By: M. Diane Pearce, LMFT, Founder/Consultant Legacy Strategy, Inc
While attending a recent funeral of a lady who left us far earlier than anyone expected, I was reminded of what a mentor said to me once, “You cannot lead others where you will not go”. My friend was a woman of extreme grace & loving grit. She was a leader of those who knew her. Every one of us leads someone by example of behavior (more than words).
Since we all lead someone, the question is, how do we lead others? I have learned much about how not to lead, so as I write this, I am keenly aware of the fact that my most potent lessons in leadership have come when I am faced with the truth of my own weakness. The beauty and dilemma of weakness is that it reminds us of how utterly in need we are of the strength that comes from desperate dependence on God. Leading with grit & grace requires truth about self & others.
Grit is forged when we face the thorns that are within. We all have at least one thorn. Though I have pleaded that God remove mine, I thank God for my thorns because they are what makes me most useable. Don’t get me wrong, thorns hurt! They do not make me happy, but they do bring me joy. They are persistently painful & can distract me from His purpose. Pain is never allowed without God having a way to use it for good. Joy comes when pain is used for good.
Divinely appointed thorns are those items that never seem to leave us & facing our thorns enables us to get out of the way so that God may accomplish all the good that He has planned. Through His words He teaches & molds us when we face & surrender our thorns to His purposes.
It is when we are in pain that we are most likely to set aside our self-reliance, accomplishments, successes, and our superior attitude. Only in surrender can we have the peace that comes from truth that heals us. Facing our thorns forges our grit and not facing them forges our denial of truth.
Grace is forged when we embrace His grace & extend His grace. We cannot give what has not yet been received. Grace is needed when we face our thorns and adjust our control. Adjusting for the sake of God’s purpose, as opposed to my own purpose requires a change in control. We are creatures of comfort and we do not like change. We like what we already know.
When we face our true selves in change, we are faced with the reality of either resisting with our will or embracing His will. Letting go of what is comfortable & works like a well-oiled machine can be scary! Yet, because of His grace, we can let go of the comfortable and walk in faith as we re-assess our priorities. Peace does not come from keeping everything the same, but from walking in faith & staying focused on the truth that God shows us as we spend time in His word. Grace frees us of holding on for too long to people, circumstances, my rights, my things, my shame, failures or successes. These only lead to being stuck in the past without personal growth. Grace that is not yet received cannot be given to others.
Leading will always prompt responses that are distracting. We may be elevated and praised for how we lead, but do not get distracted my friend! The praise of an audience is a fickle friend that will quickly turn to scrutiny when truth becomes uncomfortable. Do as Paul exemplified in the Bible. When the audience was listening, he spoke truth without fear & when they elevated him he reminded them of his humanness and pointed them to his source of truth and strength.
Stick to the truth that God has shown you in the time you have spent in His word. Extend grace without watering down the truth and exercise grit without fear! He has you in His Hands! Stand for what is right and true and He will take care of the rest!
(Further study: Genesis 50:20, Psalms 49:1-3, Psalms 51, Acts 14:14-15, 2 Cor. 12:7.)
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Legacy Strategy, Inc. is a private counseling practice in Kennesaw, Georgia.