“So, when are my pictures coming back?”
In the days before digital photography, we used disposable cameras in our family. I had given one to Jacob, our six-year-old son, to use on vacation, his first independent picture taking experience.
“Well, they’ll come back when I take the camera in to get the pictures developed. Just give it to me and I’ll take care of it.”
I could tell from his downcast expression that something was amiss.
“Oh. I threw it away last week. You said it was disposable.”
It was an ordinary day. I had a 6:15 a.m. flight out of Greenville, SC. After security and on the way to my gate, I stopped by a shop to get a bottle of water. I went to the cashier to pay and it was at that moment that ordinary became extraordinary. I spoke to the cashier – a small woman who was doing all she could to be polite and efficient. I asked her, “How are you today?” There was a pause. She responded, “I’m ok.” “Just ok?” I asked. “Yes,” she said. The next question out of my mouth just came, unintended, bare and raw, waiting to be answered.
We’re not even to the start of the second month of the New Year and already I have to ask: Do you still have any resolutions left to keep?
Pardon the rude question. It’s really a matter of projecting my own weaknesses on the world. For most of my 69 years, my experience has been that I could break resolutions just as fast as I could make them.
That’s right. Some haven’t even survived a day. Most drifted off into a thick haze before the start of February. A little research tells me I’m not alone in this regard.
The New Year is underway. Like many I have made my resolutions. I want to lose weight, exercise more, be a better employee and an all-around better person. Forbes Magazine (2013) reports that only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s resolution; primarily because of competing priorities. But this year is going to be different; or is it?
Criticism hurts, especially the non-constructive kind. We tend to stay away from such critics. But is that the wisest choice? Should we draw close to them instead of pulling away from them?
Murray Bowen, the father of family systems, coined the phrase “non-anxious presence.” He used this term to describe a personal quality that when a leader exhibits it, can keep a family or a group’s overall emotional reactivity and anxiety down. He and others suggest that leaders should not cut off their critics, but should actually stay connected to them in a calm way.
“Christians should be the most wonder-filled people in the world,” says writer Matthew Woodley. God created us to wonder. Wonder is an emotion aroused primarily by being in amazement. Wonder used as a verb is to notice, to marvel, and to be amazed. For some, the opposite may be our tendency. We are in a time crunch; we feel pressured to accomplish all that is on our plate, resulting in depression, sadness, exhaustion, or mood swings. The problem may be that we have forgotten how to wonder. Toddlers have an uncanny sense of marveling over even the smallest creature in creation.
Do you ever wonder about what you know? Do you ever think that some things you think are true really might not be true? If we recognize that we don’t use our brains to peak performance every day, then some things we think are true, simply aren’t. With the advent of the internet and Google, a lot of information is readily available. It may or may not be true but it is available. If we put our trust in Google, some of what we “know” might be inaccurate or just plain wrong.
The next year will hold many triumphs and blessings. Our calendars are filling up, our mission is set, and our desire is to glorify God and lead like Jesus in all things.
Ah yes. Give glory and honor to God, and His Son Jesus. Regardless.
Along our leadership journey we will be confronted with disappointment. Whether it’s our disappointment or someone else’s, it doesn’t matter. Obstacles, setbacks, calamities and misfortune are a part of leading.
We need to continue to lead forward. But how?
5 Ways to Lead Forward
Have you been pondering what is ahead in 2017? You may be aware of some opportunities and challenges ahead, but you know there will be unexpected ones too.
Joshua knew that too as we read in the opening chapter of the book of Joshua where it says, After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them – to the Israelites.
This verse has always made me pause.