Speaking with Clarity
Today, I attended the first day of the annual two day Willow Creek Leadership Summit. This is the one leadership event each year that I never miss. It always gives me a more defined picture of leadership and helps me solidify and clarify my own vision and mission for the coming year. Although I am sure that I will write more about this in the days to come, tonight I am consumed with a more important goal – and that is to clarify the mission of Transitions by The Book.
You see, several days ago I received an email from one of our readers that asked a somewhat profound question – specifically, if I have so many problems in my own life, how can I possibly be of benefit solving problems for others, including the clients I serve in the business world? At first, I admit I was a little defensive, then a little angry – and I fought the urge to respond immediately, realizing my own human tendency to vigorously defend and then attack. I’ve had several days to think about it and as I sat down to write this evening, more than anything else, I am disappointed. Disappointed that I have apparently fallen short of successfully conveying the message that I have tried so hard to bring to all of you. So rather than respond to the person directly, I have decided to mark this occasion, the writing of my 400th post, with a profound message of clarifying once again what my goal has been through the authorship of this blog. I wish to be transparent and vulnerable in making sure that my motives and goals are crystal clear.
So here it is. People have problems. All people. And pastors and those of us in ministry are not immune from the issues that plague the rest of the world. Ironically, most people look toward spiritual leaders to be “problem free” and believe me, there are many pastors who would like you to believe their lives are a bed of roses. But that’s just not true. We suffer from sickness, relational crises, divorce, death, job loss, insecurity, financial reversals and all of the other problems faced by the people we serve.
The difference is that I created Transitions by The Book to be an authentic expression of the problems that people face each and every day. And that includes a commitment to reveal portions of my life that may be less than idyllic – the stuff that can’t be put in some neat little box, hidden on the top shelf in some unopened closet. I learned long ago that successful leadership and vulnerability go hand in hand. The more vulnerable you are, the more approachable you are and the more people feel free to reveal their own fears and concerns. Conversely, the less vulnerable you are, the less likely people are to share their frustrations and problems. While some leaders may subscribe to this pretense of invulnerability, I am not one of them. So I will say it again. I have problems in in my life – and chances are that you do also.
In fact, if you don’t have any problems in your life, you shouldn’t be following Transitions by The Book. Stop reading. Right now. Go somewhere else. Because we deal with transitions – all kinds of transitions. If your life is great and nothing could be better, then chances are you won’t ever run across us. This blog is for people who have issues, want encouragement and prayer, and more than anything, want to know that the God of the universe hears us and loves us, unconditionally. And while I can’t solve all your problems, my number one goal has been to point people to Jesus Christ, the only one who can… And if the fact that I have room for improvement bothers you, please don’t read anymore. Because you’ll be disappointed. I’m a work in progress. But I have been around the block a few times and there are things that I have learned on the journey. Aside from the pastoral lessons, I like to believe that I also bring value to the corporate clients I serve. After all, I’ve seen quite a bit in the more than 450 companies that I have interacted with during more than 40 years serving the corporate community.
The truth is that I get many emails of thanks from people who have found peace, grace, love and acceptance through being pointed toward the Savior. I hope that God continues to bless this effort and that you will continue to find a benefit in these writings each day. The verse for tonight is from Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Somehow, this simple verse seems so appropriate. My encouragement tonight is that God has a plan for you, a plan to draw you closer to Him and for you to come to Him with your problems. My prayer is that this blog will be a blessing to those people who find comfort and teaching within its pages; and that God will continue to encourage me.
My most fervent prayer, however, is that you will have a great day with the Lord, and that, as always, you will experience His grace and peace, now and forevermore. Amen.