Just over a year and a half ago we young fledglings, just new into leadership went on a weekend away with a bunch of other leaders to learn, pray and have quality time with those who have been serving and leading in a church a lot longer than us. It was a good, powerful and worthwhile trip.
Truthfully and I mean really truthfully we sat in some really good seminars, had really good chats, learned and heard about experiences that are now holding us in good stead and made lifelong friends. But here comes the truth. I sat in those and said yes to all the ‘do you understand this? questions’ and yes to all the ‘remember this story -conversations’ but I naively, foolishly and very unwisely thought we won’t need to phone you about that, or that won’t happen to us, or I won’t feel like that or the classic ‘I will be fine’.
I now laugh in the face of that unwise woman and say ‘take me back please – with my notebook, my tape recorder, my ears to listen and my mouth firmly shut’
Leadership thus far has been an interesting, amazing and powerful journey for me. It’s also been a kick up the ass for me in my maturity, my dependency and my weaknesses. Praise God for all of it.
(I also write all this in great fear and trembling as we are only two years in and I wonder what I’ll write or think in another two years.)
It has been an honour to serve Kings with Glen. We have the amazing and awesome privilege to watch people be transformed and walk in the freedom that God has called them to. We get to sit with some fantastic people over a meal or a cup of tea and get to hear great, precious stories about what God has done and is doing. It teaches me, humbles me and increases my faith. We have such an amazing selfless, serving, talented, beautiful, humble, Christ like people amongst us and for me these guys are my people and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Of course community isn’t easy sometimes and I am wise enough to know that I’m intolerable and maybe unlikable sometimes and probably give people a lot to chat over Sunday lunch about but because I am an optimist there is always hope and love and forgiveness that hopefully will cover over a multitude of sins for all concerned. I have learnt to lean on people much more, be more open with my struggles, my failings and try hard to have a transparency about me that isn’t always easy – leaves me wide open for vulnerability you see.
I never thought I would depend on God quite as much as I do; I depend on Him for His wisdom. When to say yes, when to say no, when to recognize my kidlets have not had enough time spent one to one without mummy doing something or chatting to someone. The wisdom to never speak negatively or from a place of hurt about someone when they are around and can hear. This has been wonderful training for me to ‘box’ something and speak about it later when the time is right. This did take a few Sunday afternoons of discipline for me of course.
I have had to mature and take my eyes firmly off myself and fix my eyes firmly on Jesus. That means during the worship time when I had quite the week, want to focus on myself and lick my wounds or when we have heard or been with someone who is going through such a crisis that even I am wondering where God is in it all. I fix my eyes on Jesus and Him only, through the doubt, the fear, the concern, the burdens I fix my eyes firmly on Him and sometimes I even dance!
Another struggle is people pleasing but again God in His mercy is renewing my mind and setting me free. I read this from Rachel HeldEvans blog – the things that take leaders down (click on this to read it) recently and it was quite empowering – I esp like point Even if we pretend we’re impenetrable, we all pay attention to what other people are saying.
I am done pretending I’m impenetrable. I have ridden that horse for too long. I want to be real, authentic and approachable. If it points me or others to Jesus – sign me up!
Leaning on God in any ministry for me is what gets me through, setting aside time every day to worship, pray and listen to Him. Having good people around me praying with me and for me. Sometimes that means in reality as you kneel before the Lord you have a 3yr old jumping on you shouting ‘wrestle time!’, or that means you worship loudly in the car on the 4th school run. Or sometimes that means when your baby wakes you up at 5am you see it as an opportunity rather than an inconvenience (or both!)
I wish I listened to the wise voices that came from experience that weekend; I wish I had taken their wise advice. However God isn’t through with me or any of us yet. There is always a second chance.