My friend Marilyn wrote a short p.s. in a comment on my last post: Flying Straight. I had struggled to give words to something that is more easily felt than expressed and which I called lamely, "leading while close," for the lack of a better way to put it.
Marilyn's comment said, "p.s. I look forward to your expanded thoughts on leading while close."
Of course that nudged me to think harder--knowing that someone was "looking forward " to "expanded thoughts." I don't even know if I will do any better in this attempt, but I'm hoping that you will bear with me as I try to explain. In my journal I used the words "leading with," rather than "leading while close," but neither really says what I meant. What I was really straining for were words that were the opposite of my natural tendency to lead, "from a polite distance."
I have held boundaries that I thought were necessary in order to do my part effectively and I don't think that is all wrong--in fact it is necessary, but I think I need flexible boundaries and sometimes they need to expand.
As I pondered this I thought of the prayer of Jabez, which we heard so much about a few years ago.
9 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” 10 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request. (1 Chronicles 4:9-10, New International Version, ©2011)I'm not sure how it applies (you will notice that I'm not sure of much these days, but God,) but the expanding boundaries are in that prayer.
A leader needs to know when to draw close; to get involved; to be with, one of their team that is struggling, whatever the reason.
It seems obvious but it hasn't been.
Why not? Natural reticence; not wanting to intrude on another's territory; not wanting to cultivate dependency; self protectiveness; not perceiving the depth of need, and lack of self confidence come immediately to mind. I realize that what needs to change is that I plunge in when necessary to come alongside someone in a more practical than cerebral way--to lead by doing and helping.
To some others this would be more natural and obvious and their struggle would be a different one but for me this has been an area of weakness. I am asking God to change me.
I have always been involved heart to heart and seat to seat within my office--but my hands and feet need to be engaged with my heart and mind--where they are needed.
Seeing this in words, I am afraid it will seem rudimentary to some, but it isn't to me. I go forward knowing that God has to work this into me and be my protection instead of me being my own protection.
Thanks for tuning in and listening. :)