“…God does not respond to what we do; we respond to what God does. We’ve finally figured it out. Our lives get in step with God and all others by letting him set the pace, not by proudly or anxiously trying to run the parade.” Romans 3:28 The Message
With the commencement of Term 3 my question to all of us is “Who is in control?”
I think leaders often have the expectation personal and or organizational to be the one ‘in control’. If there is anything which the past year has taught us, being the person ‘in control’ is not something we can or should aspire to. From a personal perspective a quick look back over the past weeks resulted in the following: a trip to WA to work with Francois and the staff at Living Waters WA was prevented by border closures, a trip to Sydney I had booked for the holidays disappeared out the window with the NSW lockdown, and the death of my mum took the rug out from under me. They are just the first three situations which come to mind. Oh, and when I started writing this devotion last week, we were all at school, at work, at the gym and within two days all into lockdown!
So, as Paul says in Romans our life is about allowing God to set the pace, not running our own race which can result in literally hitting a brick wall or heading in the wrong direction and dragging along others with us. I am drawn back to the capabilities in Growing deep: growing oneself: Living positively. I love the description of this capability:
Involves the ability to maintain a positive outlook or perspective, even in the face of obstacles or setbacks. It draws strength on the promises of God and includes being optimistic about the future, and consciously choosing to project warmth, faith and hope in relationships with others. It involves valuing the gifts and contributions of all and creating a sense of optimism by building a positive energetic climate of encouragement and support even during times of difficulty and change.
So, what does this mean for how we deal with the uncertainties of life; personal, professional and community?
- Most importantly draw strength on the promises of God, i.e. God is present always (even when it doesn’t feel so), God loves unconditionally, God is faithful, God can guide us through the most difficult situations….and more!
- God gives us the strength, capacity to be optimistic and project ‘warmth, faith and hope’, especially when we don’t feel that way, we don’t have to generate this ourselves.
- Value those around us who have gifts of wisdom different to our own and who are inspired by God to create a climate of encouragement and support. This is when we need to look beyond ourselves.
Humility is also incredibly important for leaders in challenging situations. Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” I know that possibly my focus has been more on the acting justly and loving mercy. It’s time to focus on walking humbly with God.
Regardless of what comes our way, how blessed we are to have a God who is love, who is constantly present with us in all situations, who provides us with a community to support us, and when we take the time to stop and listen helps us to get back in step with God as we collectively work towards the mission vision and values of our learning communities and the wider world.