Fearless Living, Fearless Leading

fear notWashing dishes at a friend’s house last night after a lovely dinner, I was struck with a thought, a question, really, that I then turned and posed to my wife and friends. I asked them, “If I could lead us all out of fear what couldn’t we do? How would each of us respond to each other and to the world around us if we were completely fearless?” Okay, it was a downer of a question and every sense of frivolity and lightness fled the room. None of us had a great answer. After an awkward moment of silence, my beautiful, amazing, and dry-witted wife quipped, “Well, who died and made YOU Jesus?”

Since that moment I’ve been thinking about what really could happen if we just lost our fears instead of our car keys or our reading glasses. Wouldn’t we respond very differently than we do now to threats of economic hardship, terrorism, and even to our spouses and loved ones? I think we would. I think if we could develop a stronger belief in Jesus’ work for us and dig a lot deeper into what that means for us on a practical level, we would lead very different lives altogether. Perhaps we would lead lives like God fully intends for us to lead. Fearless lives. Child-of-God kind of lives.

For one thing, all competition would cease. We would realize that God has already anticipated every need we could ever have and has already provided for them. We would stop hedging our bets on getting what we need from Him and from the world around us, abandoning every temptation to manipulate anyone in any way for any thing. We would pray with confidence. We would love unconditionally. We would move from the “competitive mind” to the “creative mind.” We would become extreme givers, never takers. We would overwhelm the people around us with the kind of Spirit power rarely seen since The Book of Acts.

Our leadership would change, too. Transparency would be the norm. A compassionate kind of listening would become the hallmark of our husbanding, our parenting, and our ministries. People would flock to follow us because they would feel validated for being who they are, not just feeling used by us for their talents or dollars. If we were truly fearless, we could look someone deeply in their eyes and say, “Darling, I’m here for you” and mean it from the essence of our being. We would, in short, make the fearless kingdom of God in all that it means come to bear in very tangible expressions all around us. Life would come alive again.

No one died and made me Jesus.

But Jesus has entrusted me with leadership abilities with which to lead others toward all that He died to give us. Freedom from fear – all of it – is ours in Jesus. Best I can tell, Jesus said,”Fear not” about 15 times as recorded in the Gospels. Seems to me once would have been sufficient if we could only do it.

What kind of leader can you become if you begin to take steps, even small ones, toward eradicating fear from your life and ministry? How would that affect your leadership, the planning, the praying, the interactions with the people you lead? Are you ready for what fearless living and fearless leading will do?

 

Serenity in the Midst of Great Change

Serenity is the ability to accept change as from the hand of God.

Perhaps many people have said something similar as the above, but my family and I are currently living it. This year has brought sweeping changes to our careers, locations, and family dynamic. We have endured job changes, empty nest a year early, and a gigantic move from Alabama to Michigan. No wonder my head is swimming!

There have been many days that I have thought to myself, Was this all necessary? Why couldn’t we have kept things as they were? Have I made a huge mistake in all of this? Only time will reveal the mistakes I may have made, but, for now, we are here. The house down South has sold and we have purchased a new one here. The child is stepping into early adulthood and making many of her own decisions. The new career is underway and new benchmarks are being set. It is all completely out of my control.

Maybe that is a part of serenity, as well, realizing that very little of anything is in our control. Time marches unceasingly forward bringing many changes we may or may not welcome. Hair grays, eyes dim, and bellies swell. Okay, maybe we don’t have to let the bellies swell, but it is hard to keep them skinny. The point is that life passes. Kids grow up and we either embrace the changes as from God or we go crazy resisting them.

Serenity is an essential element of healthy living. May you find it today in whatever changes God has brought to you.