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Things Great Young Leaders Tell Themselves (Outside Blog Post)

I'd like to share a great blog post that I read on www.jonathanpearson.net. I've found his blog to have a great perspective on leadership. Rather than share my words, I figured I'd share his...

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"Things Great Young Leaders Tell Themselves"

by Jonathan Pearson

 

"“You can talk to yourself as long as you don’t answer.”

I’ve always told people that when I”ve seen them talking to themselves. The truth is, we all have conversations with ourselves from time to time. It may not always be out loud, sometimes it’s just in our heads. These conversations can help us throughout the day. Here are 4 things leaders should be telling themselves.

I can do it.

Most everything in life starts with a belief that we can do it. Now, this doesn’t mean we’re jerks and bull our way through life thinking we have all the answers. This means we tell ourselves that we have a unique gift to offer the world. It means we have the confidence people desire in a leader and the desire to make things happen.

I don’t know everything.

You never will know everything. Ask people that have been alive longer than we’ve been thought of and they’ll tell you they don’t know everything. Ask veteran leaders of some of the world’s most powerful organizations and they’ll tell you the same things. Sure, you’re a leader so you have great gifts ideas, and wisdom, but you don’t know everything. You know what? It’s totally okay too!

I don’t want to demand it.

Leaders don’t demand, leaders influence. One of the toughest parts of being leader (especially) a young leader is having the patience to lead instead of demand and command. If you have the authority and the title, you absolutely could. Sometimes, it’s actually the only way. It shouldn’t be your first choice. Lasting change to your organization and people comes through leading people to change and excel all on their own.

I understand.

Leaders are shepherds. I really believe that. Sure, we understand this as pastoral leaders, but it’s really true in all senses of leadership. No matter what you lead or where you lead, you have to care about people. When life kicks others in the backside, we have to be willing to say, “I understand.” We have to be willing to say that to ourselves so we don’t get frustrated when the people we lead fall behind. We have to be able to say to the people that are going through tough times, “I understand and you need to take some time.”

What other conversations should leaders have with themselves?"

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(weblink: http://jonathanpearson.net/2014/11/10/things-great-young-leaders-tell-themselves/)

K(no)w Risk, K(no)w Reward

Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant.  If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.
Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.
Plant your seed in the morning and keep busy all afternoon, for you don’t know if profit will come from one activity or another—or maybe both.
[Ecclesiastes 11: 4-6, NLT]

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Think of every great hero in the storybooks. There are a couple of key pieces that create the formula for a great tale, but just one seems to be the first major step in the story…

Frodo, the little cowardly hobbit carries a ring to Mount Doom in the face of a legion of Orcs, days’ worth of walking, doubts, a huge spider—ew, and a creepy, emaciated, little guy. But against all odds, Frodo goes and saves the day.**

Luke Skywalker carries a rebellion on his back to help restore balance to the galaxy. Through this, he faces an evil empire, daddy issues, the awful character writing of Jar-Jar Binks, and some questionable romances. Yet at the end of the day, the Death Star blows up (twice), the Ewoks dance, and balance is restored.

How about Marlin who loses his son Nemo and sets off in the big, blue ocean to find him? He gets caught up in a field of jelly fish, a group of sharks, and he gets eaten by a whale. In the end he is reunited with his son and all is well.

These characters knew risk. To be fair, we cannot expect everything in our life to have a happy ending, but one truth that cannot be denied is that when we live with no risk, we can expect no reward. Imagine if any of these characters chose to do nothing when face with risk? The story would end there. Safe, yes, but with nothing gained. It’s not a story worth hearing or a tale worth telling.

I think about my life and when I am faced with risk--when I am asked, “Mike, will you?” At that moment I have two choices: I can stay comfortable where I am, and maybe lose nothing…but also gain nothing. Or I can say, “Yes, I will risk” and be set out on a great adventure—full of successes, failure, lessons, and experience.

I am convinced that if today you find yourself comfortable, then you are probably not in the right place. Comfort is never a climate for growth, change, or advancement. Comfort keeps us “here”, when we are called to go “there”.

I’ve too often seen myself and people close to me looking for the red lights that God could be giving them that they miss out on the green lights right in front of them. In no way, should we be reckless with our choices, but we should also know that our God is in control. He is adventurous. He is a God of action.

Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant.  If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.”

Maybe today for you that risk is a life change. Maybe it is a conversation you’ve been needing to have with a close friend. Maybe it is a mindset change. Whatever it is, I urge you to prayerfully take a chance. Risk something rather than do nothing. If you know risk, you may just know reward.

**Official Blog Mentions of Lord of the Rings: 2.

You're Already In

I spent a lot of my young Christian life trying to put together the right recipe to stay in God’s good graces. Just a little bit of Bible reading here… A touch of prayer there... A whole lot of faith for some extra flavor! And of course, I would avoid putting sin into the recipe. That would ruin the whole batch! Ain’t nobody got time for that!

It was constantly a mixture I was working to perfect. I was bogged down so much by what I wasn’t supposed to do or be that I forgot who Christ already said I was—what He already did. I was reminded of this while hearing this word recently. I’d like to share with you a portion of scripture in Colossians 2:6-15 (The Message version).

”6-7 My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well-constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.

8-10 Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk. They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything. They spread their ideas through the empty traditions of human beings and the empty superstitions of spirit beings. But that’s not the way of Christ. Everything of God gets expressed in him, so you can see and hear him clearly. You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything.

