Part 3: Open Up. A couple of months ago I wrote about having people of peace down in the foxhole with us. Let’s review: a person of peace serves me, listens to me, affirms me, wants to spend time with me. There are many fantabulous people in the world, highly talented and competent, but not all are people of peace for me. Remember that little voice that tells you something isn’t quite right, but you can’t quite put your finger on it? It’s possible that that person would be a world changer…on someone else’s team. But maybe he or she is not a person of peace for you. If you want to read more about that as a leader, it is in the May 29, 2015 post.
But even as I have learned to distinguish more and more who is a person of peace for me, I have also learned that in order to draw people of peace, I have to be one too. And for those that I lead, that means I need to have some attitudes right. First, I need to consider that they are precious to Jesus and I am honored to have them in my life and on my team (click Part 1 above: Don’t Be a Denethor). Second, I need to really invite them into my life (click Part: 2 above: Invitation Required). And last, I need to open myself up to them.
And that requires the V word…………
If you just had a sharp intake of breath, you are like most leaders I know. Vulnerability is problematic precisely because it is not precise. It’s easy to be way too vulnerable, and it’s easy to shut ourselves off from the world. What’s difficult is to find the middle ground where the Holy Spirit leads us to share in such a way that it brings life.
Let’s be real, we’ve probably all followed people who appeared to be perfect. Can I let you in on a little secret? They weren’t. Whether because they hid their flaws intentionally or because at our point of maturity it wouldn’t have been beneficial to see the junk, we walked away thinking that they had it all together. Wow, did you see that? Superman. Wonder Woman.
You know what I’ve learned about superheroes? They’re cool, but there just aren’t that many of them.
If we are in the business of reproduction, then we need to have lives that other people can imitate. And people cannot imitate perfection. And that means Vulnerability.
The biggest pushback I get from this is that it will hurt people’s faith to see all the junk. Well, remember that I am not talking about a new believer or other disciple of Jesus (though I think we could push the boundary a teeny bit further toward authenticity overall). I’m talking about your foxhole buddies. I’m talking about those people who are already close enough to see when you’re struggling. The Superman bit doesn’t work on them because, frankly, they see you too often and know you too well. So why hide it?
We have to open up.
We have to share our struggles.
We have to lead the way in repentance, no matter how “small” the sin may be.
The only way to reproduce is to be REAL.
In the book Anonymous, Alicia Britt Chole says,
“A tree’s posture is all open, like arms ready for an embrace. So very vulnerable, yet so very strong. I find the display quieting and full of grace.”
I think this is a beautiful picture of how people should see their leaders. Our independent Western culture suggests that strength and vulnerability are diametrically opposed, but that is not what we see in Jesus’ life. Both strength and vulnerability are necessary to being a great leader.
I don’t know what that looks like in your context. But I guarantee you, if you ask the Lord, He’ll show you some profound and probably uncomfortable way to apply it. And if you do, whatever it means for your life and your team, they might actually have something real to imitate.