The Every Day Leader: Cowosophy

What would a farm be without cows?!   Bunches of them.  The dairy farm I grew up on was no different.  Turns out, cows need tending to daily.  If it rained the cows were muddy.  If they were out in the pasture they had to be herded in for milking.  Regardless, they needed to be cared for.

We were all expected to help.  If there was a blizzard, if it was pouring rain, or 100 plus degrees with a million flies around – the cows still had to be milked twice a day.  It didn’t matter if you wanted to go on vacation,  if there was a wedding, or a big event at school – the cows couldn’t wait.

Cows are like that.

I look back to the days of milking cows.  At the time, I didn’t like it.  Now, I am grateful for that life experience I had as a kid.  I am grateful for the lessons I learned about work ethic and responsibility.  And I am thankful for the lessons about caring for living animals, knowing they were dependent on you.

Life is like that.  The things we think are horrific at the time, don’t seem so terrible when we look back on them.  What we don’t see at the time is how those times are shaping and molding us into the people we are today.  It is during those hard times that our character is being developed.  These things help define who we are deep down.

It is almost as if I can hear my dad saying…”See, it wasn’t so bad!”

He would be right of course.  It wasn’t so bad.  I learned discipline.  I learned responsibility.  I learned the importance of doing what you said you were going to do.  I learned that if I didn’t – things and others suffered.  I learned to work as a team.  I even learned how to laugh together in the midst of the work. Flies and all.

These are life lessons I now cherish.  Memories I often wish I could have given my own children.  These are things I am thankful for.

We all have past experiences.  Have you forgotten?  Are you able to live in such a way to reflect what you have learned?  Those life lessons are a gift, a gift to be thankful for.  

Everyday leaders see and are thankful for life experiences.  Those experiences that were good and those that were difficult.  Everyday leaders intentionally live in such a way that their lives reflect  the gift of the lessons learned.

 

 

 

The Every Day Leader: Living Life Intentionally

The innocent acts of children can teach us so many valuable lessons. I sat on the bed the other day and watched my beautiful little one and half-year old granddaughter struggle to dress herself. She insisted she could “do it herself”, no help was needed nor would she take any. I leaned back and smiled and watched her as she was so intent on accomplishing her task.

Are we any different then this precious little child as adults? Do we not still not insist on doing things ourselves and being so very independent? How often have these same thoughts run through our minds that “we don’t need anyone else?” How many times have we followed this line of thinking to the point of even shutting others out of our lives, even at the very times we need them the most? We deliberately choose to walk the long road of our journey alone instead of allowing others to come beside us and help carry the load. As I watched my granddaughter I wondered if this is really what God had in mind when He made us?

The Bible is full of references to: fellowshipping with one another, the importance of breaking bread together, the power when two or more are gathered in His name to pray, and the relief one gets to know that there is in fact someone coming along side them to help carry the burden.

Even as Christians we justify our actions of independence and act as if these very same scriptures do not apply to us.  We even take it a step further and become the king and queen of pat answers as we say we are “fine” or “all good” when asked how we are by a passerby or someone who cares and we quickly walk on or change the subject making sure that the “road closed” sign stays in place and we walk alone.

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The problem with a “road closed” sign is that life is messy and the road is often bumpy with more twists and turns then we ever wanted.  We know we desperately want someone to share the road with us but we have guarded ourselves so much that not only do we not know how to reach out; our pride often prevents the “road closed” sign from coming down.

On the flip side of this scene is the people who are so busy that they have developed tunnel vision to the hurting that are around them. They breeze through their agendas, their schedules, their to-do lists, and their day and never look up to see that there are others in this world who desperately need. They need them to be engaged, to offer a hand that helps, a listening ear, a smile, a hug, a phone call, or even a letter or card letting them know they are seen and are cared about.

It was not that long ago that we lived so very differently. Our front porches were our living rooms filled with neighbors who we knew by name. We sipped our sweet teas and lemonades and we caught up on each others day. We knew the intimate heartache of each other and we never shied away from offering a shoulder to cry on, a soothing word, a hand that helped, and we never expected anything in return.

Today we live in our perfect houses and our porches are super clean from lack of use. We drive in and out of our garages shutting the door and keeping the world at bay. We live our lives, oblivious to those around us, never even knowing who are neighbor is, their name or even who is in their family.

Being independent is not always a bad thing but when it shutouts the world, a world who desperately needs us and one that we desperately need, then it may be time we reevaluate our position and what independence really is.

Life was intended to be lived intentionally with others.To be walked side-by-side and shared with those around us, with those who care, and with those we encounter.

May we strive to live out Galatians 6:2 with all those we meet. May strive to be intentional on not shutting out those who care and love us the most.

Galatians 6:2 “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