“The early church was married to poverty, prisons and persecutions. Today, the church is married to prosperity, personality, and popularity.”Leonard Ravenhill
No matter how hard I tried
no matter how many to-do lists I made
no matter how many new dresses I bought
no matter how many new houses I moved into
or new jobs I took
or new creative projects I launched
nothing would give me freedom.
Nothing would relieve the dark blanket of depression that covered my days. Nothing would quench the deep thirst that I tried to satisfy with alcohol, with shiny new stuff, with other’s attention.
I can already tell this post is going to be hard to write. Some thoughts kind of simmer in the back of my mind and heart for a while and it takes a unique concentration (re: discipline) to bring it out on to the page (or, screen.) And honestly, my flesh fights it. It’s much easier to ignore the seed of an idea and just go on with the busyness of life but I want to be faithful with what I have been given in this moment and right now it is this. Focusing, praying, waiting, listening, typing out words, wrestling with ideas and sentences and paragraphs, and letting it all go back to the Giver of all good gifts.
Sometimes we think of compassion as passive, as if it’s only an emotional feeling or intention. If you are anything like me, the word compassion might not be one that you initially relate to, as it is typically used to describe someone openly empathetic or emotionally sensitive and expressive. My heart does not live on my sleeve and I prefer that it that way. (Although for some folks this definitely works in their favor…)
But what if we challenge that simplistic, two dimensional idea? What if we instead put legs to compassion?
**This series on leadership is inspired by Gallup’s StrengthsFinder test and materials. I highly recommend everyone to take it– it is the most accurate and encouraging test of its kind that I’ve come across. Just so you know, I don’t make any commission off that link; I’ve just found it to be a valuable resource and want to share it with everyone!**
When thinking about our particular places of leadership or influence, sometimes it’s helpful to remember that we are essentially building TRUST with those we lead: our co-workers, our fellow laborers in non-profit/ministry, our families. Research has found that trust is the single most important element that people express when asked about (positively) influential leaders in their lives. The Gallup national poll statistic is this:
“the chances of employees being engaged at work when they do not trust the company’s leaders are just 1 in 12. In stark contrast, the chances of employees being engaged at work are better than 1 in 2 if they trust the organization’s leadership– a more than sixfold increase.” (Strengths Based Leadership, Barry Conchie & Tom Rath, Gallup Press 2008.)
So we must ask the simple question, “What are we promising them?”