Here and Now By Andrea Leigh Capuyan
Lead from the Here and Now
It can be a continual challenge for a leader to remain focused on the here and now. Projecting vision and evaluating future opportunities are critical skills for effective leadership. Yet, always looking ahead can be dangerous because we can uncouple from our current reality. A reckless pursuit of something emerging on the distant horizon can lead to mission drift. Wisdom anchors our imagination of “what can be” to “what is.” Wisdom invites us to be leaders first of the here and now.
When our imagination is propelled forward, it is essential to ground ourselves in present reality. Wise leaders will understand how their vision of ‘what might be…’ is influenced by their memory of ‘what was…’ Visions of the future can often be built on vestiges of the past. Not just the remnants of shared human history, rather it is our personal kaleidoscope of former dreams and past choices which can blur our sight.
Philosophers remind us of the importance of self-reflection and self-awareness.
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” – Socrates
“The heart has reasons that reason knows nothing of.” – Blaise Pascal
Scripture invites us to an even richer intersection of knowledge and truth. Jeremiah challenges us.
“The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?
I, the Lord, search the heart
and test the mind…”
“Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed;
save me, and I shall be saved,
for you are my praise.”
Indeed our finite insight and twisted thinking can derail a true understanding of self without God’s penetrating wisdom. The good news God knows us truly. His Spirit plumbs the depths of our heart and brings to light everything that ensnares us to false thinking and former loyalties. God does not conduct a secret mission of our soul. Our transformation is done in partnership with Him. He desires to reveal what is hidden and to make what is unknown known if we pause and ask. He invites us to join Him in understanding how our past strategies can become entangled in our present decisions.
I am not one to negotiate. I don’t haggle or bargain. When faced with a choice, more often than not, I boil everything down to ‘yes, I can do this’ or ‘no, this isn’t for me.’ For many years I saw this as a personal quirk. A manifestation of a personality wired for a ‘get it done’ mindset. And then there came a moment when I was sidelined by a negotiation. In the midst of a dialogue, I suddenly felt my chest tighten and an inner wall began to form. I felt resistance and even resentment beginning to build. I became aware that my reaction did not sync with my present circumstance. I asked for a pause. I wanted time to consider options. And more than that I want to know what was happening in me. I needed to delve deeper into personal reflection and prayer. And what came next was something akin to a veil being lifted. Through reflection, prayer, and through the help of others came discovery. The result was my recognition of a personal pattern where I thwarted conversations and usurped decision-making because I was “re-living” old situations of being trapped and being deceived.
A history influenced by trickery can help one develop discernment and powerful instinct. AND that same history can cement patterns of rigid thinking and irrational assumptions. It is true that our past hones our God-given strengths. Also, our past can fortify a personal unspoken commitment to survival strategies. Left unexamined our leadership is an unhealthy cycle of harming self and harming others spiraling downward to the detriment of the ministry. Left unexamined we lead behind walls of resistance and resentment. We are stuck.
Today, as you think about ministry opportunities and long-term forecasts, where do you see your assumptions impacting your assessment of current circumstances? How is both your leadership and the organization being guided by unknown legacies from YOUR personal history?
My hope is that you and I can be leaders who are preparing for tomorrow and responsive to today because we are not blindly driven by yesterday.
Lead from the here and now.
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