The Every Day Leader: Walking With Confidence

IMG_2110Growing up in the middle of  rural Nebraska the view often looked like this.  Regardless of which direction you looked,  there wasn’t much to see but roads that appeared to have no end, with no houses in sight.

As a kid, I longed to live in town and be closer to other kids and stores and swimming pools.   Now as an adult,  I realize just how good I had it growing up in the carefree world of the country.  I love the wide-open spaces and would jump at the chance to back there.  When I return now and see the never-ending roads, I am reminded of the roads we travel in our lives…..and the perspectives we have when we are traveling.

There are times when it seems like the journey we are on is so terribly long and lonely that we are tempted to look for a short cut or maybe to quit altogether.  I think these are the times we forget to reach out to others and ask for help or encouragement along the way.  We somehow think we need to carry our load alone.

When was the last time you asked for help from a friend?

Other times, we simply haven’t prepared well for the journey.

Have we taken the time to care for ourselves?  Are we in shape physically?  Have we eaten well?  When was the last time you slept a good eight hours?  What about our family relationships?  How about spiritually?  Even financially?  Taking care of us, means EVERY area of our lives. It means being our best selves to walk our journey and not having to worry.

Maybe, we simply get discouraged because we have forgotten how to be thankful for all that we have along the way – we even forget to look out the window and see the beautiful view.  I am amazed at how different I am when I take the time to be grateful for all that God has done in my life!

What are you thankful for today?  List them!  Do this everyday.

What is going on in your life right now?  Are you on a journey that is exhausting?  Are you stuck somewhere and not even moving?

Everyday leaders choose to take time each day to reflect, making sure we walk the journey with confidence – knowing we are given a gift to influence the lives of others each day along the  way!

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The Every Day Leader: The Journey

I recently was asked to speak to a group about a nonprofit that I am an Executive Director at. As I looked out at the group of ladies I was about to share my story with, I realized the audience was much different then what I had anticipated.  Most of these women were all older than me, had managed through life’s issues and weathered the storms.  I quickly realized I would need to rethink just what I was going to say that could make a difference.  In a room full of wisdom, life tragedies, joy, heartache, families, and everything that goes with living, I wondered exactly what I could share that they may not have heard or known. What could I say that would impact their lives?

As I talked about watching my grandkids play and dream of their lives when they grow up, we all had the opportunity to jog down memory lane for just a moment and remember those days of dreaming …what will it be like?  As we laughed together I was reminded that even with all the different paths we all take, the human spirit is incredible.  The will to overcome hard times, the celebration of joy, sacrificial living, serving and loving others, is found in each of us.  What kindles the will is having each other.

“Each other” crosses all lines….age, socio economic statues, race,  and religion .  It involves truly caring for another and being willing to walk alongside and do the journey together.

We all have different paths we walk down – each with different experiences to share.   Yes, we each have something to offer. 

May we always be willing to walk the journey with others!

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