If we need to hold their hands so they can stand, we will, and we must, until the time comes when they can do so on their own. To stand. To walk. To run.
I’m talking about raising people—at work or in the ministry, from the lens of a mom raising her child.
When I started to lead people in the workplace, I thought that after I hire them and give them some orientation, I could already expect them to run my pace, produce the results the job demanded (and go beyond that), and not to mention, do things my way.
Parents don’t just throw their newborn babies out into the world and expect them to get by on their own at once. We have to teach our children to eat the right stuff, to guide them in sitting down, standing up, crawling, before they can run. It’s a daily grind of making sure they get the right stimulation for the right development. It’s hard work—including work we do not like to do, like changing diapers (and sometimes getting our hands dirty with their mess).
In the same way, good leaders should not expect new people in their care to run their pace after day one. We have to teach them even those that we consider as “givens.” It’s hard work, and yes, it involves work we do not like to do, including cleaning up after some mess. But I have learned that if we tirelessly plow, their eventual fruitfulness is inevitable, and is more than rewarding.
Especially when they are so young, raising a child
can be is draining, but babies need to be fed. Even when I’m tired, I need to feed Noah. I have to consciously guard myself against getting frustrated or irritated just because I am tired.
When you are leading someone new and eager to grow in their relationship with God, sometimes they ask you a lot of questions, and sometimes, it can get draining. Good new hires will ask a lot of questions like why we’re doing things the way we do. The answers may, for us, seem like givens, but we take the time to answer their questions thoroughly. It can get draining, but we help them anyway. Like children, there is a season to feed them, and a season they start feeding themselves. We help them, we give them the answers, but we also teach them where and how to find the answers.
This is not to undermine empowering them, but simply, a reminder to all of us that each person grows in the faith (and in the job) in different paces, just like babies learn skills at their own pace. As there is no point in comparing babies, there is no point in comparing the growth of people. There is no template nor timeline that applies to all. As a parent, it is my responsibility to know my baby and to teach him accordingly. As a leader, it is my responsibility to know the people the Lord has entrusted to me and to teach them accordingly. It is my responsibility to hear from God how to lead them, and to obey. To lead as if one size fits all is futile, and frustration on both ends is not far.
“Much is caught, not taught,” they say. I remember when Noah first heard thunder. His eyes went wide open, he looked at me as if waiting for what my response will be so that that will be his response. Catching this, I looked him back and smiled calmly. When he saw that I was calm, he just went on his normal baby business as if nothing happened. There was thunder again, and it didn’t bother him at all.
When the thunders of life catch us off guard, how do we react? Do we get to respond in a way pleasing to the Lord? No, not because people are looking (Galatians 1:10 says if we please people, we are not Christ’s servants), but because those we are leading are looking (1 Corinthians 8:9 tells us that we must be careful not to be a stumbling block to others).
No matter how tiring and draining, children are a blessing. And so are people the Lord has put on our care, whether at work or in ministry. As a mom, everything I do for Noah is out of love. In the same way, everything we do for those we serve (servant leadership, remember?) is done out of love. Yes, love—to lay down one’s life for another (John 15:13). It is that tiring. When we lead, we give our lives to them through our time and energy.
It costs us so much, but leading others is not at the expense of our time nor energy. It is at the expense of their destiny. As it is my privilege to be a mom and raise a child towards his God-ordained destiny, it is our privilege as leaders to be used by God to boost others towards theirs. God can bring them to His plans for their lives without us, but He chose us to be a part of their story. ❤️
You didn’t choose me. I chose you.
I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit,
so that the Father will give you
whatever you ask for, using my name.
This is my command: Love each other.
John 15:16-17 NLT
Yay! Another draft finalized and published! Don’t really know when I can be back at my regular blogging schedule, but hey, an inch forward is forward nonetheless! 😅 Don’t forget to click on one of the smileys below so you can get a share button out to share this post to your social media platforms! Hmmm now I’m considering if I should just bring those share buttons back without the smileys… Oh well, something to think about when I get the time. Hah! 😅