I have recently been in various conversations with people about leadership. What does that mean? Who is in charge? How is that decided? These aspects of leadership are present in all areas of our life ~ family, personally, in business, in school, in church….it’s everywhere! And it’s necessary!
I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase, “Well, you know, it all comes from the top down.” Or how about, “One bad apple spoils the bunch.” We saw what happened during the housing crash of the early 2000’s ~ the bank presidents were held responsible for the corruption and deceit and paid for it….oh wait, no they weren’t. How is that possible?
Usually these phrases are overheard in conversation when there have been negative situations occurring. In most scenarios, no matter if the “guy in charge” has anything or much to do with someone’s negative behavior, they are still held responsible. When you are the “guy in charge”, you have a lot of responsibility to know each of the people who serve/work underneath you.
As I think of this “from the top down” idea, there are so many platforms that I’m regularly a part of and can see the effects of negative leadership as well as the benefits of positive guidance.
I’m actually sitting here with a huge smile on my face thinking of how honored and blessed I am to serve with four different groups of women: at church on our Women’s Council, at the high school on the Parent Association Board, with the women who are my accountability partners with my ministry, and in my life with my three daughters. All of these women are very important to me; all of them speak truth in love to my heart; all of them help to hold me accountable; and all of them want to see me fulfill the potential of the call that God has placed on my life. Serving in each of these venues (yes, today, I’m calling motherhood a ‘venue’) has been a delightfully joyful challenge of a lifetime!
There will always be someone in your life that you have to answer to. Someone who is tasked with knowing all about you and guiding you in the direction that will lead to positive growth. Even if you are reading this and you are the CEO of your own company, there is still someone you have to answer to: investors, constituents, or employees. This can be invigorating and nerve-wracking all at the same time.
So how do we make sure that in whatever circles of influence we have, that we are being a responsible part of process? I am grateful that we have God’s Word to turn to for any and every situation we face.
Being the one in charge of an event, of a company, of a school community, or of a family, requires dedication to operating in a mode of truth, kindness, firmness, and instruction. And all of those attributes require communication between you (as the “boss”) and the people you serve. Yep, I said ‘serve’ ~ and all that entails: to lead, to guide, to render assistance, to be of help to, to perform specific duties. The best way to have your people organize a coup is to be an unrelenting boss with unrealistic expectations. This may look like an all out overthrow and you lose your job, or it may look like a 2 year old throwing an entire snack cup of cheerios all over the floor in a high end department store. Oh yes….that happened!
By God’s design, we are created in His image…so…we have the tools in our brain to be a great boss! When sin entered the world, those tools have been misplaced and sometimes just flat out lost. God is the ultimate example of “from the top down” business/family model. His greatest service to us was to send His own Son to die on the cross in order to bring restoration and reconciliation to our relationship with Him. What incredible sacrifice that was endured by God the Father and God the Son, and what great joy for the Holy Spirit to come and dwell in us and among us because of that sacrifice.
There are countless verses in the Bible regarding how a master and servant should treat each other; how a business owner and employee should treat each other; how a husband and wife should treat each other; and how parents and children should treat each other. Although there are definitive roles that each of these people carry, some with more authority that others, they are all called to treat each other with respect, with wise consul, with clear communication, and with kindness.
No matter what the locale of a situation is that is seemingly swirling out of control, you can usually look to the top of the chain of command to see why things are out of control. Whether in business or with your family.
Or just within your own self.
What’s at the top of our body? Our head…our brain…the CEO of our attitudes. Without answering to the Lord through worship and spending time in His word and in prayer, then our heart and mind will not be able to function as it is intended. When we have the ability to see our life how God has planned, we can live in the gifts and talents that God has given us!
Remember that cheerios bit I told you about a few paragraphs above…I do believe that they actions of my 2 year old that day (and many many many days after that) were a physical manifestation of bad management…ie: the momma melt down! I was in a season of life where we moved to another state for my husband’s job. I was all in favor of supporting him, his career, and yes, the increase of pay! I wasn’t all in for the isolation part. Two little kids, no family in the neighborhood, no church family…just hot, humid, sticky, red-ant filled life. I was not allowing God to be in charge of my heart and mind. Thus, my job as a mom was severely faltering. And people…my toddler…were revolting against me at every turn! I’m thankful that the Lord (and my family!) were patient with me, helping me gain back sanity and the ability to allow the Lord to be in control of my life again. And those 2 year old temper tantrums stopped too!
Let me encourage you today to take a look at all the areas in your life where you serve. Ask the Lord to help you see where you can improve and what things you are doing that are great! It’s okay to ask the Lord to show you the positives too! He wants to celebrate you as much as He will correct your path!
John 15:14-16 is a beautiful declaration of God’s heart toward us, “You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”
We don’t just have a relationship with the Lord, we have a friendship with the God of the Universe! He does not see us as servants, but as friends. And through that friendship, we can have all other relationships flow through the truths we know are secure in the Lord.