humility

Better than a Bubble Bath

 

Yesterday, a glorious idea came to me: My kids are getting along great, I’m going to take a bubble bath. For most moms like me, reading a good book in a hot bath is a luxury. I grabbed my book, added faint music and peppermint oil, and felt ready for a peaceful 30 minutes.

The moment my feet touched the warm water, my youngest two children started arguing. I assumed it would end in a minute or so. It kept on. I waited for my oldest to jump in and handle it, but the bickering ensued. I turned the music up a little louder, because good moms do that sometimes, but the kids kept on. My head pounded with the sound of their quarreling. Bath dream over.

After I got dressed, I went downstairs and my youngest daughter asked, “Mommy can I cuddle with you?” Normally, I’d say, “Of course!” But unresolved tension claimed it’s place in the room. I couldn’t shake the feeling if I let her climb into my lap it may appear I was taking her side. I am FOR both of them and FOR unity. What I wanted to say, was “Go make it right with your brother, then come back to me.”

Immediately I thought of Matthew 5:23-24 when Jesus says, So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you,  leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

Peace is elusive when unresolved tension lingers in the house.

I sat both my kids down and shared Romans 15:1-7 from my morning reading. The passage speaks of serving one another, living in harmony, and welcoming each other. After talking to them about their quarrelling, I encouraged them to speak out loud to one another: “I will try my best to serve you, live in harmony with you, and welcome you. Will you please forgive me?” Then I told them to hug it out. Asking for forgiveness requires humility, and hugs crumble walls. The tension lifted like rising steam, while their lips formed subtle smiles. It feels good to be light, free from the heaviness of bitterness.

The weight is lifted. Unity stands at the door of our home, welcoming peace back in. Now, I invite them in my lap, both of them.

That evening I listened to them laugh together, which is music to my ears. This morning, when I woke up, PJ wasn’t in her room. It turns out she snuck into her brothers room last night, creating a makeshift bed right beside his.

The altar represents a place of prayer, offerings, worship – a place to exchange with God. But in the instance of unresolved tension between His children, God says “First go make it right. Then come back.” I understand this verse a little better now. It doesn’t feel quite right if my child sits in my lap while glaring at her brother. Maybe the nudge of the Father’s heart, is not just for my kids this week, but for God’s grown up children too.  

Child of God, go make it right. Then come back. Invite the right kind of house guests; humility, forgiveness, and unity. Pull open the blinds, let the light of peace fill the house of God and the house of your heart. Then climb into your Father’s lap and enjoy living light and free.

I’d say this is better than a bubble bath, any day of the week.

3 Leadership Wins from the Centurion

12030393_10153167768286864_8772123246292195045_o

My husband works for a fantastic company. If you want to get promoted, they insist that you invest in a professional (John Maxwell certified) leadership coach. It was no small financial investment for us, but we agree in the principle; if you aren’t willing to invest in yourself, you aren’t ready to be a leader. My husband is on his second week of leadership coaching. Naturally, it has our family talking about leadership more than ever. Brandon comes home admitting he has a lot to learn about leadership and I wait eagerly for a word-for-word replay of his sessions (I wish I could be a fly on the wall).

As I was reading my Bible yesterday, I came across the passage about the Centurion in Luke 7. There were verses that stood out to me that I never noticed before, and principles that go right along with what Brandon’s learning through leadership coaching.

 Luke 7:1-10:After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him.  When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him,  for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.”  And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord,do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed.  For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”  And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.” 

  1. The Centurion Highly Valued His Servant (Luke 7:2)

Sadly, it feels like we live in an age where leaders are more concerned about using people than they are valuing them. Many leaders care about the results but have little regard for the people who work hard to make those results happen. It was refreshing to read that the centurion highly valued a man who was “just a servant.” When the centurion sent the elders of the Jews to request the servants healing, guess what they did? They raved about their leader and bragged about how deserving he was. Perhaps because the centurion was a leader who highly valued his servants, the servants in turn cared about the results he cared about.

I recently read an article titled, “The Hottest New Leadership Trend: Actually Caring.” The article compared the difference between someone who cares vs. someone who acts like they care. People are not buying insincerity anymore — and we’ve all been there. A friend whom you haven’t heard from in 10 years seems excited to reconnect, but once you show up for coffee they try to sell you something or recruit you. It feels like a let-down when the only time you hear from someone is when they want something. But when it’s someone who genuinely cares, giving back to them is a no-brainer.

2.  The Centurion Understood Authority (Luke 7:8)

The Centurion noted that he is both under authority and in authority. He could have just said, “I’m in charge, I know how authority works.” But instead he mentioned that he was also under authority. He understood a principle that Michael Hyatt writes about: “If you want to be a great leader, you must first become a great follower.”

If we skip the step of becoming a great follower and try to jump straight to leader, we won’t develop the character we need to reproduce when we step into leadership. We will become dictators rather than ones who lead by example. We won’t learn what it takes to be loyal, to submit when we disagree, to serve humbly or protect unity. If you aspire a position in leadership and have been frustrated in the waiting season, don’t underestimate the value of learning how to follow well. It might not always feel like it, but it’s the best training ground for leadership. (Read Matthew 23:10-12 on God’s game plan to become the greatest.)

3. The Centurion was Humble but Full of Faith (Luke 7:6-7)

The misconception about humble people is that they are weak. The Centurion admits that he isn’t worthy to have Jesus come under his roof — but at the same time also recognizes that all Jesus has to do is say the word for a miracle to happen. That doesn’t sound like a weak man to me, it sounds like a man who knows where real power comes from.

We can be fully aware of how unworthy we are to receive God’s amazing grace, yet fully confident that miracles can happen in our lives. We can lead boldly, speak confidently, pray audacious prayers, take risks, fiercely pursue dreams, stand up for truth, be unshakable in our values, and believe for the impossible. We don’t have to shrink back to be humble, but we do have to rely on His strength and not our own. Self-reliance breeds pride but God-reliance will keep us continually leading from a humble stance.

 

P.S. I really don’t know what the picture of our family above has to do with leadership or this verse. I just like it. My husband is a great leader of our family…Just go with it.