Accepting Leadership: A Letter to Lucy — The City Online - Houston Baptist University

Accepting Leadership: A Letter to Lucy

by John Mark Reynolds on October 15, 2012

Dear Lucy,

You are a leader, though I know you sometimes wish you were not one, because much of what you know comes from life. Don’t let a credentialing society discount what you know through doing. You have a doctorate in life and that matters, though it is not enough.

It isn’t too little just because other people care about the letters you earn. It matters because formal education fills in blanks life leaves. Learning as you grow forces you to adapt quickly. Learning from books gives you a chance to reflect and push the lessons down to the bottom of your heart. Try to know yourself well enough to feel the gaps and look for books, films, and discussions that can fill the holes.

But of all things, you must accept leadership. If it is better to give than to receive, and our Lord Jesus says it is, you must not be so selfish as to refuse others the chance to receive from you. The fact is that other people have made you feel worthless or that your only value can come from sharing out of your pain.

The time has come to share from your joy. The prodigal son, if he had lived, would have lived long enough to stop being merely the prodigal son. He would outgrow the role and eventually become simply: the good son and eventually a patriarch in his own right! People will want to trap you in a wounded state or as a class, group, or problem. You are not “the woman.” You are not “the hurting person.” You are not “a college student.” You are Lucy.

How can you lead without being a jerk?

Cheesy as it sounds read a good book about George Washington by Ron Chernow. Washington was a leader, but not a tyrant.

Five tips for leadership without jerkiness from the life of Washington.

First, leaders endure. Don’t quickly leave a group or organization. Don’t let initial problems wear you down, but show courage. If Washington could outlast Valley Forge, then we can take more than we think. Sometimes envy drives criticism. Listen, but don’t leave!

Second, elevate others around you without envy. Ask yourself if you make everyone in your group better. Washington put together a command team that was often better than he was at different tasks, but only Washington could bring them together. Are you making everyone you know better? Are you willing to give others credit?

Third, when you are betrayed, don’t stop trusting other people. Washington was stabbed in the back by Benedict Arnold. You will be hurt by would be leaders who cannot accept success. When you are betrayed, you will have to react to the person for the good of the group, but you cannot stop trusting others. Washington kept looking for bright followers after Arnold.

Fourth, look for “failures” and reinvigorate them, if they wish it. Washington had a general who failed, but Washington saw the man’s potential. As a result of a second chance, Americans were blessed by the leadership of Nathaniel Greene. In your circle, if a man or woman recognizes his failures, give him another chance.

Finally, just the time that everyone views you as insensible, then it is time to be quiet or even to leave. Don’t let your group, class, or organization become overly dependent on you. If George Washington could go home from the army and the White House, you and I can let a discussion, organization, or problem go.  It is not so hard.

Lucy, you are gifted, but best of all Jesus lives inside of you. Let your gifts marinate in Him. Give Jesus back what He gave you and then your gifts will not harm anyone. Leading requires quiet, but it is also a risk. Eventually, you will fail and then you must repent, learn, and try again.

I believe in you.

Lord Jesus Christ son of God have mercy on me a sinner.

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