Friday, May 21, 2010

Follow Me

Fridays with Susan...

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me -- put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you."  Philippians 4:9

Those are Paul's words in a letter written to the Philippian Christians from a jail cell.  Jane was leading us in the Bible study at our cell group. It was right at the end of the study, when she got to this passage and it hit me hard.

Could I write these words to someone just like Paul did?  Could I tell someone to follow me, to do everything that I did?  If they emulated me, would the peace of God be with them?

The thought terrified me as I thought about what the consequences might be if even one person decided they were going to follow me.  We tend to think that what we do affects only us, at least I do, but it doesn't!  I was amazed recently when I made some lifestyle changes, what an impact that had on my children and even some of my friends.  They were all watching me, unbeknownst to me, and some of them were actually inspired - by my example alone - no preaching on my part - to make some similar changes themselves.  I was really surprised by that.  I thought my actions affected only me and it really surprised me when there was a significant ripple effect.

So if my positive actions are affecting others, wouldn't some of my negative actions also be?  I'm not referring so much to interactions with others here, but some of the choices I make in how I live my life.  What about the way I talk to to my husband?  Or what I do when the store clerk gives me too much change?  Or how I handle disappointment?  Or how I use my time - how much of it I give to the Internet and other vain pursuits? The things I eat?

What about you?  Could you pen those words to another, could you challenge them to follow you, with any sense of certainty that you weren't steering them way down a wrong path?

Well, I think it's about time I got myself positioned to do just that... to be able to say to others, "Go ahead - follow me!"

Hmmm.  It's not about "me" after all.  It's really not.  Whether I like it or not, or whether I recognize it or not, I am a leader.  And so are you!

3 comments:

Marilyn said...

Susan,

I know what you mean, about the challenge to live a life above reproach so that you COULD pen those words, but your words made me think of something a little different.

It's been suggested by a few people locally that I'm very controlling of my privacy, especially about where I'm going and what I'm doing. I don't think I'm secretive about what I do and where I go, just not as "out there" with the details of my involvements as some. (In other words, I don't announce it on Facebook or blog about it.) Here's why: Many people DO follow my lead, but what I may be led to do may not be the right thing for another person. I've seen people follow me in joining ministry efforts or in style of handling situations and it doesn't work.

Too often I find myself asking, "How is the Lord leading YOU these days?" to people who have no interest in cultivating their own relationship with Christ. They'd rather watch and follow me. As a leader, it makes me feel like a failure.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Oh what a heady post this is - leadership, though, is different from asking people to follow. I would never ask people to follow me, emulate me, because it wouldn't work. That's why God has individual, personal relationships with each of us - we aren't cookie cutter versions of each other (I used more dough). Ooops, I'm ramblilng ...

Belinda said...

I love the thoughts you share here Susan. I love the ripple of a stone in a pond and I think God made it just to give us the perfect analogy for life and the way we influence others--for good or ill. I believe that even in the hidden choices we make that no one else knows about, we are shaping a trustworthiness before God and those around us.