Jesus proclaimed that He is ‘the way, the truth and the life.” If that is right (and it is), then why do we sometimes feel like we have lost our way? In our careers in leadership we will find ourselves from time to time feeling like we are just muddling through rather than leading with clear vision and confidence. How did we get in this state, and, more importantly, how do we get out?
All leaders face periods of time when they feel like they have lost their way. Unexpected challenges, unsuccessful strategies, criticism of our best efforts and the rapid pace of change can combine to bring us to the place of uncertainty, lack of direction and even despair. Do you feel sometimes like you are more wandering than leading? Here are two insights I pray will help.
First, remember that it is the goal of our enemy to take us off the sure road and lure us into a maze of uncertainty. He beckons us to take our eyes off of Christ, even just for a moment, and look to our own strength, skills and wisdom to get us through. The more we rely on our self, the deeper we wander into a maze of problems and pressures that ultimately overwhelm us. We have been duped into believing that if we just work harder, God will bless us and get us out of the mess we are in. The first step is to acknowledge where you have yielded to the temptation to go your own way and rely on your own strength. Where did you get off course following God’s will and way?
The second step – getting out – can be illustrated by an experience I had participating in a challenge course with some business colleagues. One exercise had us blindfolded and placed in a maze constructed of ropes tied between trees. We were told to hold on with both hands and work our way through the maze to find the way out. Megan, the young lady who administered this particular challenge, walked around us saying, “Raise your hand if you have a question or need help getting out of the maze.” At first, this seemed like a polite but unnecessary offer.
For fifteen minutes, I groped my way around in a futile attempt to find the way out. Thinking strategically, I worked the perimeter looking for that small opening in the rope that would set me free. Finding none, I worked my way to the middle, taking the counterintuitive route, clever as I was. I arrived, signaled to Megan and asked quietly but confidently, “Megan, am I out?” “No, sorry,” she replied.
I tried the perimeter again now growing anxious as Megan announced each person who was ‘out of the maze’. Would I be last? Panic (fueled by pride) began to set in when it became apparent that there was no physical way out of the maze. The entire perimeter was closed. And as I stopped my frenetic groping and took a moment to think about my inability to find my way out, I heard her sweet offer again, “Raise your hand if you have a question or need help getting out of the maze.”
The solution had been right in front of me all along. All I needed to do was to hear her voice, consider my own inabilities and take a humble posture. This wasn’t a physical challenge, but a test to see if we would continue to rely solely on ourselves to our absolute infuriation. I humbly raised my hand; and when she came over, I said, “Megan, I can’t get out of the maze. Can you help me?” At once, she lifted the mask from my eyes, smiled, and said quietly, “Congratulations, you’re out.”
Can you hear the sweet voice of the Holy Spirit saying, “say a prayer, invite me in, ask for my help if you want to know how to get out of this situation.”
Jesus called the Spirit the Comforter who will guide us into all truth. (John 14) Will you ask humbly for the Spirit’s guidance, or spend your days in a frantic attempt to find your own way out?
Do you want to get out of the maze?
He is the Way.
Dr. Scott Rodin has been in not-for-profit leadership and consulting for twenty-five years. He has served as counsel to over 100 organizations across the country and in Canada and Great Britain including colleges, seminaries, schools, churches, para-church ministries and other not-for-profit organizations. Visit his blog at Kingdom Life Publishing.
This year there will be a very special event held at the 2014 CLA National Conference. It is the Steward Leader Initiative Summit. Scott Rodin will lead the day and take people deeper into their understanding of steward leadership. Be sure to register for the conference before January 31, 2014 so you can take advantage of additional savings. Secure your seat for this summit today!