Thursday, April 29, 2010

Having My Way

I like having my way. This is not a shock, I know. Most of us I suspect like having our way. What is so strange is that some of you don't see things the way I see them and this means that often I don't get my way because of you. When I was a kid not getting my way was so difficult that I would complain to my parents and they would respond the way parents do: "Life is not fair." I really hated that answer but now I know that it is true. I still don't like it but it is true. One songwriter I know says this way: "The only thing that's fair is the weather." (and that changes, I might add.)

Now that I am a "big boy" I have had to learn how to cope with this not getting my way thing quite a bit. First, I got married and even though my sweet wife is very understanding she still wants her way so we are always having to practice give and take. I like the take part but often I must give. Second, I had a daughter. She has always been a very agreeable person but even so her ways are not my ways and through it all I learned that I don't get my way even in parenting. Third, I work with people. Hundreds and hundreds of people who all seem to want their way and often their way is so strange and doesn't make any sense at all, but they often get their way.

One thing that I know now is that getting my way is not the secret to happiness. I have gotten my way on several occasions and lived in misery as a result.

Learning to live with others and to love others when I don't get my way is good for me. It teaches me patience, makes me see others points of view, and challenges me to love people even when we do not see everything eye to eye.

Paul, the most prolific writer in the Christian scriptures, has this personal "thorn in the flesh" that he prays to God about. If he got his way, the thorn would be gone. He didn't get his way. (II Cor. 12) He did get an answer - he got "grace" - abundant grace. Not a bad deal really - he learned that grace was better than getting his way.

Just thinking, Steve

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Not the Boss of Me

My dear Grandson has a very dear older sister - he is 5 - she is 7. The wisdom and savvy she has gained in those two extra years makes her an expert on many subjects. On occasion she wants to share her vast experiences with her brother and give him clear direction about what he should do or should not do. His response: "You are not the boss of me."

I was very fortunate as a boy - I had four older sisters and they were a storehouse of knowledge, expertise, and advanced skills. On occasion they were willing to share their superior know how with me and give me the instruction I so sorely needed. My response: "You are not the boss of me."

For whatever reason, none of us like to be bossed around and we resist it vigorously. For some, it is such an issue they have a hard time ever keeping a job. For others, it means they always want to be "their own boss" (chuckle, chuckle).

Leadership and being bossy are not the same thing. Plenty of people are bossy but they are lousy leaders. After 30 plus years of fumbling around trying to learn more and more about the dynamics of good leadership, I have learned a few things.

People respond to honesty and hard work. If you want to be a leader, you must be willing to work harder and be more transparent and truthful than the average person.

People respond to good listeners. If you are full of yourself and never listen to others don't expect them to follow your lead.

People respond to joy. If you really enjoy what you are doing and demonstrate that daily it is contagious and people catch it!

Some years ago, a fellow I knew had some special needs. He seemed different, had some odd behaviors and talked too loud at times. We talked often. He would often ask me who my "boss" was and before I could answer he would say, with a big smile on his face, "God is your boss, right?" I would say "Yes sir - God is my boss - the best boss anyone could ever have!"

I miss being able to say that - so there it is - I said it and it is true - I have the best boss any one could have. My boss has taught me so much about how to be the right kind of leader. Thanks boss.

Just thinking, Steve

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Growing Season

Spring has sprung, my friends. I can tell because my nose is dripping and my azaleas are blooming. After the coldest winter that I ever recall, this spring has been especially welcome. During my morning run, I am amazed at the beauty and overwhelmed how quickly things have come to life after the cold of winter. Flowers in bloom, trees bursting with new leaves, and the humming birds hard are work draining my feeder - everything is alive and growing!

There are seasons of growth for humans, as well. I think I am in a genuine season of growth. My love for my work, my passion for being successful and for making a difference may be at an all time high. I want to be a better friend, a more loving husband, a more attentive neighbor, and a more dedicated Grandparent. I am not sure why, but I welcome this "spring" in me with an open heart.

I have enjoyed my quiet time so much lately: praying, meditating on what I read, being still and listening for God's voice and direction. I am also experiencing growing pains, challenging me to think outside my little territory into the vast open places that God would take me. It is exciting and just a bit frightening.

C.S. Lewis once told the story of what happened in his life when he let God take control. He said I first thought it would be so pleasant to have God in the "house of my daily life". But then I noticed that when he moved in he began doing a total renovation, adding on a room here and building a tower there. Before I knew it, he had begun to totally change me - reshaping me from the inside out. His plan was to build a new house of my life and this he proceeded to do.

It's spring - time to witness the creation come to life and to embrace what God will do with our lives. Brace yourself my friend, an adventure lies ahead!

Just thinking, Steve