“The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but reveal to them their own.” ~ Benjamin Disraeli
The idea of leadership is blown out of proportion. We believe that we have to be this great person that everyone stands in awe of. We think we need to be outgoing, smart, charming, fun, inspiring….. The list goes on. But who can actually live up to this “ideal person”? The honest answer is we can’t. Nobody can be everything to everyone. Instead we need to use what we have to inspire and lead people.
Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function….We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching let him teach; if it encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. ~ Romans 12:4-8
Moreover, leadership doesn’t have to mean we have to stand in front of a group of people and direct them. Leadership doesn’t have to mean organizing a big event. However, it can mean doing something small for someone else. It can mean encouraging someone. It can be helping someone carry their groceries or helping them with their work. It’s the little things that can make a big difference. It is stopping for a minute to show someone that we care that can change a life or have a lasting impact on that person.
For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. ~ Romans 2:13
I encourage you to lead, not in the typical way that leadership is defined (although there is nothing wrong with that), but in the small ways. How? Be yourself. It is key. If you lead with your heart and do all things through Jesus, you will be amazed at where God will take you. By following Jesus, we can lead and, hopefully with God by our side, be an example for others.
Second, with leadership redefined, I want to point out that all too often we don’t realize we are making a difference. We may end up feeling discouraged or unappreciated if we feel like our efforts didn’t make a difference or went unnoticed. As the TED Talk posted below points out, we have these lollipop moments. In these moments, we impact people a lot more than we realize but if no one tells us how are we to ever know? Often we don’t ever find out.
I don’t mean that you should go around asking for feedback from people to see if you had an impact on them. Don’t get me wrong asking for feedback can be good but instead I have a different suggestion. Rather than going around asking for people to compliment you, give other people feedback instead. If they have touched your life in a way that has changed you personally, TELL THEM! If you like the way they did their hair or their outfit, TELL THEM! If you thought what they did was nice or if you find their inner strength or strong faith admirable, you should TELL THEM! By complimenting people and giving positive feedback, we can make someone’s day, make them feel important and appreciated. In a way, the helper gets helped.
This suggestion means that we don’t directly hear for ourselves if we have made a change in someone’s life or done something for someone that was greatly appreciated but wasn’t voiced. This doesn’t mean we lose out though. First, we are blessed when we bless others and make them feel important. Second, if we treat others the way we want to be treated, it just might come back around. Those we compliment just might compliment us back one day!
Here is my challenge for you: Try and find a way to compliment every person you come across. It could be talking to someone in line at the grocery store or telling a friend that they mean the world to you. I would love to hear how this challenge goes for you. Finally, let’s redefine what leadership means!
I lift my eyes to the hills –
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip –
he who watches over you
will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you –
the Lord is your shade at
your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm –
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming
both now and forevermore.
~ Psalm 121
Lately, God has shown me that I need to rely on Him and trust Him a lot more than I have been. God has shown me that He already has planned things out right down to the smallest details. He has a reason for His timing, We might not always understand why He makes us wait or why things are happening as they are but God knows. That fact should be comfort enough. He has shown me this through three instances this past week which I would like to share with you.
Lately, I have been searching for a job. I received plenty of interviews but for someone reason none of them were panning out. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. Other variables added pressure to the stress I already was feeling. To top it all off, I had to make a decision soon about how I was going to spend my summer. And every time I thought I had a decision made, something would change and my plans were up in the air again. I prayed. I waited.
Then Thursday, my deadline for a decision, came around faster than I wanted. I could have felt all the pressure and weight of this decision that day. Instead, I decided to let whatever happens happen and let God control everything. And He did!
That Thursday morning, I had an interview for another job. I was still waiting to hear back from this one particular job that seemed perfect for me. Coming out of the interview, my friend told me that I got a call. Having shut my phone off for the interview in the morning, I didn’t receive the call but thankfully my friend was there to take the message. I don’t know what would have happened if my friend hadn’t been there to take the call. I don’t know where I would have ended if I got a different job. See, God knew what was best for me. He knew before I did that the perfect job would be coming for me. It wasn’t that I wasn’t capable to do any of the other jobs. It was that God had a better idea in store for me. I may have waited a long time for things to start falling into place but I’ve been blessed by God. Not only this, but the wait made my faith in God stronger. I also want to mention how I think it’s funny God waited until the last day for things to fall in to place. It shows all the more that He knows exactly what’s going to happen.
My second story revolves around a friend telling me about a time where God was working in his life. For all intents and purposes, lets call my friend James. At the time, he was in a different country from his homeland. He was carrying quite a bit of valuables and money as he was moving. Having stepped away for a few minutes, everything was stolen. Can you imagine what would be going through his head? As soon as he realized, James spent a long time in prayer. For whatever reason, he woke up in the middle of the night and had this feeling to go outside. After a short walk, he found some of the stolen money! Mind you, he didn’t recover everything but it was more than enough to get by. If he hadn’t woken up in the middle of the night and taken that walk, who knows where James would be. But God was looking out for him. James’ faith and diligence in prayer was rewarded.
Third, another friend, Tara, missed a really important meeting. It was essential to be there and had strict consequences if it were unattended. It was an honest mistake of mixing up the times. I also had to attend this meeting but having finished what I was to do, I was allowed to go early. Thankfully, I did get out early and was able to contact Tara. She came as fast as she could and was able to catch the end of the meeting. The coordinator was gracious, knowing it was an honest mistake, and let the consequences slide. A stressful situation was averted because of timing and God’s graciousness.
In all these situations, I was so aware of how things were timed, the order of events and how they played out. God was showing me that He has it all under control and we need not worry about a thing. Everything played out as if it was following a strict algorithm made by God. Certain events needed to happen before the end result occurred. The blessing will come we just have to faith to wait!
What is God asking you to wait for?
How is it testing your faith and how can you grow from it?
Have you ever wanted something so bad? You tried so hard to make it work but it just wasn’t working. So you get frustrated and get down. You can’t figure out why it isn’t working. You’ve prayed continually. You’ve been patient. Yet, you haven’t gotten anywhere. You feel like you are following your heart and that it is in God’s will for you to reach this goal. Yet, it seems like God is making you wait for something that he could put in motion in mere seconds. But why isn’t he?
Maybe God really does want you to achieve that goal, get that job, or receive healing. However, His good and perfect timing is usually a lot different from ours. Maybe there’s some obstacles in our path that God foresees but we aren’t aware of. Maybe we need to overcome those obstacles before we get to where we want to be. Or maybe God just doesn’t think it is the right time.
Further, there’s another possible explanation. What if God doesn’t really want that for us? He very well might have something completely different planned for us. Maybe it’s something we never would have previously considered. Maybe He has a better way of bringing a blessing to you or wants you to bless someone else. What if He is testing your faith and wants you to take the proverbial road less travelled? The path might be rough but the blessings will be great! God could be stretching our comfort zones, asking us to do a task that would require a lot of courage on our part.
All in all, we can’t give up. We might have to let go of our wants and change our plans but, in the end, it is for the better. God knows what is best for us, even if we think we should be taking another path. Keep a strong faith, pray diligently, and trust that God will lead you where you need to be. Don’t be afraid to follow your goals and dreams but also listen to what the Spirit is telling you.