A year ago during my annual end-of-year reflection, I didn’t hear any specific goals from God. Instead, I heard him tell me to just be available for whatever he had for me in 2015. As it turned out, that included the illness and death of both my mother- and father-in-law.
This year, God has given me clear direction: “I want you to leave leadership.” Since early October, this message has been unmistakable. I do not sense that he is asking me to give up influence per se (after all, that flows from who we are, not just what we do), but definitely to let go of the focus and field of leadership, at least for a time. The corresponding message I’ve heard, from Psalm 46:10: “Cease striving and know that I am God.”
So, that’s what I’m doing. I don’t know if this is a temporary “letting go” or a permanent “leaving,” but I’m OK with either. I am giving up a number of responsibilities and positions and declining new opportunities and invitations. I will stop blogging on leadership, although I’m keeping my old posts available on this site.
I have no idea where God will take me in the months ahead but I look forward to listening, learning and following.
On the Journey,
Did God call you here?
If He did: Are you leading and serving, confident in that calling?
If He did at one point, but you’re thinking about leaving: Did He call you away? (Don’t make a move until you’re clear.)
If He didn’t: Start paying attention to what He tells you. Do what you can to redeem the situation, or follow His leading elsewhere.
(This wise question from a new friend kept me at Denver Seminary when I wanted to transfer because I was homesick. And that new friend eventually became my husband.)
Do you know when God is nudging you?
Earlier this week, I felt God reminding me of Psalm 46:10: “Cease striving and know that I am God” (NASB). After a few fun but busy weeks, I needed to slow down and just sit in his presence.
In the past, God has nudged me toward greater love and compassion, to generosity, to global awareness, to reconciliation, to personal disciplines and changes in behavior, toward particular decisions. He has nudged people I know to adopt, to become foster parents, to give sacrificially, to fast, to share the gospel in another country, to move out of a harmful relationship, to start observing a Sabbath, to give up a particular idol.
What has God been nudging you about lately? Are you listening and responding?
Last Sunday during a weekend trip to Chicago, I had the opportunity to attend church at Willow Creek’s downtown campus. Teaching pastor Steve Carter spoke on 2 Samuel 11, the story of David and Bathsheba. As Carter walked us through the story, he pointed out the dangerous path of entitlement:
- Desire. We see something and wish we had it. David saw Bathsheba and desired her. However, desire in and of itself is not necessarily bad. It is a natural human response. The problem is when it leads to the next step…
- Deserve. Now we not only want something, we convince ourselves that we are entitled to it. Despite learning that Bathsheba was married, David decided that he should have her. Which led to the third step…
- Demand. David abused his royal privilege throughout this story, invoking “king’s order’s” to bring Bathsheba to the palace, to sleep with her, and ultimately to order her husband Uzziah’s death at the front lines of the battlefield.
David’s desire eventually led to tremendous damage. And this was by someone described as “a man after God’s own heart.” As Carter noted, if this can happen with King David, it can happen to any of us as well.
James said that “each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desires and enticed.” Each of us has desires that can lead us down the road to disaster. Our adversary, the Devil, knows what “bait” works best to lure each of us down this path.
As Carter asked on Sunday: “What is your bait?” Do you know what desire can lead to your downfall? It could be money, status, power, security, dependence, or a host of other enticements. Can you trace the path from desire to demand? Do you know the damage that ensues when you take that bait?
Know your bait. Know what triggers your feelings of entitlement. And ask yourself each day if you have been a good steward of the power and gifts that God has entrusted to you.
Wow, this is great stuff. From one of my doctoral professors, Dr. Chuck Lawless: “10 Questions for Leaders to Ask Each Week.”
- Have I decreased, and Jesus increased during this past week?
- What do I know about God and His Word I didn’t know last week?
- Would someone want to pray like I’ve prayed this week?
- Would my family say they are my priority based on this week’s activities?
- With whom did I attempt to share the gospel this week?
For questions #6-10 and more explanation for each question, click here for the full post. Asking yourself these questions regularly will transform your ministry.