Monday, November 11, 2013

When You Want To Be The Boss

Tucked under the veil of towering cottonwood trees, where strands of light filtered through like golden threads, we gathered fallen branches, stumps for chairs and and set the table on a carpet of matted grass. At the age of six, my first-ever-best-friend, Mary and I created an enchanted-to-us, forest home, where princess-mommies lived.  We honed our nesting skills, by making mud cakes and serving tea from chipped cups. 

She lived on a ranch that had towering barns with lofty hay mangers. Large wooden doors squeaked under the weight of their substance, when swung open. There was a chicken house and cleaning station where we collected, washed and candled eggs before putting them in cartons for her family to sell. The rugged bunkhouse was home to their hired men who rode high-headed horses out to work pastures of cattle. Her family lived in a stately brick home, that had many features I loved, such as the laundry chute we flew down like a tornado slide, a huge sun room that faced the west and the most elaborate office, anchored with a large wood desk, surrounded with a treasure trove of books stacked from floor to ceiling on three walls.   

Some of my earliest, sweetest memories are in this place.  

But we didn't stay best friends, because at some point I just wanted to be the boss.

My mom called me her sweet blond haired, blue eyed doll. She said that I was shy and sweet for most of my young years. And though I doubt they knew the meaning of my name, my parents named me Rhonda, which in Greek, mean powerful river. I now know that I am an extrovert. A do-er. A high capacity, wake up early, go to bed late and crash hard somewhere in-between, kind-of-person. And quite frankly, it has taken too much of my life to realize that when my agenda, my will, isn't submitted to Authority, I'm dangerous. Dangerous to myself and everyone else.

In the world we live, this whole thing is misunderstood.

It begins with how we raise children. On one side we are taught and perhaps were even raised, that children are to be seen but not heard, that they should jump when told and spanked at the slightest hesitation in obedience. 

On the other side are beautiful children who fall in a heap at the slightest suggestion of not having it their their way, while their parents make excuse that the child is having a bad day, it's only a stage and how they don't want to break their spirits. And those children feel insanely insecure, because they were never suppose to be the boss of their parents.

Trust me, neither, being a controller kind of parent or allowing the child to control are what God designed. Perhaps that's why so many have such a distorted view of what kind of Father we serve. He isn't waiting to crush us for messing up yet He knows the freedom we will experience when we understand and respect authority. 

As we enter adolescence it's the strongest, most lovely and athletic that we esteem.  Eventually some of the ones who are brilliant, creative and who take risks are rise to the top. Still, we put our identities in all sorts of wrong places and are willing to step on, steal, grab and sneak around to get what we think we want and deserve in this life.

That isn't the model that Jesus gave us. He says in Mark 10:42   "You've observed how godless rulers throw their weight around," he said, "and when people get a little power how quickly it goes to their heads." 

Have you worked with someone like this?  Someone who has an agenda and your job is to help them be greater? 

Jesus goes on to say, in verse Mark 10:43: "It's not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. "

Years ago, I got my first glimpse of what this really looks like. Though I'm unable to find the story to reference it properly, the essence of the testimony, that stuck in my heart, was how a woman who loved Jesus, served Him by cleaning toilets. It moved me so deeply and I remember praying, "Lord, I want to be willing to do whatever You ask, and that includes cleaning toilets if it will bring You glory." 

When Pastor John Stone arrived to our church a few years back, one of his first sermons was about the "Upside Down Life."  He gave tangible examples how you can live out, being a servant to others. We lead by example and the example we have been given is one of serving. It isn't this idea of one person is way up here on the top, a few others are the special people who surround that one person and all the others down-line are ultimately serving the person on top of the pyramid. 

It's all upside down in the Kingdom of God. Leadership is about Servant-ship.

Jesus had to explain this concept to the very  men who had followed Him for years. He said this, "Whoever wants to be great among you must become a servant." (read here?) 

Now, even secular companies, researching what makes some businesses better than others have found that it isn't just dynamic, gifted people in leadership who can build a better bottom line. No, they found that in very successful companies, often the distinguishing mark is that the leadership is humble

What they have discovered that great leaders do, is to serve the people that they lead.

Being humble is such a compelling characteristic that it draws people in. When we are approachable, show genuine concern for others, not living a self-agenda, but are for the people that we come in contact with, something powerful happens. 

Even if people don't want anything to do with Jesus, they will love working with and being around the Jesus-lover who lives out these truths. 

Living this way has a tremendous effect on us as well. Somehow it gives us great confidence and security in the One we serve instead of our own self focus.

Andy Stanley says we need to do this: "Leverage our authority for the sake of those under our authority."

He says it this way too: "How can I loan you me..... for you?"

It is another way of saying, "How can I help you?"

When we lose our ego, our pride, our control, our empty thinking that we are somehow better that anyone-else-in-the-whole-wide-world, we can extend what we have to give, to love on people. And as we lean all that we are, into all that He is, we give credit to and bring glory to the Savior.

We can not truly lead, if we do not humble ourselves to do whatever needs to be done.

Looking back, there are still strong ties and connections to when I was the little girl, who dreamed and played in that enchanting hand-hewn playhouse in the cottonwood trees with her sweet friend Mary. That child needed to learn to humble herself, which was actually freedom from fits of wanting things my way and failures from selfish ambition.

My adult self, has made a wide circle from being a selfish, child who didn't know how to be a real friend. I am still irresistibly drawn to the humble comforts of home, but my passion is to live out these crazy days on earth, being a blessing to all those I can give a bit of myself to.

It is all upside down in Gods Kingdom. The first shall be last. If we want our children to be leaders they need to be servants. And if we want to be the boss, then we need to be a servant to all.

How can I loan me, to you friend?

What of yourself can you offer to others to strengthen them?

Linking up here and still counting blessings:

#1249 My gentle husband
#1250 Our furry family. Olivia, Brandy and Jessica
#1251 The Lord providing for Emily, free housing until the end of the year.
#1252 A complete answer to prayer, to be able to attend the If Gathering. 

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© Rhonda Quaney