11-15 Entering into this fullness is not something you figure out or achieve. It’s not a matter of being circumcised or keeping a long list of laws. No, you’re already in—insiders—not through some secretive initiation rite but rather through what Christ has already gone through for you, destroying the power of sin. If it’s an initiation ritual you’re after, you’ve already been through it by submitting to baptism. Going under the water was a burial of your old life; coming up out of it was a resurrection, God raising you from the dead as he did Christ. When you were stuck in your old sin-dead life, you were incapable of responding to God. God brought you alive—right along with Christ! Think of it! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ’s cross. He stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their sham authority at the Cross and marched them naked through the streets.”

In other versions, verse 10 sounds like this:

“10 So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

It says, “You also ARE complete through your union with Christ.” ARE complete. Not “will soon be complete.” Not “will become complete.” Not “have potential to be complete.” You “ARE complete through your union with Christ.”

What a thought! In Christ is all. He is complete. When we come into union with Christ we are actually given that fullness. His power extends over us and then empowers us. We don’t have to work to get it—it’s given by his sacrifice. All we have to do in response is carry it with us as we move forward.

What a relief that is! The sin that we would normally be nailed to a wall for was nailed to a tree and cancelled out for good. Our arrest warrant has been torn up--all charges against us have been dropped. The work is done, and it's not ours to worry about any longer. All because of the grace that flowed through Christ’s DNA, and that same DNA is now within us. We are made complete.

My challenge to you today is that you would not get stuck in the practice of our faith, but that you would live it out. That you would stop trying and start doing. Through your union in Christ, you already have what you need—you are complete!

Now go forth in that power and freedom!

I need a change, or something...

“Why, I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread. That can't be right. I need a change, or something.” –Bilbo Baggins, the Fellowship of the Ring

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That can’t be right. I need a change, or something.

I’ve often felt like Bilbo sitting across the table from a friend over a hot cup of coffee. Sharing my life, telling my story, and feeling like I’m spread just a bit too much—like butter that has been scraped over too much bread.

I need a change, or something.

How many times in your life have you felt like you’ve said “yes” more than you’ve said “no”?

Do you find yourself feeling on the verge of “burnout” far too often?

Do you often find yourself asking, “How do I continue to give without becoming empty myself?”

I often do.

It’s natural to feel like we’re overextended. One of our first commands in the Bible was to take charge and work. Many times over in scripture we are told the importance and value of work. I don’t think we have a problem understanding that. We’re all very good at getting the job done. I’m willing to bet, though, that many of us struggle with the idea of rest—or sabbath.

Hitting pause is just as important as hitting play.

Rest helps us to recover and refocus on what is important. It realigns us with the one who called us to do good work in the beginning. Burnout is often the result of self-reliance. When I can do it all, I will likely find myself on the verge of burnout. As much as we are called to work, we are also called to rest and refill.

“Be still and know that I am God” [Ps. 46:10]

 “Come with me by yourself to a quiet place and get some rest” [Mk. 6:31]

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” [Mt. 11: 28-30]

Think about being on a plane during an emergency. When the oxygen masks drop down, we are told to put on our own mask first before helping others—why? Because we're useless to everyone if we cannot get oxygen into our own lungs. The same goes for us as leaders. We cannot care for others if we are not caring for ourselves. We cannot keep pouring out for others without being poured into. The limits we place on ourselves are the limits we place on those that follow us.

I’ve heard the saying “We are not human doings, we are human beings.”

Today, I challenge you to hit pause with no agenda. Just be. Sit on a park bench with a cup of coffee and listen for God’s voice. Take a car ride with God. Sit at a diner and write in a journal imaging God sitting in the booth right beside you. Just you and God doing anything that has to do with you not workingFind whatever it is that will bring you the rest you need. This is how you can continue to give without getting empty.

Perhaps this can be the time to make things right—to make your change.

 

Becoming a Child

This morning I was thinking about who I am to God.

It’s a topic so often discussed, and not often practiced. There are many relationship connections between us and God—Provider, Lord, Savior, Friend—For some God is a King who rules from up above; for others he is a feared master that keeps us in line; yet for another he can be a convenient “get out of jail free” card. But the Bible highlights numerous times the beautiful relationship we have as children of God. In the 3rd chapter of 1 John it says:

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”

While the earthly reflections of a father relationship can leave a bad taste in some people’s mouths, the scriptures count it a privilege to be called a child of God!

Being a child of God means:

I don’t have to worry about my needs, because my father will provide for me. (Matt. 6:31-32)

I don’t have to fear, because my father will protect me. (Heb. 13:6)

I cannot be disqualified by my “sin”, because I am qualified by his mercy. (1 Pet. 1:3-6)

I belong to a big family that is tied together by grace. (Eph. 2:19)

I have access to my Father lap at all times. (Heb. 4:16)

When we accept the gift of grace that Christ gave us, we enter into a brand new relationship with him.

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba,  Father.’” (Rom. 8:14-15)

We belong to God. We are his children and he is our father. It's incredible that we actually have access to everything that comes along with that relationship!

Take a pause today and search your heart. Have you been accessing the privileges that come with being called a child of God?  How do you approach God? Are you dependent? Trusting? Confident?

What a privilege to reach out and cry “Father!” knowing that he will be there to pick us up in his strong arms!