Today, I was reminded many times that I am not the expert in everything in my life. Yet, I am still looked upon to deliver a good direction of leadership and point the ship in the best direction for my team and church.
I have discovered the need for some people to be the expert – to know all the answers and have the plan that everyone needs to follow. I don’t feel that pressure in everything. In fact, I sometimes relish the fact that I truly do not have a clear answer and that I need to go find the best answer possible. For example, today in my men’s group we discussed Romans 6:1, 2. It says, “Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?” This is such a tremendous scripture and it is packed with so many aspects of relationship with God. At some point in the conversation, because I am a pastor and the facilitator of the group, the heads turn to me for the answer to the question. I know my interpretation and what I believe, but I want them to know what they believe. What are they willing to own out of the scripture and base their “God journey” on each day. My kids will tell you, I say all the time, “You have to own it.” Therefore, I cannot be the expert in your life and you just follow along. You have to take in wisdom from trusted leaders and your own discovery, combining them to form your own “expert opinion.”
Later in the day, I had a very good example of this. I sat in a two-hour architectural building meeting for our new campus. I marvelled at the experts around the table. The group included all the people needed to make sure we developed a building and campus that would meet all the needs of our church. As the questions developed, someone had an answer for each one. And if we didn’t have an answer, someone took the lead to get more information so we could make a strong decision. Even the architect, who drew all the plans and renderings, asked questions because some of the men around the table understood the construction process or building codes better. It was tiresome but in the end, the results pointed to a tremendous surge in action in the right direction.
If I had to be the expert in all these areas, we would be in big trouble. Why would I try to do that in all the areas of my life. Honestly, I enjoy the journey of learning new things. The moment I relinquish my right to “know it all,” I open the door for others to pour into my life. Then, I am empowered. Empowered to take it all in, throw out the “sticks,” and own what I am willing to firmly believe.
“What would you do if you had a blank whiteboard and you…?”
That is one of my favorite questions to ask a person. So many times, you feel like you are imprisoned by the situation, people or even the culture of your world. Whether it is taking on a new responsibility or role, it always brings a fresh perspective when you takes it down to the bare essentials. It causes you to clarify what is most important. It forces you to develop a strategy to bring those pieces into play and even how they will work together.
“But, what if I can’t change the situation as it is?”
Great question! The answer is “you already have!” When you begin to think from a different perspective, you actually already changed the dynamic of the situation. Stay there a while – you will be surprised to see all the new ideas that will begin to flood your approach. Creativity has to be fostered. It will stagnate if you stay in the same mind set. By changing it up, you are inviting a thought process like never before.
It is January 1, 2011 (aka 1/1/11)! So let me ask you a question about you. In your life, “What would you do if you had a blank whiteboard and you…?”
“You can’t be prideful if you say how good you are to yourself, then show it wordlessly in your actions.”
This nugget came after a session with one of my life mentors, Bill Morris. We chatted about a lot of things for about 45 minutes and he says, “Do you realize you have said four derogatory things about yourself in the last few minutes?” I mumbled something to the effect that “I didn’t realize that I had done that.” He said, “You need to stop that right now. You should only have good things to say about yourself.” As I walked him out, we saw Sunshine and the three of us talked for a few minutes. He said something that undercut his abilities and Bill stopped him in the same way. Sunshine responded, “I don’t want to sound prideful in what I can do.” Bill gave him the same admonishment.
A few days later, I was leaving the gym and Bill was driving in to work out. He said this nugget – “You can’t be prideful if you say how good you are to yourself, then show it wordlessly in your actions.” It has really struck me. We will cut ourselves down and demean the gifts that God gives us in an effort to make us look “smaller” in the eyes of others. However, we have been gifted by God to accomplish amazing things with those gifts. Bill is right – we cannot honor God by minimizing our gifts. We must use them at the highest level and let them speak for themselves. When we can set aside words and attitudes and let our actions be our voice, then God will be glorified, others will be blessed and we can move forward with confidence.
Here is the challenge: Listen to yourself and others in this area for a week. I am amazed at how many people do this. (And it looks terrible on them…me too when I do it.) The good news is that it isn’t that hard to change once you are aware of it.