“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me ~ watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” ~ Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)
The rules of engagement and the definitions of success are not the same for Christian leaders as they are for leaders who do not follow Christ.
For Christian leaders, when your strategic results don’t measure up to your hopes, you are standing at a critical choice point. You can go one of two ways. You can link your sense of God’s approval to your (failed) performance, which will lead you into a slow-death spiral of “try harder” and “do more” over and over again until you are utterly exhausted and drowning in confusion. Or you can lean into grace and choose to be an active student of God’s wisdom and ways.
Option 2 is better.
Choosing the latter option allows you to stand firm in the absolute assurance that your approval and God’s delight in you are in no way threatened by your performance. And that frees you up to be authentically unattached and open-heartedly curious with God about what’s really going on with respect to the strategy you have employed.
Being unattached and curious allows you to seek God about other factors that may be at work in the scenario:
- God, what am I not seeing here?
- God, what is the nature of this Resistance?
- What’s the larger (or different) agenda you may be inviting me into here? Are you after something different or bigger than this strategy allows me to see? If so, what is it?
- What is Your specific desire in this situation? What are You after here?
- What do You want from me in this? What do You want for me in this?
- God, what other question should I be asking about this?
If your goal is to “win” or “make it work” at all costs because your identity and approval depend on your performance, you will cling to strategy and not to God, and you will kill your own soul trying to do it right and get the results so that God will be pleased and love you.
But that is not the Way of Christ.