April 30

Making the Most of You!


Ive been running a race for 45 years.  During the first 12 years I didn’t even know I was running and by the time I realized I was in a race, I was behind.  By the time I reached 18, I had fully embraced the race and by 22 I think I was in a pretty good place.  The race had now taken me through high school, marriage, college, seminary and even home ownership.  By the time I was in my thirties the race had brought me two sons and a doctorate.  It had also brought me into a church planting and leadership role that became an overwhelming part of my identity and existence.

I was running the ‘making the most of myself’ race.

Life was about achievement, accomplishment, stepping stones and finish lines.  And I ran hard.

Have you been running as well?  Maybe you have run harder and farther than I did.  Maybe that makes you feel successful.  Or, maybe you stumbled or ran slower than you had hoped.  Maybe that made you feel a sense of lacking.  Regardless of your pace in the race, your value and future remains.  So let’s investigate that for a minute.

When it comes to running an individual race, I’m retired.  I’ve really lost interest in proving myself or accomplishing things alone.  God has certainly taught me that the race I’m running is a group endeavor and not an individual trudge of accomplishment.

Now I find myself running more with my wife Stephanie… running with our sons… running with our church staff and running with friends and family.  I want to see what we can do together.  We dream of what experiences we can have together.  We seek to make each other better.  We move to honor God with our lives together.

Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way.  They are lessons in the art of relationships, friendships and team building.

View your greatest weaknesses as opportunities to plug into someone else’s strengths.  I completely missed this for a long time.  I tried many things related to my weaknesses.  I tried to improve them, cover them up and avoid them.  But I’ve learned to highlight them as an advertisement for the type of people I need in my life.  For instance, I’m not great with details.  That’s an understatement.  I stink at details.

I’ve learned to look for detail people and invest in them.  Help them.  Learn from them.  Delegate to them.  Listen to them.  I follow their lead in detail oriented moments.

My former assistant used to switch chairs with me for a few hours every Tuesday and lead me through details.  She would guide me to write thank you notes, read budgets, pay attention to attendance and finance numbers.  This all made me better and completely lifted her giftedness up in honor.  In the process, together, we led better as a team than either of us would have as individuals.

2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Slow down enough to see if one big step had the affects you wanted before moving on to the next one.  This is such a big deal to me.  In my past I was moving at such a pace that when I enacted move number 24, I would be on move 32 before we had any way to measure if 24 was effective… make sense?

It doesn’t take long, if you will give things some focus, to notice whether or not what you are doing is actually working within the goals of your mission.  This way, when you notice a change needs to be made, you are not changing the foundation upon which 5 other things were built.  Change comes easier with smoother transitions.  And your not exhausted in the process.

Not to mention, that now change isn’t as scary.  When you are looking back 7 steps at a change it can be overwhelmingly scary because you will have lots of residual change that must occur.  But when you slow down just a minute to actually inspect what you have expected from your leadership, you will ultimately make up major time in the way change works.

Luke 16;10a ESV “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much…”

Take time to celebrate victories.  In my young past I kept running past one finish line to the next.  This robbed me of the rest time between each race… but even worse it robbed all of the folks I was leading from the opportunity to stop and celebrate.  Just dance for a minute in celebration of your victory.  This not only is exciting as you look back to the victory, but it is motivating as you look forward to your next finish line.

Luke 15:32 ESV “It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.”

You will not believe how teaming up with the right people, measuring your actual expectations and celebrating your victories will change the culture of the organization, family or church you are leading.

I hope these life lessons have been helpful as you keep running the race of making the most of you.