Basket Weaving or Pottery. My advisor looked back at me in astonishment. We were planning my final semester of college and clearly a change was needed. He asked me if I’d ever thought of studying abroad. I lept.
It’s easy to forget how much courage or carelessness the walk of faith takes. There are always good reasons, sound reasons, why you should stay. The real question is how important are you?
On a scale of 1 to 10, how important are you?
Maybe you’re really important. In fact, so much so that your organization can’t run without you. You reason that if you were to take a month off, everything would be in shambles when you returned. You may be right. Or, you may find you were wrong.
Yes, my decision to study in England for six months was made out of desperation, but it was also probably the best decision I ever made. The town where the University was located was surrounded by a Roman wall that was built so that horses and chariots could ride UPON it! Amazing people with funny accents lived there. I discovered Sausage Rolls and the English baste all of their cakes and pies in Vanilla Custard! I even met an AMAZING English girl who has been a soulmate ever since as well as the loving mother of three beautiful kids!
It often pays to take a peek over the wall. If you’re too important to take a month off, you and your organization may just stay right where you are and never experience growth. While some measure of self-importance is vital, it can be a vine that will completely choke any potential for growth and expansion. For you as an individual and your organization.
Similarly, believing you aren’t very important is just as deadly. People who feel they are unimportant miss out. It’s easy to go through life imagining you are unworthy for greatness. There is all kinds of evidence to support your belief system. There is your background, your family, your lack of finances, your social networks, your average job….Did it ever occur to you that you may be more important than you think?
Most of the influential people I know have one thing in common….they see themselves as neither too important or unimportant. Said another way, leaders are careful not to overestimate or underestimate their worth.
Until you have a healthy estimate of your value, you will miss out on tremendous opportunities to thrive and grow.
So which is it for you. Is there a next step you need to take, but you feel like it will sabotage all that you’ve built up and accumulated over the years? Or, are you waiting for someone to come along and give you permission to take the next step?
Here’s the bad news. Nobody is coming. The good news is you can go!
God gave us an awesome poem to remind us of his provision. It’s found in Psalm 124. The just of it is there were many threats to Israel’s well being throughout history- both real and imagined. But the writer of the poem concludes, “God’s strong name is our help, the same God who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 124:8, The Message). How awesome is that? Pure goosebumps.
Regardless of how important you feel you are, God wants you to know that he loves you and he’s got your back! He’s the same one who made heaven and earth. Imagine what he has in store for you as you step out in faith.
It’s been said that a Lion leading a flock of sheep will conquer a Sheep leading a pack of Lions. So what message are you sending your followers? Do they see you as someone who has great confidence in God or someone who is quaking in your shoes?
To recap, maybe a month off to rest and recalibrate isn’t in your immediate future. That’s o.k. However, what would it hurt to start planning a month off next year? Once you have that goal in mind, you can begin to plan the steps necessary to make it happen.
The idea that you were made for more isn’t just a daydream or a figment of your imagination. Part of growing up involves moving out with the ever expanding circles if you are going to be all God has made you to be. So don’t be afraid. Stepping away from the wheel for awhile may feel counter productive, but it’s the only way if you’re going to mature as a leader and a human being. You’re not serving a charlatan, but a God who loves you and wants to take you further than you could ever imagine. However, often the only way to get there is to trust him and embrace an experience that few leaders have the courage to experience.
England was more than just six months of my life. It’s an experience I reflect upon quite often. The ways it changed my course and destiny are mind boggling. So what adventure is calling you away from the shore? You’re not going to get to London by thinking about not going to Los Angeles. Determine your destination. Devise a strategy and set your sail!
“The promise of “arrival” and “rest” is still there for God’s people. God himself is at rest. And at the end of the journey we’ll surely rest with God. So let’s keep at it and eventually arrive at the place of rest, not drop out through some sort of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:9-11, The Message).