We church folk talk about change a lot. Weekly, we ask people to digest a message (or for my youth group kids 2 or 3) and apply it to their lives. To change the things that need to be fixed and to emerge a better person.
But I've noticed lately how very few people I interact with allow for people to change. We pigeonhole people, expecting the same things out of them even when they have stated a supernatural occurrence has taken place. Of course, this isn't everyone or even most people, but it's something I hear a lot, sometimes even from myself.
I'm taking a leadership class at the Air Force Academy. It's me and like A dozen high ranking military officials. It's still intimidating more than half way through the semester, but I am being challenged like crazy. In the past few weeks we've talked about a concept called "already always listening" which basically states that we think we know what people are going to say before they Say it, so we don't really listen to them. I think we do this with behaviors, too. We think we know how someone "is" so we ignore the work they are putting in.
The counter to this concept is called "standing on nothing." Basically, the pursuit of the idea to not come at a leadership opportunity with a pre-existing idea of what is going to happen, or even what it means to lead or be led. Instead, consider that all things are possible, including the first idea you have, but not at the exclusion of other possibilities.
This is really messing with my head and my leading already. I have been challenged in my own application that as a follower of Christ I should always be practicing these things order to best allow myself to be an empathetic, caring, sold out leader. I don't just want to run people through programs, I want to make a lasting impact on their lives.
As I look back one this weird thing called a blog, which is really a diary for strangers and friends to see, I laugh at how knee jerk some of my posts were. E funniest being when I wrote about my frustrations after a few badly attended weeks at youth group. The last year and months has brought a richness to what I'm doing, and in equal measures I feel ready to tackle it forever and to give a new ch.allege a try. But I know for sure that the last months of giving my character and internal motivations a good vetting, I am a better leader, pastor, Christian man, and probably most importantly right now, father and husband.
I love my family and my youth group kids more today than ever, and I love that God continues to refine me to make me better, and offers hints of greater things even yet to come.
If I wasn't allowed to change as the Holy Spirit breaks me down and those around me just assumed they knew what they were getting, I have no idea where I would be, the ministry I'm involved would be, or my family would be. Thanks to all who exhibit the grace to me to allow me to change. And may I learn to really do the same for you.