STAND UP STRAIGHT!
When I was young, I was tall for my age. But I always slumped my shoulders (more on this later). So adults were always saying “stand up straight; throw your shoulders back.” Aside from the fact that it was painful to do (Reason one), I had a greater concern.
No one tall has ever told me to stand up straight. That made me suspicious. It’s always been short-people-who-WANT-to-be-tall who told me to straighten up.
Like my company commander in boot camp. He was 4′ 1” and always bounced on his toes trying to be 4’4″, yelling at the top of his lungs for us to stand up straight when we stood at attention (here we go again). Then he’d come to you, nose to belly-button and looking straight up at me ask, “Are you looking DOWN ON ME maggot?.” Believe me, it’s nothing but pure hell to tell the truth in that situation.
But worse yet, standing straight causes you to be attentive. When you’re more attentive and you’re tall, you increase your “command presence.” This is very dangerous because . . . When you increase your command presence, you’re usually asked to LEAD something. Once you’re asked to lead something you have only two choices:
Make believe you can lead. We all know what that looks like (except for those trying to make believe they can lead). When you make believe you can lead, people catch on to you really quickly. And you either get promoted or you are disliked. In either place you’re always waiting for the shoe to drop. Knowing that you’ll soon be out of a job.
Make believe you can’t lead. When you make believe you can’t lead, you’re always hoping that the shoe will drop and you’ll escape from that job. In either situation, you’re not likely to have gained anything by standing up straight for the short people.
DANGERS OF GOING VIRAL
Inevitably, you will be encouraged by tall friends to write a blog post of your experiences as a tall leader that will go viral. If you write a blog post that goes viral you will be asked to speak places. Once you’re asked to speak places, you’ll have to write a book. Your book will open doors for you to speak more places and then you’ll be expected to be an “expert” on the topic. Unfortunately, the only thing you’re an expert on is resisting the temptation to stand up straight only you’ve already failed at that by now. Plus nobody likes a tall expert. Now that nobody likes you . . .
You’ll be asked to join a panel on FOX business news and your new writing, speaking, and interviewing schedule will have you totally stressed out. So Dr. Phil hears about you and invites you to tell the world the answer to the question “How’s that working for you?”
You go around now telling tall kids not to stand up straight and their parents are ripping mad. So they contact Bill O’Reilly. He sends Jesse Waters out to interview you. Wait till you get on O’Reilly’s show and see how tall he is. He won’t be happy with the example you’re living for America’s youth and you’ll be persona-non-grata at Fox. Now you’ll be embraced by the left. If you’re left, that’s good. If you’re right, then you’ll be wrong.
BACK WHERE YOU STARTED
Oh, another reason not to lead is that you delegate. And when you delegate it’s easy to avoid. And when you avoid, you’re considered conceited. Then you lose more friends. You become distracted from your focus as a leader. Then you start to digress in thought and conversations. People notice your digression and you’re no longer invited to speak anywhere. So you slump over in discouragement. Now you’re right back where you started with your short mother telling you “stand up straight.”
Unfortunately, you’ve long ago resigned from your day job to pursue your career of being a viral blogger, speaker, and expert. And who knows where that will end up.
You get my point . . .
© 2015 by David C Alves
iStock photo used by permission
What a great day! What a beautiful morning. I slept until 9:15. Got up. Showered and shaved. Groomed my beard and hair. And dressed. Then went into the Cave and began a Custom Scan of my Cave computer. After that, I carried the laundry down for Marcy, greeted the ladies in my household, and went to my office downstairs. I made some coffee (haven’t had any yet, turned on the computer, scanned through my emails and answered a couple, then set up for my morning of writing to follow my first cup of coffee and prayer. So far . . . A wonderful, and joyful start to the day.
I love spending quiet, alone time with my Father. That comes with my first cup of coffee. I have a little sitting area, where I light my candle (inviting the Holy Spirit to make me aware of his presence and considering the flame as the ever burning love between me and Jesus). Then I sit with him in quiet for a season, mainly to still my mind. Sometimes I read a text of Scripture with that theme of quieting myself and being still before Him.
