How do you know if you are following the right agenda? I want to follow “God’s agenda”, but sometimes what I really want is God’s approval of my own agenda. Funny how God’s voice and my voice can sound a lot alike.
(NOTE: Spirituality is important and is one of the big 5 for this blog: Spiritual Life, Self-Leadership, Life-Management, Relationships, and Vocation.)
I’ve been slowly working my way through the book of Joshua (Bible: Old Testament) in my personal reflection times. It is the story of Joshua leading a million former slaves into a new life, into their “promised land.” In chapter 3 they come to the Jordan river at flood stage and they must strategically cross. The priests were leading the people carrying the Ark of the Covenant, which represented God’s Presence. When the priests put their feet in the swollen Jordan river the water dammed up some distance upstream and the priests and the people walked across the Jordan River bed on dry ground. They walked into God’s agenda for their lives.
They stepped into the water and a miracle happened. The river dried up so they could strategically walk across. Some thoughts:
- They moved forward in God’s agenda
- The miracle didn’t happen until they took a risk
- They moved with the Presence of God
I’ve spent my life trying to discover the perfect path. I’ve cycled through a lot of different thoughts:
- Maybe God has a perfect plan for my life and it will just happen.
- Maybe God’s plan will only be fulfilled if I aggressively make it happen.
- Maybe there is no real plan for my life and out of my spiritual intuitiveness I need to just craft a plan.
- Maybe there are a lot of good paths for me to walk and I just need to pick one.
- Maybe “stuff” just happens and it really doesn’t matter what I do.
I’ve had good things happen over which I wanted to “high-five” God and say, “Yeah, we did it!” I’ve had bad things happen (such as the untimely and sudden death of my first wife after 33 years of marriage) where I just looked at the sky and said, “What the heck was that!” These things have caused me to ask all of the bulleted “may-bes” above.
Here’s the deal:
We must discover the difference between our agenda and God’s agenda.
How do I then differentiate between my agenda and God’s agenda?
- I must first determine why God’s agenda is important or relevant.
- I must act on what I believe and take risks.
- I must move with the Presence of God
God’s Agenda is Important and Relevant
We are part of a bigger picture. We can become so individualistic in our thinking we discount the importance of community and how we all interface together for the common good of all. Sometimes it seems there is no plan and we are all on our own, but my faith and experience tells me otherwise.
Our relationships make us rich, without them life loses meaning.
There are good things to experience, things and relationships that bring so much meaning into our lives. I don’t want to leave my future to chance. I don’t do it in my strategic thinking and planning for organizations, processes, and leadership, and I don’t want to leave it undone for my personal life and those I am leading.
It takes a measure of faith to believe life has a purpose beyond the “dash between the dates”. God’s agenda, His plan and purpose for my life, is relevant to me and I want to discover the right paths to walk in my life, because I desire the right destination.
In Joshua’s story the river did not stop for the people, it stopped for the Presence of God. The river did not stop for Joshua’s agenda, or the people’s agenda, the river stopped because it was God’s agenda.
Arrogance leads me to expect miracles to take place to fulfill my agenda, faith leads me to expect miracles to take place to fulfill God’s agenda.
God’s agenda is both important and relevant because if I operate out of a grand and divine purpose I am going to approach mandates with a God-confidence instead of a self-confidence.
Question: How do you discover God’s agenda for your life? How do you help those you lead discover and pursue God’s agenda for their life?
Act on What you Believe and Take Risks
To take the most important national treasure (The Ark) and step into a river at flood stage is a risk. Remember all the stories of those who try to drive across a flooded road and their 2-ton car is swept away by the current?
I need to anchor in a few things I believe so strongly that I am willing to take huge risks. If it is about me, then I’m a little uncomfortable with that. If it is about what I believe to be a divine direction, then lets step in and do it.
Here’s the thing: We need a duel preparedness. If we step in and the river dries up, cool! If we step in, get swept down river, lose the ark and nearly (or completely) lose our lives, at least we stepped out in something we truly believed to be the right thing–and I’m good with that!
Stop being afraid of making the wrong decision, just have a pure heart, do the best you can with the right motives, and go for it!
Question: How do we help those we lead become risk-takers?
Move With the Presence of God
The ark represented the Presence of God. They followed God. This is key.
We must give attention to the development of our spiritual lives. As transformational leaders we need to give as much time and attention to the spiritual development of those we love and lead as to their professional and temporal development. Sometimes that takes the form of setting an example, or being transparent with your own spirituality in a way appropriate to the relationship.
I position myself daily to quiet my spirit, to get in the Presence of God. Rather than talk endlessly about all of the things I want or need, or the things I just want to get off my chest, I get quiet and I listen. Oh, the insights that come when you listen and journal.
How do we move with the Presence of God:
- We quiet ourselves and listen for insights and impressions.
- We look for the activity of God around us, what does He seem to be doing?
- We listen to the insights of people in our lives we trust.
- Most of all, we seek to have a pure heart with the right motivations so we can trust our spiritual instincts.
I want to be a risk-taker. I want to move forward with what I believe to be God’s agenda.
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