If you’re like me, you often ask God for help. I don’t like asking others for help, but I’m ok to ask God.
I ask God to send me more patients to serve, and then I ask Him for help not feeling overworked serving them. I ask God for provision, and then ask Him for guidance on more purchases. It’s as if I’m schizophrenic in my prayer life. I have no idea how God follows my whims. Good thing He loves me!
In Psalm 54 today, I learned some really cool things about God.
- God will vindicate me. He will show me to be right, reasonable, or justified. This is especially helpful to know when I’m facing situations where people are acting unjustly.
- “Surely God is my help.” (v 4a) He’s not possibly my help, or probably my help, but SURELY my help.
- God is the one who sustains me. (v 4b) It’s not money , success, fame or fortune that sustains me. It’s not recognition or awards or accolades or accomplishments or entertainment. Only God sustains me. When you feel overworked or pressed or squeezed, remember, it’s not the power nap, or the break in your schedule that will sustain you. Go to God, ask for help, and continue on with your mission. People depend on you.
- God provides the win. In due season, the win is ours. That’s His promise to us. But we have to stay the course.
I think reminders of how powerful and loving and faithful God is are extremely important. So here’s the reminder directly from Psalm 54: “Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.” (v4)
According to my 8 year old, Noah, “God writes short verses sometimes, but they’re so powerful.”
I agree, Noah. Hopefully, you found encouragement to keep going today knowing our help comes from God!
I was recently on a three week research sabbatical and, man, was I ever surprised at how it went. More on this later. In my time and space that I’ve never had the privilege of experiencing before, I was able to make some observations. One of the loudest observations I made is how many social games people play. There”s the typical ‘keeping up with the Jones” stuff and then there’s the ‘I’m going to take people down who have more than I have’ stuff.
Let’s face it: life is busy. I don’t just mean that there’s a lot to do. I mean if you don’t duck fast enough, your over committed life will smack you. In our personal lives, my wife and I have found ourselves asking this question a ton. It’s obviously a lesson we are in the process of learning.
There’s this weird dichotomy in our culture. Some leaders say things like, “Everyone in your organization is replaceable; even upgradable.” or “Don’t think for a second that person can’t be replaced in an instant with someone better who actually wants to do the work.” Others behave as if they should hand over the keys to the kingdom to their employees because they’re afraid of losing key players. So which is it? Are people replaceable or do we need to avoid turnover at all costs?
I recently invited some friends of mine to a movie. We were so excited to have some much needed guy time, as we all have at least 3 kids. Don’t get me wrong, my wife is the superhero parent in our home, but I have to play the martyr once in a while. (Enter smiley face emoticon)
I always thought leaders were the people who started the company or led the fight against the opposition. I thought leaders had to have thousands of followers; people looking to the one person in charge waiting with baited breath to find out what the leader wanted them to do. I thought leaders had to approve every decision, know how to do everything, and have an answer immediately available for any scenario. And to fall short of this expectation, a person would be anything but a leader. I might even secretly call them incapable or a failure.
With this mindset, I have run myself ragged over the past several years trying to have all the answers. And I never did this from a position of pride; I never thought I had to be a know-it-all. I just thought that since my practice is, well…mine, I had to know everything. The truth is (spoiler alert…), I don’t know everything, nor do I need to.
I spoke with Daniel Tardy from Dave Ramsey’s organization last week. He’s somebody I have tremendous respect for. I was telling him how exhausted I get with all the questions I get all the time, and he said something profound. He told me, “Just because you’re the leader doesn’t mean you have to have all the answers. That would be a huge mistake. I used to think that. It just means you have to be willing to go first.”
I have slept through the night every night since that conversation. I’m happy to go first. I’m thrilled that the expectation on me is not necessarily to always know what to do, but to be willing to take the first step. That’s something I can do, and it’s a lot easier than having every detail worked out in my head for every scenario I might someday be asked about.
Where in your life are you willing to go first?
The best leaders don’t treat all followers the same, nor do they treat any single follower in the same manner all of the time. They analyze the situation, identify what the follower needs to function and grow in that particular situation, and then proceed accordingly.
I used to think the way I felt meant something. It doesn’t. I’ve just decided that my ‘gut feelings’ get me paranoid, in trouble, screwed over, or all three. So I’m learning to make my decisions based on facts, not feelings.
For instance, I could see a patient demographic print off in our printer in my clinic for a specific doctor. There are two logical explanations for this. Option 1: my associate is trying to rip me off by stealing patient demographic information. With this information, he can quit his job in my office, go down the street, open another office using the ideas and training he received in my office, and then reach out to all those patients and entice them to come to his new office down the street. Option 2: my associate wanted to see how many new patients came in to see him over the past month, and our practice management software prints the patient’s demographic information as part of this report. To be honest, my natural tendency is to default to the former. Yours is too. I’ll prove it to you. Have your parents ever called you on a night you decided to go to bed earlier than normal? Their phone call woke you up, so that must mean one of them has been in an accident, passed out, or died, right? I’ve been wrong about that 100% of the time I thought or feared that. Chances are, they’re calling to tell me they got home from vacation safely.
Through trained behavior, we can learn to respond in a healthier, more appropriate way. Navy Seals do this all the time. I recently read in the book Damn Few where Seal Rorke Denver’s colleague remained calm and continued to shoot at the enemy after a slight distraction: he was shot in the eye! Talk about trained behavior! I’ve never been shot in the eye, but if by some chance I happened to be shooting a gun at an enemy and I did get shot in the eye, I would probably just freak out.
So next time you don’t feel inspired, do your work anyway. Connect people. Serve people. Success loves action. So take action and, chances are, the feelings of inspiration will follow.
Boy, wouldn’t that be awesome if there was a single blog post or essay that could tell you exactly how to lead with influence. I’d want to read that guy’s blog every time he posted something. But I don’t know how to answer the questions, so I’m going to give you some thoughts to ponder.
The Men of Northridge
Positional influence is unfair and doesn’t work well. Sure, people will appease their boss to his or her face, but we all know what happens behind their back. There is this covert hostility in the workplace with positional leaders. But there are leaders who lead with influence. Some people have titles, some don’t. Some do this on purpose, others are totally unaware they are doing it.
My cousin can make a white Lacoste polo look sharp. He’s in great shape, and when he wears a basic shirt like that and he looks good in it, he makes me want to work out more, eat better, lose weight, and go buy a white Lacoste polo. He wasn’t trying to do that. In fact, he probably doesn’t even know he had that effect on me unless he’s reading this post right now. So this is unintentional influential leadership.
There are others, like my dear friend and worship pastor at our church who lead hundreds and hundreds of creative arts volunteers. His leadership is so inspiring and engaging, hundreds (possibly thousands) of people each year take time off work and away from family, put in tons of hours, drive long distances, and wear themselves out physically, mentally, and emotionally just to be a part of an awesome team and perform in our annual production, The Glory of Christmas
. And every person that volunteers leaves better than he or she started. Granted, he has positional leadership, but he doesn’t use it. He is such a great guy, that he continually earns
the right to lead people.
Earning that right on an ongoing basis (versus riding on the coat tails of your past success or acquired position) is the only thing that will make people follow you by choice. The results of this are profound.