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“Bloom where you are planted” – heard that one since forever ago. I’ve bought into this statement by way of stationary, journals and pretty wall pieces because it sounds so lovely. At 38 years old, I have found a problem with this. No one ever told me that it’s best to seek fertile soil first.

Few have been raised to investigate the grounds we allow to encompass our roots; even less have been taught to sample the waters that flow nearby or simply view ourselves worthy of moving about to find the rich soil.

When it comes to choosing friends, seeking a life-partner, starting up a new business, or deciding on the best schools for our children, however, we strongly encourage each other to seek quality. We read labels and check ingredients in the foods we buy because we care about the quality of what we put in our bodies.

Even our Creator, the greatest of all loving and nurturing shepherds, says to “taste and see that I am good”. We are encouraged to experience his heart before we give him ours.

In doing this, God invites us to build trust in Him. This is his first lesson of leadership. When he says follow me, we do as He does, we lead as he leads. And the first thing He does, as a leader, is establish trust.

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My pastor talked about courage in leadership this past week and how in order to become a great leader, first you must be a good follower.

A good follower tastes, tests, experiences and practices what they learn. A good follower asks questions and searches the heart. A good follower is alert to contradictions; active amidst injustice, and holds themselves responsible for the integrity of the whole. A good follower knows his leaders voice.

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As one  wounded out of unhealthy church community, It breaks my heart to no longer view Gods house as a place of safety and refuge; of sanctuary and love. It saddens me to feel so much disillusionment towards the place I once believed to be a vessel of abundant hope.

Turns out there are many of us. We find simplicity and contentment outside the walls, foregoing the exclusivity and corrupt culture that continues to dismember itself. He’s all we need.

Some days I wish I could ignore the zeal I have for His house. If only my heart didn’t beat for the restoration of His Church. Why must I love unity so much?

I guess I am my Fathers daughter.

I cry out, “Lord, how can you tolerate this in your house? Do something!”

And He replies as He did in Isaiah 6:8, “Whom shall I send?”

My heart quickly responds, “Here I am. Send me.”

Responsibility; a good follower is responsible for the health of the whole.

Yes, community is messy, but messy and sloppy are separated by one word: carelessness. A healthy community is in no way a perfect community. Healthy is simply balanced, thriving, full of love and unmistakably flourishing.

Healthy means truth is upheld and communication flows heartily; where hope abounds and peace resides; and healthy means that while conflict inevitably rises, unity is the goal for all who are members of the body.

A healthy community is reliant upon responsible members.

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While serving in leadership at a beauty institute, I discovered what it looks like to flourish under the influence of a humble and loving visionary. This generous man empowered my leadership, investing in my personal growth and development. His students were inspired by inspiring and influential teachers. He taught me that growth comes from the inside and extends outward and I followed his lead.

The soil here was rich and hearty; good for growing all kinds of wonderful people.

I am humbled to have tasted of good, healthy leadership. I am relieved to have experienced community that believed in interdependence, an honoring of our differences for the whole body to prosper. There was no need to preach about I Corinthians 12, I lived it every day.

After stepping away for a few years, I began to follow my heart back into leadership. The search for integrity to align with was excruciating. Thankfully, the time I had spent feasting on integrity and wisdom grew capabilities that protected me. I was able to sniff out intimidation and oppression; recognize arrogant and manipulative authority; steering clear of chauvinism and patronizing leadership.

We are placed within families to be tended to as children; when we mature, we become responsible for seeking out healthy associations, partnerships and mates. When we walk in spiritual maturity, it matters where we plant ourselves and it matters that we become responsible followers.

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When she is responsible, she cares about the integrity of her culture, especially the one that shapes her faith. When she is responsible, she cares about the quality of spiritual soil that nurtures her children as well as yours. When she is responsible, she cares about her own spiritual growth and development; it matters to her to be aligned with a community that is healthy, loving and thriving so she can safely bloom into all God has for her.

We are not weak-willed women, easily swayed or cunningly manipulated into silence and passivity. We are women who plant our roots in fertile soil in responsibility for ourselves, for this family of believers and for all our sons and daughters.

As we pray for unity in His house, we become responsible for laboring for it. As we pray for the flames in our childrens hearts to remain ablaze, we become responsible for fostering a culture that stokes. When division threatens our house, we become responsible to band together in unity.

Wisdom and discernment are sharpened when practiced. Let the zeal for His house consume us all towards greater responsibility, wider ranges of influence and more loving leadership.

It’s time for good followers to #LEAD

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2 thoughts on “When leading well is first following well

  1. ‘when we mature, we become responsible for seeking out healthy associations, partnerships and mates. When we walk in spiritual maturity, it matters where we plant ourselves and it matters that we become responsible followers.’ Excellent. I love that you are trying to find a way to be a healthy part of His body, and like you we are having a tough time figuring out what that means. Wonderful and responsible writing, Melinda, thanks for posting to Sheloves.

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