“His leadership is perfect, girl. You can trust Him.”
A new Woman of God in my life told me this today.
For those of you who don’t know, my official major at the University of Florida is Agricultural Education and Communication, and my specialization is Communication and Leadership Development. Basically, this means that a vast majority of my classes circulate around leadership and communication. Every angle and perspective of leadership seems to be covered in my education.
Working with People: Interpersonal Leadership
Communication and Leadership in Groups and Teams
Leadership for Personal and Organizational Change
And the list continues.
Needless to say, I stay in a constant state of leadership saturation. If a mold could grow from how soaked I stay in leadership theory, the resulting toxicity level would be considered lethal. Not that I’m complaining. I consider leadership to be both an art and a science, and I consider myself to be an artist-in-training and a researcher hungry for data.
But that doesn’t mean I’m on the fast track to becoming the next John C. Maxwell. If anything, my passion for leadership has only complicated my resilient, academic inner drive. When I’m being graded on my understanding of leadership principles, I take on the same mindset that I would have if I were studying organic chemistry. All joy is evaporated and instead replaced with intense fervor and concentration.
Thus why I’m suffering from daily headaches for the past week.
And my neck and shoulders are tight enough to constrict a boa.
And I keep waking up in the middle of the night with anxiety.
And my days have become a series of lists to be crossed off, each inevitably including something I was unable to accomplish the day before.
I’m stressed, okay. S-T-R-E-DOUBLE S-E-D. Stressed.
I’d dare to say I’m not the only one. I’d even dare to say that you’re probably thinking to yourself, “GIRRRRLLL, if you ONLY KNEW why I’m stressin’, you’d have a Real Reason to fall apart!”
Because we all know what it’s like to be held under the gun. To feel like there will never be enough time. To feel the pressure from the Person holding the gun, the words uttered or the message implied. To feel dreadful sweat dripping off your forehead and not have a free hand to wipe it away. To feel near dead and even craving death just to escape the building pressure.
BUT SOMEHOW WE LIVED TO REMEMBER IT ALL.
Yet, for some reason, we act like we’re the only ones who have endured the gun. We shrug off the stresses of our peers like we would shrug off a dramatic performance from a famous actor or actress. It was all an act; the acting performance may have touched home but it wasn’t real, so why should we allow ourselves to feel empathy for them. We’re real. We cry and yell and clam-up and lose our cool when we get stressed because our current circumstances justify our behavior. No need to feel something for the actress. She doesn’t know real stress.
–This blog post isn’t about self-centeredness or our inability to identify with others. I just felt the need to call it like it is.
Anyways, I’m stressed. And I’m terrible at managing stress. It’s like instead of telling the conductor to slow the train down, I yell, “FULL STEAM!” and heap more coals into the fire. Instead of taking a step back and finding balance, I take five steps forward and augment everything I’m doing. There’s no need to explain to you all the reasons why I’m stressed or even deserve to be stressed. The point is that I’m stressed on life and one of my favorite things, leadership development, is slowly becoming something I dread…
Take the time to reflect on what I’m learning?
Acknowledge my strengths and shortcomings and intentionally put them into practice?
Stop and reorganize, reboot, reevaluate, and reassemble my life?
How can I possibly apply anything that I’m learning in class when the assignments, deadlines, meetings, projects, essays, applications, and to-do’s steal my focus?
How can I trust where I’m heading if all I can see is what I’ve got to do to get through today?
“His leadership is perfect, girl. You can trust Him.”
What? What does that even mean? His leadership? You mean God’s leadership? Who’s He leading? …Forget I asked that. So if His leadership is perfect, that means He’s obviously not developing it like I am mine. And I suppose that means I can trust Him to lead my life. And trust where He has led it thus far. And trust where He is taking it in the future. And trust where He has me now…
“WAIT. Hold up. Didn’t You just hear me whining about all the stress I’m under, God? Don’t you know the emotional, physical, and spiritual toll that this amount of stress is having on me? I mean, I don’t even have time to stop and trust You with it all because of all the demands I’m facing,” said the girl who forgot who her God is.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident. One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.” Psalm 27:1,3-5
“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives sleep to his beloved.” Psalm 127:1-2
“Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace—because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock.” Isaiah 26: 3-4
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” Isaiah 30:15
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord you God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43:1b-3a
I love when scripture speaks for itself. Better yet, I love when God speaks for Himself through scripture.
Take-away lesson: Trust God, because His leadership is perfect. No matter where you are, what you’re dealing with, what you’re biting your nails about, why you’re crying in your pillow, or how you’re managing the stresses of your life, God is and always will be perfect in leading you forward. The key is trusting Him above all other things, trusting Him more than you trust your own strength, talents, wealth, or abilities (or, in my case, trusting Him more than you doubt those things).
Trusting Him comes from knowing Him, and knowing Him comes from knowing His word and believing it in faith to be God in book form. The word reveals His nature, His character and His heart, which are more trustworthy than anything we could claim on this earth. This process of coming to know Him takes time just as getting to know someone new takes time. But the time is worth it. It’s worth more than accomplishing anything else on any to-do list.
Because His leadership is perfect, He is trustworthy, and I can follow Him as I take the time to learn His voice.