Once I’m quieted in his love and presence, I become spiritually Alert, sensitive, listening, waiting. I usually have a devotional reading and a book that I will go to if I don’t feel too much push toward it. I say “Push” because I’m always alert to anything that feels like a “push” to have to accomplish something. That is usually a sign that something in me is opposing the quiet and leading of the Spirit.
The Lord never pushes me . . . He LEADS me. He is in front, not behind. Sometimes he’s along side. But He has NEVER pushed me. He Draws. He leads. He sends. He walks beside. He walks ahead. He abides in one place with me. But He never rides me nor leads from behind.
That is one of the ways I recognize the voice of my Shepherd. “My sheep know my voice . . . And they will not FOLLOW another,” Jesus said in John 10. Are you one of his sheep? If you have been drawn by him and if you have the high privilege of being one of his sheep, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. If not, then you have something to look forward to. And you will find Him when you search for Him with all your heart. You will find it when you are willing to give everything for the remarkable, wonderful joy of knowing Him–the Shepherd of your soul–Jesus of Nazareth . . . Risen from the dead. Alive and looking for you.
So I guess my day is going to be another adventure. Whether good things or bad things happen (for there is no guarantee that we will not suffer) He is with me and I am with Him. My day is in his hands. And as he takes my hand with his, He will lead me through whatever lies ahead. All in all . . . I’d say that’s a great day!
©2013, David C Alves
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book can be extremely helpful for leaders who know that “something is missing” in their leadership or lives. Perhaps you’ve come to that place where everything has lost its luster. You may have been in a really good place, but things have slipped. Or perhaps you’re looking great on the outside, but in your heart of hearts, you KNOW that something’s missing. Something’s not quite right.
Pay attention to that feeling!
The sense of that void or lack is God’s tap on the shoulder to draw near to Him to see what He will say and do. In my case, He did (and continues to do) great things. I am journeying with Him in a new freedom because of His grace to suggest to my spirit that something was missing. I really went through a “dark night of the soul.” On the other side, I see that it was a season of spiritual breakthrough and growth necessary to go on to the next level of sonship or into the next season of life with Abba.
For me, that something is majored on in this book. And really laid out clearly in Ruth Barton’s other book Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God’s Transforming Presence.
For your sake, your church’s sake, and to His glory, read her books and take what is good. Those nuggets that the Lord uses as you journey with Him will make all the difference in your leadership and sonship (for more on “sonship” for both men & women, see my book: We’re The “sons Of God”. . .So What?: Believe God About Who You Really Are!).
The following list is what our weekly pastor’s prayer group felt the Lord was saying to us and our churches. We wonder if He’s saying anything like this for any other pastors or leadership groups.
For me, the Lord confirmed several words he had given me years ago. I was greatly encouraged to see that we were hearing similar things. I thought, this is the list I read and will reflect on this week. It wouldn’t hurt to make it a point to discuss some of these points with others a get confirmation. After all, we come from very different theological backgrounds, and can hear what we want to hear if we’re not careful.
True, but, we also might be stretched and learn from one another–iron sharpens iron. Discussing what specifically the Father might mean by the separate words of “Freedom” and “Simplicity” that MANY leaders are hearing could be helpful and give direction to the body as a whole.
Below find the summary points from all that I heard as we prayed and spoke together at the pastors meeting:
- The words “Freedom” and “Simplicity” or “Basics” came from several. What comes to mind is Galatians 5.1ff.
- Don’t lose compassion in the crush of ministry.
- Renew Joy! Body language means something to God. [Hands raised, bowing in prayer as led by the Spirit. Various texts talk about posture in worship and praise.]
- Some people just won’t “get it.” They won’t follow where God is leading [of course, I have to make sure it’s God’s journey, not MINE we’re on].
- Revelation trumps scholarship.
- “Stand in the authority of your calling” (Rom. 11.29; 2 Cor. 15.58).
- We’ve also all agreed that there seems to be a strong sense of something very bad approaching, but also something wonderful. Maranatha!
- With Jesus in Vermont (mcacc.net)