Leadership Sometimes Means Just Being and Not Doing

If you lead, you probably like to problem solve as well. In other words, problems that are seen are now problems to be fixed.

But how does that work with people? Though people are not our projects, when we see a struggling coworker, or even a friend or family member, it is difficult to not want to step in and “save the day.”

Photo courtesy of Sura Nualpradid | FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Photo courtesy of Sura Nualpradid | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So where is that line? For there are times that we need to step in and provide a solution by doing; other times, we need to step in and provide a solution by being. And by that I mean that the best way we can lead sometimes is by simply being the cheerleader or encourager and not diving in changing the situation to provide the solution.

Standing along the race route and providing water to a thirsty runner as opposed to running the race for them.

Because the truth is that sometimes we cannot fix a problem that another is going through regardless of how hard we might try or desire it.

Valuable lessons are often learned through the crucible of life.

This past year, my daughter Courtney excitedly entered her freshman year of college with all of the usual charisma, energy, and high hopes that typically surround this new chapter of life. But it was not long, though, before some significant challenges starting manifesting themselves and the year became just plain…hard. I will not go into the details, but let’s just say the chasm between expectations and realizations became vast and wide.

And I have to admit, my “dad” instincts kicked in pretty quick, especially with situations that I felt could have been handled differently by others with her.

My daughter was 1,200 miles away, and contrary to the previous 18 years, I could not just step in, lead, and fix the problem.

And to be honest, I really struggled with that and God and I had several conversations along the way of this past school year (all of which He won by the way). God is sovereign, but there are times when one you love is hurting and the obvious option just seems to take the lead and get them out of the problem.

But God knew better, and my path of growth and His path of growth where not quite the same path. God wanted to do some pretty amazing work in my daughter’s life and get her to where I could only hope but by using means that I would not have chosen myself.

And so my leadership and my wife’s leadership were not in the doing but just in the being. And I look at this 19 young woman and marvel at the strength, character, and endurance that she developed because she chose to allow her God to do what He promises – and that is this:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Last week my daughter posted the following on Facebook after finishing her first year of college. You may have already seen this but perhaps not. As I read it, I was humbled by her words and her great faith. I certainly did not have that when I was 19. And I was moved…moved to write this post. I asked her permission to use this today, and she graciously agreed.

I came into CCU like every other freshman. I was excited for this new stage of life. Why shouldn’t I be? Ha! If only I could go back to the beginning and warn myself about what was coming. I’m not going to go into detail, but I’ll tell you that my excitement slowly disappeared, but I had no idea what God was about to do.

The greatest thing God taught me this year was that He is faithful. On the days where I thought I couldn’t make it physically, He gave me the strength I needed. When I thought I was about to go over the edge, God gave me a song or verse that reminded me of Truth. Time after time God provided me with little blessings that reminded that God is still there, He is still at work, and He is not finished with me yet.

I asked God for strength, and He gave me difficulties to make me strong. I asked Him for wisdom, and God gave me problems to solve. I asked for success, and He gave me the brains and energy to work. I asked for courage, and God gave me danger to overcome. I asked for love, and He gave me troubled people to encourage and help. I asked for favors, and God gave me opportunities.

I received absolutely NOTHING I wanted this year, but I received EVERYTHING I needed.

We always have 10,000 reasons to praise Him in the good times, but what about during the storms? There’s only one reason that can ever suffice in the worst: He is God. “In all my life, in every season, You are still God, and I have a reason to sing and worship.” When my world shakes, His love remains unshaken, so constant, so perfect, so unwavering. When my world falls, His love still remains unfailing, constant, perfect, and unwavering. His love is so loyal.

That is the truth that got me through this school year.

The past 9 months have been the hardest and worst months of my life, but I don’t regret any of it. Everything I just said and way more would not have happened if not for the circumstances I went through. Of course I wish things were easier, but God works in mysterious ways. I’m done trying to figure Him out  That being said, freshman year is over, and I am alive.

“This is my prayer in the desert when all that’s within me feels dry. This is my prayer in my hunger and need: My God is the God who provides. And this is my prayer in the fire, in weakness or trial or pain. There is a faith proved of more worth than gold, so refine me, Lord, through the flame.”

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

As a dad, there is nothing more I desire to see in any of my kiddos than this type of view of their God. I am proud and grateful that though this freshman year was anything but what was expected, my daughter went through the fire and came out purified. She is pretty amazing.

And I learned much as a father and as a leader. And that is that solving problems can often times be “active” and “doing.” I see a problem. I fix it. But there are other times when the necessary leadership required is just being. Being a cheerleader, being a supporter, being a pointer to Truth, being a carrier of water so that the race can be finished well.

And these are leadership lessons I trust I do not soon forget.

Good work girl. On to new races.

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