This week’s Meditation comes to us from the Arrow Program. Arrow has been training Christian leaders in Canada for decades.
Confession: I have struggled with bad posture my entire life, and I believe it is getting worse as I age. My chiropractor reminds me often that not paying attention to my posture will affect many areas of my life. It will impact my running, my sleep, my ability to breathe deeply and ultimately my overall health. The crazy thing about it all is that one’s posture can be corrected!
As we age, our posture can become an issue, and I believe the same is true for us as Christian leaders. There are three healthy postures I believe we need to have as leaders that will help us “age” and “mature” well.
- Posture of Submission – Philippians 2:6 I like being right. I like being in charge. I like being the final word. I like leading because, in most circumstances, the org chart reveals that most are in submission to me. Dear leader, please be careful. Jesus reminds us that our submission must be first to God (John 8:28), but I will go a step further and say that submission to God and man is good for the soul. Find space and situations where your word is not the final one. Force yourself to listen to an outside voice or wise counsel that pushes you into areas you would not naturally go. Allow your board or supervisor to lead you even when you don’t fully agree with the decision.
- Posture of Service – Philippians 2:7 As we age, it is easy to forget that our first call is to serve. Jesus, our leader, reminds us that just like him we are not called to be served but to serve. It is easy to forget this posture and to begin thinking our people, our staff or our community exist to serve us. A little secret I learned years ago was to find a practice of serving those that my job description did not require. I also learned it is good to show up within the church or organization in places that you are not required to be and just be there to serve.
- Posture of Sacrifice – Philippians 2:8 A posture of service is impossible without a proper posture of sacrifice. Remember leader, we have been crucified with Christ and we no longer even live, Christ now lives in us (Gal. 2:20). A posture of sacrifice reminds us that our leadership is not about us. We gave up our salaries, our retirement, our positions and titles when we said “Yes” to following Jesus. Sacrifice means just that, letting go of what we believe is ours for the sake of others. Sacrifice can hurt, and that is OK. Don’t take the credit for something, be audaciously generous and don’t let anyone know it was you. Let go of something that you want to provide for someone in need.
These three postures are vital to leadership health. Here is the reality, you must seek to be healthy in all three; you can’t cheat! There have been seasons of my leadership where I was healthy in one area but not the others. Healthy postures do not work like that, it takes focus on each.
My Chiropractor often reminds me of the formula to healthy body posture:
Awareness – You must look in the mirror and see for yourself. You must ask others to remind you when you are out of line.
Attitude – You must want to change, or you never will. You must believe for yourself in the importance of right posture, or it won’t change.
Actions – Now that you are aware, and your attitude is ready, it is time to put into action some steps to fix the problem.
How about you? Are you aware of your leadership posture? Are you willing to ask others how are you doing in those areas? How is your attitude as you read this article; are you open to change? Are you willing to take action?
Here is one final encouragement:
Don’t get overwhelmed! Change in posture is a process that must continually be reviewed. Sometimes we may need some simple tweaks, while other times we may need a complete overhaul. You can do it! I believe you want to be a leader worth following, and you want to be like Jesus in your leadership. Here is the amazing mystery about postures, you are in control. The health of your posture is not determined by anyone else but you. You can change. You can be healthy. You don’t have to ask permission or seek board approval. Change can start right now, today, and will begin to impact your leadership, personal life and family for a lifetime!
Dr. Taylor Williams
Director of Leader Engagement – Arrow Leadership Program