem…I don’t have all the answers. But that’s ok because its not about having answers to give others to then influence them.
I think its about seeing something and not just showing others where to go, but taking them by the hand and involving them. I still have a long way to go with this and I’m ok with that too. God sent Jesus as the ultimate example of what it means to lead others and I pray I can learn through His word what it means to be a leader for His glory.

___________________________________________________________


Am I going crazy?


Ok, this guy is crazy.
Why is he playing clarinet? I would’ve liked to seem him play a Sousaphone.

Anyway, I have figured out that leadership is hard. Balancing getting work done and leading a team can be frustrating at times. I think it’s easy for potential leaders (like me) to feel like a total failure or even burn out. I know I have felt this way and are still having moments of feeling this way too. Here’s where I think my problem is…and it may be the same for you. I thrive on doing my job alone. A better way would be I thrive on individual accomplishment. But I don’t like being alone in my accomplishments. I love working with teams and impacting others.
Am I going crazy? Is this normal? By working on what I am doing individually, am I focusing too much on being a “me” player instead of a team player? Am I owning all the pieces or just mine? This is frustrating.
I have 3 things working alongside me that is making this more difficult:

#1. Perfection = ?

I’m somewhat of a perfectionist. I’m not on medication for OCD or anything like that, but I do struggle with letting go. I find I often say to myself “Geez, it’s so much faster if I just do it myself!” Please tell me I’m not the only one out there that says things like this. ☺ Ultimately, I know replacing myself is necessary if I am going to be effective to my organization.

#2. Rut Row. (Scooby Doo)

I have tasks, deadlines, goals, etc. and I plan to finish them. So, I begin my race and go, go, go until it is finished. Once I cross the finish line, I start immediately on another race. No time for anything else because I am constantly at a starting or finishing point. More of a never-ending cycle.
The problem is if I’m here to long…I feel jammed. Stuck. Rut Row!

#3. Good Stress. Bad Stress.

If one of our senses is damaged or lost, the others are heightened. If we have a whacked out muscle or group the others jump in and help the rest of the body. Something sacrifices attention from its job to serve and help the others. This is both good and bad stress in my opinion. It’s great because it is demonstrating the example of teamwork. That’s the good stress. Overtime though, it can pull the life out of the team. That’s the bad stress.

So am I alone in this? I pray that I am not. I have a feeling I’m not. But in the meantime, I will be looking to what God’s word has to say and will be sharing that with you all soon. Don’t be discouraged. Learn to understand that these issues are normal and work through them. We will all end up better people and better leaders not just for others, but more importantly ourselves.

Rethinking My Purpose.

I’m one of those people who thinks a lot. Sometimes…well most of the time, about some really random things.
My recent thinking has brought to surface some things that I am dealing with when it comes to what my purpose is as a young, single, Christian woman. One word comes to mind…waiting.

Now, this word waiting is not a new thing in my life. I’m a 24 year old graduate student who has never been in a serious relationship. I’m at the point in my life where all my friends are getting engaged and married within the same calendar year…and let me tell you, it’s not easy.

Please don’t feel sorry me, just hear me out. Our Christian culture, I believe, places a great deal of emphasis on relationships. I have prayed for God to write my love story and have cried many nights over my lack of even experiencing a love story.

But even in knowing and having to be reminded daily that God is faithful and loves me more than anyone in the universe ever could…I still have faced, seen, heard, and felt an incredible amount of pressure from the Christian community towards relationships and ultimately marriage. Girls seem to always be praised when they have found their dream guy. But when they still have yet to find ‘’Mr. Right’’ or ‘’Prince Charming,’’ they are told that God’s going to bring a man into their lives —as if the sole purpose of their lives is to get married.

So, here’s the question I have been rethinking in my head…how do I respond to this? I know people ‘mean well’ and they ask because they love me (especially mothers, grandmothers and aunts) but how do I respond without sounding or feeling jealous or bitter?

I mentioned earlier that girls always seemed to be praised when they have found their dream guy and those of us who haven’t…well, we just haven’t.

I feel that Christian communities tend to be sometimes unsupportive of single women. It seems like the very people who should be inspiring us to live a life completely devoted to Christ are the ones who severely lower our self-esteem, which in turn leads us to believe that we need to be married to be complete.

I found a book on Amazon listed under ‘Christian and Religious Books’, entitled, Getting Serious About Getting Married. I was shocked to read,

The belief that remaining single is legitimate and godly is a work of the devil. Read that again: Satan dishonors marriage by fooling us into believing that singleness is okay (page 43).

…men and women who are not connected in marriage are like the mutilated members of a mangled body (page 28).

