Tonight I opened my e-mail to find an e-newsletter titled “Gain Important Leadership Lessons Now.” Hmmm…now, huh? Interesting.
In many ways I wish it were that easy. Jeff and I chose the road we are on because we sense a sacred call to lead. However, I can assure you the lessons learned along the way have been anything but now. Try more than a decade of one step forward and three steps back.
In fact, a couple of weeks ago I wore a dress to church that I bought two years ago to wear to Jeff’s final ordination service, which was supposed to be last spring. I’ve given up on the plans to wear it to the special occasion of the ordination, since we are still uncertain about a timing and date, and just started wearing it. It makes me a little sad, I suppose, but then I do feel good in that dress, so I guess that special occasion is now.
Last Saturday I planned to take the girls to the library but didn’t feel great so we stayed home and went tonight instead. The girls were disappointed on Saturday but also understanding as they skipped off to play. It was quiet in the East Library today, much quieter than a weekend, and we enjoyed ourselves. Later turned out to be a pretty great now.
Last night I spent the evening organizing my bookshelf on Goodreads. Tonight I couldn’t find any of the books I wanted at the library. I ended up getting three unexpected books. This kind of frustrated me at first. Not to mention a guy stood in the exact spot in the aisle where I wanted to pick up a Eugene Peterson book about spiritual reading. Hoping the tall man with a sleeveless cut off shirt and straw cowboy hat would shift, I circled the shelves a couple times with the girls, who were being as quiet as two excited little ones with new books can be. Finally, I gave up. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be. I’ll catch you another time, Eugene.
No “now” on that one. Instead I have these others. I wonder what their pages hold….
Leadership lessons come in many ways. But rarely now and all today. They can’t all come now. Because what would we do if all of the people and experiences used to shape us showed up at the same time? We’d probably fall down on our face in amazement. Reverence. Excitement. Overwhelm. The way I would expect Kaelyn to if we took her to DisneyWorld today. The way I would expect if Jesus showed up tonight and gave me my wildest dreams and best moments all at once. I might even be a little afraid at the magnitude of the goodness He bestows.
Instead we receive our lessons and our best moments in life a little at a time. Leaving us grateful for the missed Saturday at the library and the soft teal dress that falls just right, even with a growing pregnant belly.
I wish there weren’t pain and frustration and questions and uncertainty involved along the way but there is. There always is. That is why the truest and bravest ones among us are those with decades of unexpected nows and a willingness to be patient with and for their Teacher. Those are the leaders I want to follow. Hopefully that’s the kind of leader He’s molding me to be.