“My friends, a mist in the pulpit creates a fog in the pews!” My thoughts trailed off as I envisioned the room being filled with fog as the preacher prattled on. As I daydreamed, ever so slowly the preacher faded from view. He was so corny, eliciting laughter as he described disastrous situations where leaders failed to lead. He added a turn of a phrase here and there, lots of mother wit, and practical examples of lessons on leadership principles. Yes, the preacher was corny but he was also wise.
As a learner, I take a posture of reflexive thought as I sit in seminars. I try to get it by applying a principle or two to my life in the moment. Why wait? No time like the present to be the best me. How can I use the principle NOW?
I was aware that my personal life was lopsided. I was unclear in the articulation of goals and expectations. Momentum from previous successes swept me along to new venues and exciting learning opportunities.
But the matter of the mist and the fog continued to rumble through my thoughts. I began a conversation with my husband to get the level of clarity I required. My closest friends provided input. Often the bleed through of ministry demands minimized the needs or dreams of the family. The tyranny of the urgent devoured time and spoiled precious moments. My children offered the best input: “Just do what you say. No more excuses.” Out of the mouth of babes…
Life transitions can assault the senses leaving a leader whirling in uncertainty. A confused leader only leads people into confusion. I had to get brutally honest about likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, and positive and negative relationships. I needed to be clear and concise about my goals. I had to separate myself from the tentacles of ministry to get in touch with ME. We had children to lead.
I asked myself, “If money and opportunity were not barriers and I could do anything I wanted, what would I do? Was further training required? Whose names made the short list of supporters? Who were the accountability partners?
According to leadership guru John Maxwell, everything rises and falls on leadership. I had to face the fact that my family was lost in a fog of my indecision. I was shaken by the realization. Without a destination, any road can take you there! Without vision, people perish!
I often speak of being authentically present in the moment. I checked in with my family to get their perspective. I interviewed each family member to understand his or her needs and expectations. From the conversations, I assigned myself one thing I would work on for each family member to demonstrate my concern and leadership.
As I continued to be concise and sought clarity, peace prevailed in my home. Whenever I allowed personal fears to overwhelm me, I was swallowed in the fog of confusion and indecision. I settled it. My quest for balance in my life put me on a trajectory with laser focus. I asked God for courage to stay the course. Life became less complicated. I gave direction in critical family situations to build stronger relationships. I operated in the principle of rewarding approximations rather than seeking perfection.
The preacher may have been corny, but he really knew what he was talking about. If I am unclear or uncertain, I breed insecurity in those who are walking with me. I pray God will continue to give me grace to lead with boldness each time the baton of leadership is passed to me.