This year has been a very demanding year for me. I knew going in that it would be a year that would stretch me beyond what should be sustained on a long-term basis. I have however learnt a few things this year about myself, about leadership, about relationships and about the purpose of my life.
Here are a few of the lessons I have learnt:
- Having stretch goals are good for me. Maintaining the status quo is sometimes needed and healthy but to be regularly challenged to accomplish something bigger than myself is good for me. I thrive on having goals that will require me to stretch myself beyond what I can easily accomplish. In order to attain these goals, I need to have faith in God and faith in His desire to use me for His purposes. Complacency is not for me.
- Being a part of a team is good for me. I seem to flourish when working together with others. This does not mean I can’t work on my own. I enjoy times of solitude, times of just hunkering down and getting in the zone and working hard. But I find that I regularly need to look around and see the team of which I am a part. I value the gifts that God has given to others that strengthen what I am doing and, in turn, I feel useful when I see how my gifts contribute toward the stretch goals that God has set before us. I love that I am a part of a bigger whole.
- Having rhythms in my life is good for me. Working hard toward a stretch goal is energizing and exciting. But, it is also very taxing – physically, mentally and emotionally. I cannot sustain a severe pace indefinitely. I am hardwired to take time to rest. God created me to follow rhythms – to sleep, to work, to celebrate, to laugh, to cry. There is a time for everything under the sun. I need to recognize this and allow for healthy rhythms in my life.
- Cultivating the relationships in my life is good for me. Healthy relationships don’t just happen. I need to give time and energy to growing my key relationships. Relationships are like gardens. On a consistent basis, they need to be watered, pruned, mowed, planted, fed and nurtured. If this is not done, it just turns into an awful weed-infested mess. Out of deep abiding love for me, God has given me people. In the midst of busy periods, I need to pay attention to these people. I need to care.
If I get too busy and work too hard and if I become selfish thinking it’s all about me and not about God’s team, and if I don’t allow for healthy rhythms and if I take more than I give to my key relationships, a terrible thing happens … I become a pain in the butt to be around. This truly is a terrible thing because the life that God has given me is intended to be a gift to the world not a burden to those around me. May I use this gift to His glory.