Category Archives: Leadership

Leadership ideas and analysis for men and women of influence

Resolution

I was talking with a friend the other day who said he was resolved not to make New Year’s resolutions for 2010. After commenting on the ironic way he put it, I asked him why. He said something to the effect of, “it’s just feels cheesy and unoriginal.” I’ll give him that one. New Year’s resolutions often feel trite to me too. It’s easier to not make any resolutions at all just so you can scoff at the losers who abandon theirs by February.

We all have to make the decision though, don’t we? We all know what they should be, but we’re not sure we want to go there. Half the battle with resolutions isn’t that they are cheesy or trite – it’s that I’m lazy and complacent. I’d rather keep the 10 pounds I gained this year, thank you very much. They were yummy! Losing them would not be so yummy.

So, I’ve decided to make some New Year’s resolutions – lots of them. Why?

1). Resolutions require reflection. Let’s face it, there wasn’t much that was spectacular about this past year. It was a crummy year for most of us and we are all ready to forget most of it. The problem is, I learn most from struggle, hard times, and even failure. When I reflect on this last year – hard as it was – I allow God to bring to my attention things that he wants to refine in my life. He reminds me that everything that happens is working together for good to conform me into the image of Jesus – and they shouldn’t be ignored or forgotten.
2). Resolutions are simple acts of confession. When we vow not to drink sodas in 2010, we are saying, by implication, “I drank too many sodas in 2009.” It is a healthy thing to admit failure – especially when our failures are destructive to us or those around us. The more I tend to hide my failures, the more prone I am to revisiting them again in the year to come.
3). Resolutions invite accountability. Invariably our conversations around the turn of the year always go something like this, “Soooooo, did you make any resolutions this year?” We sheepishly have to make something up on the spot because we either didn’t make any (and feel then like we should have), or we realize that if we share our real resolutions we won’t be able to cheat.
4). Resolutions require discipline. No one ever lost 10 pounds by accident, right? Any amount of life change we would like to see will not happen by itself. If we say we want to live a certain way (10 pounds lighter) and yet do not commit to a lifestyle that would lead in that general direction (eating fast food every day), it should be no surprise to us that our resolution was no resolution at all – just wishful thinking. When you think about it, all resolutions start out as pipe dreams, ideals, and wishes – and most remain that way because we lacked the resolve to see them through.
5). Resolutions never produce regret. So what if my resolve actually sees me through to the end of the year and I do lose 10 pounds? All of the sudden my resolutions aren’t as cheesy, trite or cliche as I was worried they would be. In fact, they are quite the opposite. No one would ever regret seeing their resolution to completion. Think about the ones that you know you should write down. Would you regret it if they all came to pass?

So, like I said, I will be making lots of resolutions this year. I’ll be calling them resolutions too. It’s too good of a term not to use: ‘agreement,’ ‘solution to a problem,’ ‘closure,’ ‘clarity,’ ‘reconcilliation.’

May your 2010 be full of resolve for the things you believe in most deeply. Happy New Year!

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Jeremiah’s Legacy

“I have made you an assayer and a tester among My people, that you may know and assay their way.”  -Jer. 6:27

I’m glad that there have been Jeremiahs in my life.  When I listen to those people in my life – even when I want to hurt them for telling me the hard stuff – I always find healing and blessing on the other side.  Invariably, I will come to a point of realization that I would never have seen those blind spots in my life were it not for those people who spoke boldly and almost arrogantly into my life.  At the time I thought they were assayers and testers – but they were functioning as instruments of God’s grace in my life.  Were they not to come and were they not to assay my way, I would have wandered off on the same path as Israel and Judah. . .and we all know where that path leads.

A Hireling in Shepherd’s Clothing

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.” (John 10:11-13)
Why would anyone want to be a leader?  When times are tough Jesus here illustrates that leaders are not to think of their own well-being, but that of their flock.  When a wolf is coming, the true shepherd considers his life as worthy to be spent for his sheep.  Instead of protecting himself and making sure that his safety is secure, the shepherd-leader of the flock lays down his life for the sheep.  
In a turbulent economy where bankruptcy looms large on the horizon for many companies and employees hear rumors of lay-offs and cutbacks – where are the shepherds?  Don’t these circumstances have the opportunity to turn us leaders into hirelings without even noticing it?  I mean, I have to protect my family, right?  Maybe.  But that’s the mindset of the hireling and not the shepherd.  The Shepherd never abandons his sheep.  He lays down his life for them.  Does that mean he should lay down his family’s life for them as well?  

“Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” (James 3:1)

This is an aspect of leadership that isn’t taught and is difficult to learn.  I fear I have much more to learn about being a shepherd than I once thought.  And….there’s more hireling in me than I would like to admit.  
. . . and not just where I work, but also in my marriage and my family.

The Better Place

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

I’ve had some time to rest and reflect over the past few days and it has been much needed.  Lots weighing on my mind and several decisions to make about the future.  In speaking with a friend of mine and in reading the Scriptures, I stumbled upon Luke 10:41-42 once again.  It’s the all-too-familiar story of Mary and Martha that I all-too-often dismiss for the “don’t be too busy” passage.  
As I read it this past week and considered it, the Lord reminded me that it’s not a just passage about being busy, being a perfectionist or even how to handle self-righteousness.  It struck me that another way to consider this passage is to remember that it is about my choice during times of worry and frustration.  When things in my life get cranked up, I have the decision where to place myself based on the circumstances.
I must remember that I need to find and remain in that better place that Mary chose.  I also need to remember that the place isn’t synonymous with activity.  I don’t make the place, I choose the place…and as long as I stay there, I will hear more clearly the voice of my Lord – and, hopefully, be a blessing and example to other Martha’s around me.