Leading in the darkness L058

In these days of GPS on mobile phones and Sat Nav in our cars there is rarely an excuse for getting lost. Jenny and I make regular trips to Jersey to work with the fabulous Freedom Church there. Whenever I try and drive through the centre of the main town St Helier, I do however get hopelessly lost. As on this most recent occasion. I had a paper map, but quickly lost track of where we were on it and ended up hopelessly lost in the maze of one-way streets that seemed to keep us going round in ever decreasing circles. I’m sure some town planner made sense of it once, but it certainly made no sense to me. I wish I had tried my GPS on this last occasion; at least I would have been able to see where we were as well as possibly charting a better route out of the labyrinth.

The feelings of frustration and sometimes panic when we are lost is familiar to most of us I am sure. We just need someone to show us where we are and how to get to our destination. As leaders the pressure is even more acute as we know there are others looking to us to provide that sense of direction and give the confidence that allows them to follow.

I remember just how uncomfortable it was when Jenny and I knew we were to move on from Bristol but didn’t yet know where to. It was like being in a dark room and not knowing where the light switch was, or even if there was one. It was not a reassuring place to be. It lasted a year and it seemed like an eternity.

Is there an equivalent of GPS for the Christian leader? I think there is. It is the combination of years of truth that we have imbibed from the Bible, the deep-seated convictions we have developed about life from our experience of God’s leadings and dealings, and the specific promises that we are holding on to. On this occasion I knew I was called to lead church. I knew God was faithful. And I had one specific promise from the book of Habakkuk ‘the vision is still for the appointed time; it hastens towards the goal; it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it. It will certainly come, it will not delay.’ Hab 2:3

This was my GPS during that time. It was a deep-seated instinct, intuition, and conviction about the future. It didn’t give me dates, times, places or details of our destination, but it did give me the direction, and that was sufficient to keep going. Sometimes keeping going is all you can do, and that’s enough.

Then one day God turns the lights back on, and all becomes clear again. God will allow all of us periods of darkness in our leadership. It is a testing time. A time of learning to trust at a new level. A time when we realise that this whole leadership thing is all about Him, not about us. A time when we learn to hold His hand tighter than ever before.

Eventually the lights did come back on for us and the city of Liverpool came clearly into focus. God had prepared us for the next leg of the journey and was willing to trust us. We were on our way. The fantastic team of 10 other adults that moved with us must have had more faith in us than we had in ourselves, as they for some strange reason were also willing to trust us and follow.

The darkness does not invalidate our leadership, it just tests and strengthens it.

This entry was posted by nic on Friday, February 10th, 2012 at 9:00 am and is filed under Leadership. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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