As a leader, I have before me each day two competing pathways – the street of self-advancement and the road of relinquishment.
The first pathway beckons me to personal ascension, accomplishment, acknowledgement and acquisition. These things all attractively play to my innate self-interest.
And yet all of these things are at odds with the way of Jesus, who’s life and leadership were marked by relinquishment.
As I reflect on these contrasting paths, one thing is for sure. I don’t need any help to embrace selfish, personal leadership needs. They are embedded within my brokenness and present whenever ego takes hold, sadly to the detriment of others around me.
The older I get, the more I see my absolute daily need for the Holy Spirit to be at work in my life and leadership. To embrace a different way, marked by descent, humility, generosity, sacrifice, interdependence and a centredness on others, I need to co-operate with the Spirit’s counter-cultural, cultivating work.
Each day there are new things for me to learn and engrained, self-centred things to let go as I seek to follow the way of my relinquishing King, who gave his all, until his last breath, for broken humanity.
As I look at my “WIP” task list each day, I am reminded of who I am – a work in progress. I am thankful that God has not finished with me yet. I am so thankful for a gracious God, who faithfully keeps chipping away my rough edges, and for life-giving colleagues who teach me, encourage me, challenge me and allow me to lead.
Before me again today are those two pathways; the street of self-advancement or the road of Christ-like relinquishment. The first seductively beckons, while the latter seems hard to walk along at times as I grapple with my own selfish needs in a world dominated by messages of consumerism and self focus. But as I dare take another step down relinquishment road I see that as I dare give up selfish things, there is so much to gain.
I discover greater emotional awareness, the beauty of difference, the fruit of transparency, the strength of resilience, the gift of collegiality, the adventure of faith, the richness of service, the way of sacrifice and the power of forgiveness.
And I discover again and again, the way of relinquishment opens the door to my true identity, my life purpose, the thrill of leadership, genuine joy and lasting hope!