Sunday, January 3, 2016

A Way Forward

One of my favourite biblical leadership stories is found in the thirteenth chapter of the book of Numbers (read it here).

Here is a brief summary:

  • The Israelites (God's people) were headed to their new home...the promised land
  • All this generation had known was slavery to the Egyptians
  • This promise of a new home was a chance to start again, to create a new present/future
  • The land they were invited to live in by God was full of other tribal groups, meaning they would have to fight for their present/future
  • 12 men were chosen to go explore the land and report back to the entire community
  • 10 men reported that it would be impossible to find a way forward
  • only 2 men had the courage to inspire the community to consider the possibility despite the perceived challenges that lie ahead
  • The nation of Israel chose to remain in the space there were familiar with (living on the run)
  • The future promise of this new home didn't come to fruition until an entirely new generation rose up to take hold of what they new to be true.

Leadership is full of all kinds of different challenges! There are two major responses to tension that leaders face.
  1. Compromise
  2. A Way Forward
The way any leader chooses to approach the challenges they face will not only define their present, but their future impact as well. Here are some deeper thoughts I'm learning about these two major leadership strategies.

Compromise is a Killer

Compromise promises something that it cannot deliver...consensus and buy-in. What might seem like a good idea at the time ends up being a passive tactic or attempt to delay the inevitable.

Compromise leaves people unsettled. There is no promise that when another challenge or hurdle emerges it won't create an even more chaotic response or leadership position. Compromise is nothing more than a short-term, static, cumbersome response to the issue at hand.

A Way Forward

These are some of the most powerful words someone can speak to themselves and to others in the middle of a leadership tensions, personal crises or other ill-fitting space that someone may find themselves in.

The way forward may not always be the most obvious or popular response to the situation at hand...but it is the way forward that provides the vision and lens through which hope can give birth to a new present and future reality.

The way forward is a long-term, dynamic solution that is meant to create stability and hope while making the future more attainable than what you originally might perceive. 

So What Now

The next time you find yourself facing tension in your world, consider what your response might be. Are you seeking to compromise, or are you open to a way forward through the obstacle you are facing? The solution may not seem obvious at first. Drill down. Find the root. Think of what could be so that what will be is the place where you truly desire to end up living in.

If you aren't willing to find a way forward, someone else will...and that might mean that you miss out on the preferred future you once desired. Think about it. Find the courage to lead and live differently. Live the story that is unfolding before you.

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A Little Something from Psalm 8

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