There is a belief that I hold for all of humanity. We all have a purpose and a calling. We are here for a reason. To put this in the context of farming- each of us is called to plant or water. We may do one or the other depending on the season of our lives- perhaps even both. The Bible tells us that God provides the increase (1 Corinthians 4:6). Planting is serious work. When planting in fields, the ground has to be prepared. The ground is often hard and in need of some serious digging to get to a point where a seed can be successfully planted.
This story is the story of a once frustrated builder (me) and the path back to purpose. For me, I have known for some time that I am one who plants, influences and builds. It is the role of leadership that leads more with influence and less with an authoritative stance. It is hard work. Since I have been a leader, I have been adamant about leading this way because I want people to grow, mature, and make great decisions. If I just tell folks what do, what are we really accomplishing, where are we going and who is growing? Nothing. Nowhere. Nobody. Generally speaking, I am honored to do so, because, honestly- who am I not to be honored to speak life into others? Ha! Apparently, I was as I discovered quickly.
Planters have to break down barriers, correct any deficiencies, and then release the seed at the right time so that it stays put on good ground. I cannot tell you how many times folks have come back to me with the same information from somewhere else almost verbatim like it was a new revelation to them. Or my personal favorite- repeat what you have said to them, credit someone else and remember that you told them and have the nerve to say, but it really resonated when they said it. What? What? It’s kinda funny to see the light bulb go off while your head is slightly tilted watching them remember you had been telling them something for days. Or months. Or years. But who’s counting, right?
For a time, it did not bother me because again, who am I?! Additionally, I am aware of the fact that ten people can tell one person the same story and they will remember or relate to three or four. However, and all of a sudden, I had become seriously frustrated with the role of planter. This may seem like a grass is greener on the other side mentality, but I feel like watering is easier than planting. They sprinkle their little water and poof! Everyone can see the revelation, rainbows, unicorns, and butterflies abound. Yes, I know that is an over exaggeration, but this is my blog. I do what I want. 😊 I became angry, frustrated and was on the verge of quitting. What happened? I was not focused and I felt unappreciated and disrespected. I was outside of myself because I knew this was not the right way to be feeling. I was embarrassed, mad at myself, and not feeling like my logical self. After a period of repeated incidents in short time span, I realized that the triggering was a signal to illuminate my own heart and to call me higher.
Resolution. Here are the keys for the journey:
- Acknowledge the feelings to God and self- straight with no chaser. Release the pain. For me, I journal, cry, worship, and walk it out literally. Leaders often bury their feelings. Some bury out of pain. Some bury out of shame. Yet others bury out of not having a safe place, which brings me to the next point.
- Acknowledge the issue to your inner circle or accountability partner (s). These are the folks that you should be able to confide in, tell them “ouch,” and receive the truth in love. If you do not have these people….Find them. Quickly. Life is much “gooder” with them.
- Get yourself together. Understand your role. Make peace with your role. Be yourself. Promotion and placement comes from God. Be honored to help others. God rewards in all kinds of ways. I knew this and I am sure you do too, but I guess I needed to pout about it for a moment. A mentor of mine once took a phone call while I was visiting with her. She looked at the call and said she would only be a minute. After a very short time, she was back. I mentioned the brevity of the call. She said that the person only called when they needed or wanted something. She was happy to help them. Why? Because she understood her role in their lives and had peace about it. Her encouragement came from God, herself and her circle. Note: Takers and Leeches are a different story for another day.
- Manage your expectations. Why do you need acknowledgement from them? Are you building credit with God or man? A part of my adjustment/correction was to understand that influence is greater than popularity. Influential people empower others to walk in their influence and know where their encouragement should come from, albeit first from the Lord. Knowing the difference can prevent a lot of pain and keep the proper perspective.
Encouragement: To the builders and planters out there- in leadership or not, be encouraged. Continue to speak the truth in love. Do your part and let God do the rest. The world has need of you and the harvest is plenty. The ones called to water will not be able to complete their job if we do not do ours. Neither job is easy. Focus on your next and always do your best. You are a perfect work in progress of being built as well. Accept your humanity and embrace it. See the return of your words and teachings (no matter the credit, Ha!) as mission complete to begin the journey to build again.