Life, Leadership, and Things That Will Last

The belief that one can be all things, to all people, at all times is absurd. Life will be miserable if this is your attempt. Every single person will end up doing two things in life at some point—attempting things and doing well and attempting things and failing, sometimes miserably. I’m learning, in different scenarios, both of these results are just fine.

Jesus said in Mark 8:36 (ESV), “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” I admit I have been on a roller coaster of emotions the past six months of my life—experiencing every emotion from sadness and pain to joy and freedom. Sometimes these emotions have intermixed as if the one trying to figure out how to put together a child’s toy that is labeled “easy assembly required” on the outside box.

My prayer for the thoughts below is that, no matter where you are in life, in a good season, or a tough season, that it will help and encourage you in some way. That you may come to understand that life is a precious gift, every single person has leadership capacity, and only one thing will last for all of eternity.

Life.
“Life is a beautiful gift, and we only get one shot at it.”

I’m always reminded, of the ups and downs of life, that life is a beautiful gift. For the past 33 years, God has woken me up every single day. Some days, I nail it. Others, I fail. This does not change the fact that, with breath in our lungs, we have been given much and much is required. Life is beautiful because the Creator of life made it beautiful. This does not mean we dismiss the brokenness that surrounds us. It does mean we maximize the opportunity we have been given, while we still have it. We take our God-given uniqueness, and we use to further a mission that is beyond anything we could do on our own accord. We maximize relationships with others because we were built for the community. We serve, we forgive, and we extend grace, all because the same thing has been done for us. The beauty of life is not based on circumstances. The beauty of life is based on the giver of life, that fashioned you in unique ways, to contribute in ways that you may have never seen coming. Find comfort in you are not the giver of life; therefore you don’t have to have it all figured out to make a difference. Life is a beautiful gift, and we only get one shot at it.

Leadership.
“How you carry yourself – day in and day out – says a lot about your leadership capacity.”

Thomas A. Edison once said, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” We can become so inundated with our failures, that we miss what God is showing us through them. There are days I have led well. There are days I have not led well. I have served under some extraordinary leaders that have challenged, pushed and encouraged. I have also served under some leaders who were insecure and have created work environments in which nothing was ever good enough. I have learned much from both. An important leadership lesson is this: other’s insecurities do not change your leadership capacity. This is difficult because we can often feel the weight of other’s insecurities around us. Capacity is defined as “the amount that something can produce.” What are you currently producing? What is stopping you from maximizing your leadership potential? Responding with the “blame game” is an endless cycle that drives you to bitterness, not development. I believe you can learn as much, if not more, from bad leadership. Never allow an insecure leader to convince you that you are not called or fit to do exactly what God has built you to do. An unstable leader or great leader, for that matter, did not fashion you in your mother’s womb, only the King of Kings did that. How you carry yourself – day in and day out – says a lot about your leadership capacity. How you bounce back from adversity, says a lot about your character and what drives you.

Things that will Last.
“The Kingdom of God—the only thing that will last; the only thing that is eternal.”

That career that you thought you were going to be in for the rest of your life, God knew all along that you wouldn’t be. It may have just been a set up for what He built you to do. That best friend that you thought would always be by your side, no matter what may be taken unexpectedly. The normal that you thought would be the routine normal can instantly be replaced with a new normal. Change in this life is inevitable. One of the funny things I think we can ask a senior graduating from high school is, “So, what is your five-year plan?” Lead well, yes. Plan well, yes. But, realize that absolutely nothing in this life is eternal. You can attach a U-Haul to a Hurst, but it might as well be empty because nothing in it will follow you. The only thing that will last is the Kingdom of Heaven. This is what is worth our time, attention, and resources every single time. The Church is the vehicle used to advance the Kingdom of Heaven. May it be so ingrained in your life that one can’t talk about you without mentioning it.

Life is miserable when it centers on you. After all, the child’s toy box never says, “easy assembly required for you,” it only says, “easy assembly required.”

“May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” (2 Peter 1:2-4 ESV)