Wait?! What?! Did that just say what I think it said? This book is saying that there is no way for a woman to glorify God other than getting married.

Are you kidding? Messages like this can lead many Christian women to settle for men who are mediocre and self-centered, just so they can supposedly fulfill God’s will.

Single women should not let their lives be consumed by their apparent “need” to find a guy. We should be concerned with devoting our lives to Jesus and serving Him faithfully. There is a song by John Waller called ‘While I’m Waiting’. Let these lyrics be an encouragement for you:

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I’m waiting I will serve You
While I’m waiting I will worship
While I’m waiting I will not faint
I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait.

My purpose is not to fall into a slump of misery if I haven’t found my dream guy yet. My heart should be enlivened and grow deeper in my relationship with God. If I happen to fall in love with a great man, oh how blessed that man will be! Haha! But he will find me as someone who is devoted to her Lord first and foremost. If I don’t, that’s fine too, because my relationship with God is enough and provides me with the everlasting fulfillment that no human relationship can. My singleness is a journey, not a trapped prison. It’s growing in my trust of the Lord and believing and knowing He has a plan for me. Rather single or married, it won’t matter.

Is singleness a blessing in your life? Is it a burden? How will you be rethinking your purpose?

Check out more from an awesome blog called Our Single Purpose

Lights.

Just some food for thought.

Be Thou exalted over my reputation.
‘Cause applause is a poor form of soul medication.
And I’ve tried it for years but my symptoms remain.
Still fretting the day that they’ll misplace my name;
Still selling my soul for American fame;
Treating the promotion of Jesus like a well oiled machine;
Advancing His kingdom just to snag some acclaim.
Now, I’m both comforted and haunted that it isn’t just me though.
I see a nation of people needing to feed their own egos;
Parading status like steeples;
Do we not know it’s evil,
to love ourselves more than both God and His people?
But see, here’s where you turn this poem on it’s head.
‘Cause the greatest among us came as servant instead.
And You humbled Yourself to the point of Your death.
Apparently love for the Father’s glory runs red.
So friends, will we point to the Son till our own flames grow dim?
Will our bright lights become merely nightlights near Him?
Words echo once, let them echo again;
Be Thou exalted over my reputation.

Jimmy Needham / A.W Tozer

Culture, Carpenters, and Jesus.

I’ve been recently thinking about how we define our church culture. Only recently has this even been something of importance to me. I have always just been taught that the words “church” and “culture” don’t ever go together. Because we are to be “in” the world, not “of” the world. But lately, I can’t seem to get those two words separated. And I understand about that whole “in” and “of” the world thing. This is totally a different, deeper thing though. Here’s a quote I read sometime ago that has recapitulated itself in my head.

(Yes. I just used a musical term for repeating a phrase in a Sonata-form piece):

Culture is: “…the sum total of the ways we express ourselves and relate to each other in the institutions we build to express ourselves and relate to each other”. -Ron Martoia

The church is supposed to be salt and light in the community, right? We shouldn’t band ourselves in our buildings. Packing ourselves in our huge and mighty fortresses and castles, warding off “evil” is not our purpose. Shouldn’t we instead use our minds to embrace the grace and truth that is the Gospel message and have dialogue and build intentional relationships with those searching for it?

I believe we must engage the battle as soldiers, not willing to retreat, with the full armor of God.
The bible says this in Eph. 6:10-13:

“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.”

It clearly says “…for we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world…” I think many times the church misunderstands that to be that we are fighting against “flesh and blood”. Against each other. Against those who aren’t Christ followers. The church cannot impact culture by condemning it…we must show love and compassion, as Jesus did, only then will they see God’s grace and mercy.

(But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum? When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy,
not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” -Matt. 9:11-12)

——————————————

Do you ever wonder the reason Joseph was a carpenter? I mean why was Jesus’ earthly father a carpenter? Why not a fisherman? or a herdsman? a merchant? or even a doctor? Is there something there for us to see?

I thought about this and came to this (sort of) conclusion….

My grandfather is a carpenter. He makes tables, chairs, desks, boats, and even birdhouses. He can make what other specify they want, and also takes those chairs and tables and molds the idea into something original. But he also creates beautiful original things. He is extremely talented and has always enjoyed what he does. He’s a craftsman. An artisan.

Maybe God wanted us to look at our lives through the eyes of an carpenter…an artisan for a reason. Maybe with our lives we are artisans, but instead of showing off what ‘we’ create….we are displaying the creativity of God. Each of us are different and unique and through those differences in each of us God is glorified! I think the point is for us not to retreat or withdraw from culture…but to shape it through the story of Jesus.

What are your thoughts? Am I completely thinking too much or is this something you all have ever thought about as well?