Thank You Leader for Keeping it Real

More than a year ago I had the significant opportunity of working one-on-one with a character coach toward building a mission statement for my life.

Usually caught somewhere between who we currently are and who we want to be, a personal mission statement is meant to compass conscious thoughts and behaviors to be witnessed through a life lived out loud.

I’ll quickly give you the finished product of a three-month process:

“To exemplify a genuine and courageous life lived out for others with passion, inspiration and insight that propels people to take action.”

Every word in that statement has a purpose behind it, but the one that’s receiving our focus today is genuine. Through the sifting process of knowing who I want to be, I knew that included real and authentic.

As kind and considerate as many high-level leaders are, there is also an accompanying sense (real or perceived) of being unapproachable.

As my journey in leadership continues to mature, my mission is to remain accessible and candid about who I am as a person. In essence, here are my strengths and my weaknesses. Here are my ups and my downs. Here’s where I’ve succeeded and where I’ve failed. Here’s what I’ve mastered and here’s where I’m struggling. Open book would be the term to sum it up.

So here’s my “genuine” update on life…

Years in the making, I’ve admired successful female leaders who don’t skip a beat during their pregnancy.

I’ve watched from afar of those who have written and published best-selling books while pregnant, run multi-million dollar companies while expecting and preach the house down at conferences in their late trimesters. These examples of motherhood have been my standard, what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be when and if that same season came my way.

Only that season is here, and I’ve performed much differently than how I expected I would in my mind.

The Wonder Woman gold standard of mom-hood I once wanted to achieve has been substituted with new ambitions. The devotional book I thought I would start this year has since been replaced with any available time for a nap.

The discipleship projects I wanted to achieve by the end of April have now been dated for some time this late summer (or let’s be real – maybe even 2019). And the year I’m scheduled to teach and preach more than ever before has been met with some unforeseen annoyances that no one would have guessed.

There’s nothing wrong with my pace. I’m relishing in all that a mom-to-be should. Still, you know how it goes. You have a plan and example set that you would like to reach – and there becomes unwanted and unwarranted margin within yourself for disappointment to set in.

In my realness though, I’m thankful for the authenticity of our giants in the faith. David regularly opened up about his disappointments and personal defeats in the Psalms. Ecclesiastes sums up the raw emotions of a full-life lived realizing what’s important and what’s not.

Let’s not forget about the biggest confessor of all time. Whether it is being the greatest sinner of all or about the thorn in his flesh, Paul had an existing mental affliction that always reminded him of who he used to be.

A life of faith and also leadership – a testimony – cannot and should not be a summation of only mountain top moments. There is victory in Christ, so we celebrate the triumphs of other people who modeled over-coming power, dedication and trust.

Personally though, the stories that have brought me the most hope are the real and the raw – the sore and the sensitive accounts – of those who followed Jesus even when they were frustrated, drained, aggravated and tired.

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.” (James 5:16)

The King James Version for this verse replaces sins with faults. Even beyond our sins and mistakes, there is a practical measure within the Scripture.

Healing comes – recovery and restoration comes – when we just talk to somebody about what we’re going through. The mountain of an issue lessens within our minds. We hear that we aren’t the only one going through that particular journey.

We familiarize that this is human, that this is normal – and then we have an opportunity to join in conversation with God about it because He can handle it far better than we can.

These are the moments within my season that have kept me from divulging in self-pity and disillusionment, though near and at bay many times.

Thank you, high-level leader, for opening up about your small group involvement percentage at your church. Where I thought I was missing the mark, you made me feel normal.

Thank you, friend in the ministry, for telling me the most recent instance in where you were nervous before speaking. You made me feel normal.

Thank you, pastor, for sharing about the changes in having kids – and how your pace before and after has never been the same. You made me feel normal.

And knowing I’m normal and human is the best gift you could have given, for it knocked down the wall the enemy was building in my mind. Your genuineness made me stop questioning myself and instead start focusing on The Lord.

There are many attributes we should strive for within both leadership and ministry. Resiliency. Vision. Inner Strength. Preparedness. Yet, let’s not forget the value that comes with sometimes being vulnerable, open and human.

The story of setback that you have yet to share may be what sends a peer or follower back on a path toward triumph in Christ.