I like control. I like to know where God is going, exactly what He is doing, exactly when we will arrive. I also like to remind God of His need to behave in ways that fit with my clear ideas of Him. For example, God is just merciful, good, wise, loving. The problem, then, is that God is beyond the grasp of every concept I have of Him. He is utterly incomprehensible. – Pete Scazzero in Emotionally Healthy Spirituality
You know when something happens… I mean something that’s both funny and painful. It is painful, yes but very funny at the same time. So while you laugh the element of pain is present. Sometimes it’s a truth that ‘rocks us’ thus and at other times, incredulity. This is just me now imagining… I think of Abraham & Sarah’s response to God when He told them they were going to have a son was a mixture of both.
Abraham fell flat on his face. And then he laughed, thinking, “Can a hundred-year-old man father a son? And can Sarah, at ninety years, have a baby?” – Gen 17:17 (MSG)
Abraham & Sarah were faced with a promise by God, made in the middle of blatantly contradicting reality. This is the nature of God’s promises at times. They come to us when circumstance and even ourselves are not in agreement. We often don’t doubt God’s ability but His timing and whether He will do it for us. I think that’s the crux of our believing / faith struggles; “will God do this for me?” or “when will He come through?”.
Often when God makes a promise to us, some of our initial reactions are, like Abraham, “will you really do this for me? how will you make it happen?”. After God makes a promise we have sought or hoped for, for a while, I think it is more appropriate to celebrate than challenge His faithfulness to fulfill.
But I’ll never forget the advice you gave me; you saved my life with those wise words. – Psalm 119:93 (MSG)
Rest in Him and the truth of His word and promise today. Delay (in our eyes) is not necessarily denial!
I shared 4 of 9 ways to guarantee your failure yesterday… here are the rest of the 9 ways to secure your failure!
- Don’t set milestones and celebrate achievements. A goal will be more achievable when you set smaller steps or milestones. Milestones can be celebration points that help you realize how far you’ve come and how much further to go. When teams, leaders and people in general don’t celebrate or acknowledge progress they can easily get despondent.
- Allow past failures to be an inhibiting and not liberating force.
- Always hang out with people that talk about why it can’t be done. You strengthen what you echo. What you constantly listen to will affect your outlook. This group of people is normally a gathering of those that aren’t doing or haven’t tried anything themselves!
- Hang out with those who criticize the doers. There are times I’ve been around people that always find something to criticize in other people’s attempts. Eventually, when it was my turn to act, I was afraid about what the same people would say about me and my attempts or methods. (also see number 3)
- Do everything solo. When you do everything on your own, especially in areas of your ignorance and ineptitude success is far from guaranteed!
Here are four of nine ways to guarantee failure… In some cases one item can guarantee but often, it’s a normally a ‘concoction’ of a couple of them…
- Do nothing! No matter how good your plans or vision or goals are, nothing will guarantee them not being realized than inactivity. This can be brought by just being lazy or procrastination. Rule number one to failing – don’t do anything! Perfectionists are often the greatest causalities in this area. Waiting for something to be ‘perfect’ before they can make forward movement or waiting for the perfect conditions to act. The truth is there will always be some condition that can be better. Embrace that perfection is a process and journey embarked on, not a destination.
- Procrastination is not only a thief of time, but a thief of success and progress. Always pushing things to be done in the future can can rob you of possible opportunities. Some moments may not come again or you may not be able to get the same impact or results another time.
- Always cower in the face of risk. I’m not advocating for reckless risk taking but playing it safe will definitely not guarantee success! If you’re going to be successful you will need to take risks at some point! An element of risk makes up the formula of success.
- Listen to everybody. The fact that ‘everyone’ can share an opinion with you doesn’t mean you have to follow it. What is relevant to you and what will add to you advancing. I like what Bill Cosby said; “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody”
I thought I’d share one of the letters I wrote to some of the young leaders I serve with…
Am sure you know that Joshua succeeded Moses… Imagine succeeding Moses! A leader who (boldly) faced one of the most feared and powerful leaders of a particular time in history. A leader who led 3 million whining, complaining and ungrateful people. Imagine following after someone who walked with such humility that God himself would commend his humility as never ever attained, let alone surpassed! Imagine following after a leader who had immense respect for that the thought of even walking in their shoes would seem somewhat “sacrilegious”. (Not that I’m completely aware of Joshua’s sentiments, as just merely trying to picture what his disposition was). Am sure you will emphatically agree, it would be indeed an extremely tough act to follow!
When I think of all the things I’ve just highlighted, it doesn’t surprise me that one of the things God ensured established early, as a key ingredient, in his leadership was courage. The very nature of leadership demands it. It takes courage to lead others (and sometimes including yourself) to uncharted or unfamiliar territory. It takes courage to be in a place where your vision and your plans are in the open for all to see and challenge. It takes courage to live in the space of such vulnerability. It takes courage to live and accept responsibility for lives either than your own. It takes courage for you to be in a place where you hear from God for the sake of other lives besides your own. Especially challenging at those times when you struggle to hear God for yourself! Courage, courage, courage! My encouragement to you for today is:
- Don’t be afraid to lead.
- Don’t be afraid to do and or say what God is saying to you. You stand to lose more as an individual and a team when you go with your fear than what God requires of you.
- Not every leader got everything right all the first time or all the time. You will make mistakes. Let this fact be liberating and not inhibiting. The worst mistake you could do is not respond when you should.
- Seek the wisdom of those that have gone before. You don’t need to know every thing.
- And, also very important… Draw your confidence as you lead from God by cultivating your relationship with Him.
What would you do if you were absolutely confident God was with you? – Pete Wilson