This post is part of our Sunday Series titled “Articles of Faith.”
We investigate leadership lessons from the Bible.
See the whole series here. Published only on Sundays.
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23, NLT
A month ago I finally began to appreciate this proverb. A month ago, I died and was rudely shocked back to the operating table by a wonderful team of well-meaning surgeons. How were they to know that I was thoroughly enjoying the total peace and joy of having truly let go?
Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless–like chasing the wind. NIV Ecclesiastes 4:4
It took a heart attack and an all too brief visit to heaven for me to accept that anything I have been doing on this earth is no more than a striving after the wind.
But surely that wasn’t me. I wasn’t doing what I do for my success because I was envious. Surely, I had much better motives than that?
I should back up a little and give you some context:
I am a leadership coach and mentor, and the marketplace is my ministry. My mission is to impact lives, to be a lighthouse for people struggling to find meaning and direction in their careers and help them get in balance and make headway towards their own purpose and mission in life.
I love helping people and I’ve been working hard these past few years to expand the business and grow such that I can impact more lives. And perhaps you are beginning to notice what happens as soon as I talk about this. It’s all about me, and it’s all about doing.
Feeding on the Myth of Better
As I reflect on the months leading up to my taste of mortality, I realize that I had been striving to achieve something worthwhile, and I had chosen to feed on the myth that I had to be better, to do more, to compete to win in this world. I had unwittingly re-joined the rate race. I was on the hamster wheel of life running to keep up and falling down exhausted.
In the months prior to my heart attack, my thought life had been quietly and insistently repeating: “What are you going to do? What are you going to do?” All because I wanted to get on with things and stop wasting time.
I may not have consciously been competing enviously with other, more successful, and more spiritual people in my line of work. Even so, I did want to be known for doing it better, if I am to be completely honest here.
Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. Proverbs 3:5 (AMP)
Learning to Let Go
When was I going to realize that I am simply not smart enough to run my own life, let alone build this business and ministry into something that, in all humility, is a worthwhile legacy?
Trusting God. So often this is a last resort: “Well there’s nothing more I can do, all I can do now is trust God.” Proverbs 3:5 does not say, “…with a little bit of your heart”, nor “…rely on some of your own insight and understanding.”
Am I utterly barmy?
[Most] blessed is the man who believes in, trusts in, and relies on the Lord, and whose hope and confidence the Lord is. Jeremiah 17:7 AMP
I Want to Be a [Most] Blessed Man!
I’ll guess that you. Like me, have heard many wondrous testimonies of instant miracles, overnight turnarounds, miraculous healings and effortless overcoming of addictions. I love to hear them. And then my thinking starts to buzz inside like a mosquito in the bedroom: “Why God why? When God when?” Consciously, I chastise myself for such unchristian thoughts and repeat Proverbs 3:5 until I drown out that mosquito. Only for it to come back a little later just as I let my guard down.
If I can’t ‘guard’ my heart, perhaps I can ‘let not it be troubled’?
Jesus left me His peace (John 14: 27) and thus enabled me to “let not” my heart be troubled, nor be afraid. However, I still struggle to get comfortable not knowing when, why or where and just trusting God.
On REALLY Letting Go
It’s easy to tell someone to “let go.” I’ve shared this “wisdom” with many. But then I started to wonder how we actually can let go.
Before they shocked me back to the operating table, for a short while, I felt that peace and joy of having chosen to finally, and completely, let go. Oh, I cannot begin to describe how good it felt. For now though, it seems I am not finished here yet.
I didn’t struggle to completely trust the surgeons and staff at the hospital… Perfect strangers. I had no qualms about letting them be utterly in charge. Yet, in spite of the overwhelming evidence in my own life that He is always there, I keep taking the reins of control back from God.
I know Jesus will never leave me, nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). I know that when I keep my eyes on Him, everything works out for good (Romans 8:28). And then just like Peter (Matthew 14:29-30), I get distracted by the circumstances around me.
Distraction is a jealous seductress. It lures me away from my peace and sabotages my joy in rest.
Let Go, Let God
It is time to throw my own retirement party and let God.
Striving after the wind is all vanity. I will still strive. I will strive to enter that rest and not fall into the same disobedience as those in the wilderness by trusting in myself (Hebrews 4:11). I shall get comfortable not knowing what or how or where or when or why and trust Him. Pray for me.
Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today here!
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders™
Image Sources: media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com