There are times when life comes at us, angry, ferocious and relentless. But we are leaders and others depend on us so we smile and we speak and we give of ourselves. What we actually feel like doing is pull weird faces behind somebody’s back, throw a tantrum or sulk. Instead, we keep smiling and speaking and giving. If you’ve been in any leadership position for more than a month, then you’ve been here.
I had too many torrents come my way these past few weeks. In fact, it was monsoon season for me with icy wind chill factors thrown in for good measure. Flu, heartache, stress, work, conflict resolution, little sleep, and then my husband, who was my only silver lining, had to leave for a week. So, I did what good leaders do – I tucked my head down, lifted up my collar, turned my back to the wind and, while feeling sorry for myself, ate a truckload of chocolate. I had no choice.
The thing that pushed me over the edge was a phone call. The man was so rude to me that it took my breath away. At the end of the call I stared at the phone, gaping like a guppy, shocked and confused. Then I stood up, smoothed my skirt, straightened my mind and walked into the next meeting. Because that’s what leaders do. But it did push me over the edge.
At home that night I brooded. Everything inside of me wanted to kick that man’s butt from here to kingdom come. I thought of a few choice phrases and some scenarios in which it would play out. Sitting at my computer, I stared at the screen. Before my eyes was my blog post from a few weeks ago in which I wrote about how to respond in a pushy world. Really God? Using my own words against me! That’s not fair. But it worked. Godly leadership requires the opposite of pushy.
[Philippians 4:5] “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near” rolled over in my mind and sank to my heart. The Lord is near. I could not do this in my own strength. I had no strength left. I was sick and tired remember. My Lord and my God, on the other hand, was not sick, nor tired. He is mighty to save. “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”
Drawing from the nearness of the Lord, I let go of the offence. Instead, I thought about all the good this man has done. I thought about how hard his job must be. I thought of how faithful he has been in serving the Lord. Somewhere during my thinking, I forgave his small transgression. Along with this new way of thinking, the storm inside dissipated. From behind the dark cloud the sun shone through with warmth and light.
As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Phillippians 4:8