Saturday, January 06, 2018

The Power Behind Us

A couple days ago I was reading a Bible Study about the transition of leadership between Moses and Joshua and the Israelites as they were in the desert. They were crossing the Jordan river at flood capacity and just like when they crossed the Red Sea, God held up the waters and the entire group was able to cross over on dry land.

In it, the author made the following statement, "The leadership has changed but the power behind the leaders is the same."  Sometimes when I read scripture or a devotion it reminds me of something in my life either personal or work related. This one struck me as work related. In the last two years we have had a lot of change at work both on the national and state level. In my personal life there has been change as well.  This statement and the passage that supported the devotion made me think alot about the leadership changes we are experiencing.

Two years ago the national level of my work selected a new president and a few months ago we, at the state level also selected a new president. We as a nation a year ago selected a new leader as president. All of these changes in leadership does not change the character of the organization or nation because we as a group are the power behind the leader. Just as God was the power behind the leaders Joshua and Moses there is power behind the new leaders. In the organization, it's the volunteer leader. They are the ones who vote on policy directions and determine the steps of the organization, the president is important and leads the way and makes sure all voices are heard but they can not accomplish their goals without the power of the volunteer force behind them. It's incredible to have the behind the scenes view point to see the work put in by the leaders in the organization. They dedicate hours to making sure the goals are being met and continue to strive to make the group better.

I personally have been through three presidents at the state level. They all have dedicated years, sometimes decades to leading the organization as county leaders then as state leaders before taking the reins as president. I know the first president worked hard to make sure the organization was financially sound and helped grow the staff from just a few people several. We are a small state as it goes in membership and staffing but we are mighty. I sometimes think that having a smaller staff gives us an advantage because so many of us are cross-trained in so many different areas, we get to live outside our job descriptions because we all pitch in for planning events and programs that might not be in our area. With smaller counties, our leaders also get more opportunities to participate in events and programs because they can become board members, committee members or program chairs quicker than some of the larger states. It doesn't mean smaller groups are better or worse than their larger counterparts. They are all part of the larger organization and part of the continuing strength and power of the organization.

The second president lead the organization into the digital age and from a staff perspective included the entire staff. He would walk down the hall and stop and visit with staff, not just directors but field staff, writers and admins. It was nice to feel included in the organization to be part of the inner workings of how the group was operating. It also allowed him to hear and see what happening within the volunteers as well as participate and "press the flesh" with the members. I see this with the national president as well. I really like that he has continued to get out to the states and visit with members just as his predecessor did and take it to a new level.

Our new president at the state level I know will continue to make the organization great because she understands the volunteer power and I'm looking forward to watching from the sideline to see her lead the group with the same power and strength that her predecessors have.

Just as there were struggles in the desert with the Israelites and they sometimes feared the unknown they had the power behind them and change is hard. It's much easier to stick with what we know even if we don't like it and its hard than to step out and trust there is something better and to walk to distance to achieve it. We just have to remember that in the journey there is power behind us. It can come from our faith, our community and the volunteer members who believe in the organization and work to build a better community or organization. Just because there is a new leader doesn't mean the power is new, it's always been there, it's constant and it doesn't change.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Tiny Little Peanut

Note: This has sat in my draft folder for over a year. I reread it and decided to publish it because it's a good reminder to me and spoke again to me- this time more about my workout and food issues. I'll be honest with you, I've struggled this last year not only in the gym but with the private battle I have everyday with food. So I'm sharing it with you guys and maybe something will jump out at you as a reminder for this coming year. 

My Bible Study has been going through Priscilla Shirer's Armor of God study. It's amazing and you should get it. What's even better, is my book club just finished This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti. If you read it first, you will be amazed and out the Armor of God fits so well with it. It's all about how the devil wants us to be unsuccessful and just be were we are and he uses the same old tactics that we always fall for. I'm easy to target, I have the same issues, I think we all do and so we end up in a cycle. For me one of the biggest has always been what other's think of me. I worry that people won't want to be my friend or like me because of me so I work really hard to be someone they need. I did it in my last job. Don't get me wrong I've loved my job and I helped them become better leaders, however I wanted them to really miss me- as in- falling apart because I'm not there to help them. It's sick, I know. God's been showing me a lot lately and teaching me alot.

So in my journey to be healthier- I've always worried what people thought of me. I'd run outside but stop when a car came by at first. And then I didn't want to go to the gym because I'm the fat girl who doesn't belong. I was afraid that people would sneer and make fun of me. The hoopla over the girl posting a picture fat shaming another woman at the gym a few weeks ago was my worst fear. I'm also not coordinated but I eventually had to stop listening to the loud voice telling me all of this. And just go. I found a gym that accepts and encourages all physical abilities and shapes. I still struggle with some of the exercises. Have you tried to get into a TRX machine with your feet and do a pick/knee tuck. I spend the 35 seconds of the round just getting my feet in. I'm getting better and I'm no longer afraid to ask for a modification so I can work up to the real deal. Three's no one putting someone down, instead there are celebrations for breaking a personal record- like doing a real burpee, increasing the height of the box jump or increasing your wall balls. Sometimes the voice comes back making you doubt yourself or worry but you just have to tell it to shut the hell up and move on. This is a lesson I'm learning through people I'm sharing my life with and through a couple studies I've done. And I've realized that when you stop listening to the voices telling you that you can't do something or that someone will judge you- you accomplish great things. You move forward and you start to live the life you are suppose to. All because you take one little step in trying something new and that leads to another small step and eventually you are far down the road and don't even realize the great things you've accomplished.

The other lesson God has really shown me is that letting something go is ok. I had shared with a few friends that I really missed being on the road and seeing my old members. They are family and I've missed them. I spent the majority of my life the last eight years with them. It's been hard not knowing what I'm doing and learning new things and feeling lost and not connected as I have in the past. Its been a struggle. And I know for a fact that this is where God wants me to be and that there are skills I'm learning to use for something else. One of my personal Bible studies I've been doing is a survey of the Old Testament. They have been going through the Isrealites and their 40 years in the desert. My study group this spring did a book on it as well.

I always think when I get to this story, why were they complaining and bitching about wanting to go back to Eygpt. They were headed to were God wanted them and they were in his plan. Yet they always wanted to go back. I just didn't get it and I still don't. They had all their needs provided and yet they always thought they were better off back where they had been- even though life was hard there.

It took me awhile to realize that I was having a kettle-pot moment of wanting to go back because in my mind it was easier. It wasn't easier- it was just different. Then I read a book about leadership and something jumped from the page and it was as if a brick had been dropped and I finally got it.

The book- Leadership is Hell by Rob Asghar, was talking about the UCLA coach John Wooden. Coach Wooden left at the top of his game. He did because he believed it was better to let the next generation of coaches to learn how to coach and play with out him leading them but that he would always be available to mentor and guide them if they needed or asked. I need to help the next crew of people coming to help my former members but be a resource. They can learn new things and try new things with new people and go beyond what I had to offer without feeling like a failure if they succeeded without me.   Seeing them grow on their own or without my day-to-day is going to now be a proud moment instead of a hurt because like my gym coaches they are celebrating in the success of what one can do if given several people encouraging and building them up. Eight years ago, the counties looked very different than when I finished last year. It was small steps and letting go and celebrating their work that has moved them down the path they are on.

It's amazing how so many things in the day-to-day tasks that God uses to teach us the bigger lesson to moving forward and being faithful in our journey.