After the Fire
Leadership has been a regular topic of conversation between my father and I since I was about 8 years old. I remember sitting on his knee after a friend in the neighborhood treated me poorly and didn’t keep her word. I was in tears and instead of scooping me up, telling me it was going to be okay, and leaving it at that, my father scooped me up, talked me through how to make things right with her, and helped me learn that I can create boundaries and communicate to others what is acceptable in our relationship and what is not. These were some of my first conversations centered on leadership that I can remember. And they haven’t stopped since.
Anytime I hit a wall in a relationship - professionally or personally, anytime I run into an obstacle I don’t know how to overcome, anytime things get sticky or fragile and I can’t risk being too clumsy in my approach to solving a problem, I ALWAYS call my dad. I have avoided so many “fatal” errors in my life and my different leadership roles because I called my dad before I made a rash decision. I sought council instead of flying by the seat of my pants. I’ve saved myself so many headaches and have learned so many invaluable lessons in leadership… I’ve been a much better leader to people because I called my dad first.
Getting ready to write this article, I had a million leadership “lessons” I could have shared from my father’s wisdom. He’s been in leadership positions professionally for almost 40 years. He’s learned a lot and I’ve gleaned from that field time and time again. Initially, I figured I’d write something about, “How to deal with conflict resolution,” or “Team building,” and how those things factor into work AND home life… or something of that nature.
However, I felt the Lord pull me in a direction I really didn’t want to go, to be quite frank. But I realized that it was something I desperately needed to hear at one point in my life and maybe there are some of you that need to hear this right now. So here goes…
Leadership After Failure.
Have you ever been in a leadership position - in any capacity - and done something so spectacularly stupid that you almost (or did) burned your life to the ground?
“Where do I go from here?”
“God will never allow me to lead again.”
“How could He ever entrust other people to me again?”
“That’s it. Those dreams are gone now.”
“I threw away everything and there’s no getting it back.”
“Will anyone ever trust me again?”
“Should anyone ever trust me again?”
All those thoughts ran through my head on repeat several years ago after I had a metaphorical loose thread on a sweater that I kept tugging at and tugging at until the entire thing unraveled - my entire LIFE unraveled. I had a problem I should have handled differently. I should have sought help other places. I should have seen the signs. I should have reached out to the right people. Instead, I stayed hidden, dealt with it the way I wanted to, and ignored God while trying to do His work. I was trying to lead well in His name at home and at work all the while suffering and inadvertently inflicting more suffering upon myself and those around me.
I hit a wall. My world caught on fire - a fire that I started myself - and I was standing in the ashes of my own indiscretion, selfishness, and inept leadership.
Listen to me. I was getting out of the shower a few days after my spectacular failure and I was reeling in the aftermath of that failure when I heard the Lord say, “Did David lose his anointing after Bathsheba? Did I remove his crown? Did I take him from his throne? Did I choose a new king?”
I stood in that bathroom and cried. I couldn’t believe what the Lord was saying to me! How was he possibly so generous? I sinned against Him and others and, yet, He did not take away my anointing - the thing He purposed me for and set me aside to do. He did not remove my garment of praise and return to me a cloak of mourning. He still had a job for me. His will and purpose was not swayed by my sin. But why was that? How could He still hold me so dear? How did He not see me as despicable? Here’s what I think…
Because my spirit was broken and my heart contrite before Him.
I wasn’t blaming anyone else for my failure at this point. The whole world knew and there was no hiding anymore. I failed. I wasn’t hiding from Him any longer either. He was all I had to hold onto and I was hanging onto the hem of his cloak for dear life believing that just His nearness could make me whole again.
The Lord can do a lot with that, sweet friend.
In the coming months, the Lord did an unbelievable and miraculous work in my life. He brought so much healing to me physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. He brought healing to my family and our future. Hope was set before us and we could see it clearly when our eyes were on Jesus because all of our hope was in Him. Leadership looked different for me for awhile. Things changed because of failure, that was true, but my purpose remained. My anointing retained. My calling the same. The Lord helped show me how to lead well after the fire. And a lot of conversations with my dad helped too.
All of us lead. Maybe at work, at home, or some other sphere. And I’m convinced we all start a fire in our leadership at some point. Maybe it’s a spectacular fire and you burn the whole forest down. Maybe it’s small and easy to stop the spread. Maybe your fire took out the entire west coast. Whatever your failure looks like - a spectacular one or a minor blunder - we all have to figure out leadership after the fire.
So what do you do after the fire? How do you lead well? Here’s a few things I’ve learned…
Leadership is difficult and can be scary. It forces us to grow, challenges us to mature, and leads us to places we sometimes don’t want to go, but, as Jesus lovers, leadership is a beautiful gift. It’s an avenue that grows us into His likeness. So press into it. And when failure comes, because it always does, remember this:
Failure is an event, not a person.
Failure does not define you, degrade you, or defeat you when you are in Christ Jesus.
“For My hand made all these things, thus all these things came into being,” declares the Lord. “But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.” Isaiah 66:2
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” Psalm 51:17
“For thus says the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.”
WRITTEN BY: LYNDSAY TERRY
Read more from Lyndsay @ www.lyndsayterry.com
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