As I read of the miracles Jesus performed, in John’s account, I see there’s a pattern. Jesus puts emphasis at the very end, before he dies, on being a “servant leader” and gives his disciples the task of loving each other as He loved them. The devotional portion after the chapters goes on to talk about the meaning of servant leader and how Jesus implicated this in his teachings. The questions after ask me – How have I been called to be a servant leader? The “servant” part is pretty easy for me; I know I’ve been called to help other widows. I understood what I’m doing and building wasn't going to be easy. I knew there would be long working hours, a ton of writing, and a lot of time in front of people, being an example, and being way outside my comfort zone. I knew I’d have to spend a lot of time and energy in mental spaces and among emotions I’d purposely removed myself from, to help others find their way out, too. This all still, sounded better to me, than working a 9-5 job building something I didn't care about. Wasting my life on someone else’s dream, collecting a check to pay for a home I’m never in. Starting my own business doing what I love – I jump out of bed everyday with the conviction that I’m doing what I supposed to be doing; learning new things, helping people, using talents I’ve always had, for a purpose I was given.
What I didn't expect was the leadership portion. I’ve never wanted to be a “leader”, per se. I’ve always steered clear! Being a leader at work was the LAST thing I wanted – because of what I expect of a leader. When I meet GOOD leaders I respect them deeply, because GOOD ones are hard to come by. A good leader knows EVERYONE’s job, and can do it at moments notice, just in case they need to. A leader plans the beginning, middle and end steps of the whole project – and makes contingency plans just in case. A leader knows they don't know all the answers – but knows exactly where to find them and how to say so without fumbling or seeming incapable. A leader is responsible for being an effective communicator, speaking clearly and expertly so that the team knows exactly what is expected of them and is able to perform without issue. A leader makes the team feel as if each person has equal importance in their roles. A leader motivates others with her own real life experiences, empathizes using the golden rule, and energizes with the idea that anything is possible if a positive “we” attitude is applied.
That’s a BIG role to fill. Bigger than being queen of IG, bigger than being an awesome blogger, and bigger than having followers in a facebook group. Bigger than playing small, staying safe inside my own sandbox. And I will admit – that scares me. But.. in the same token I feel like I’ve always known this role would be required of me. The fact that I even know what it takes, ( from having some not-so-good leaders as well as excellent examples) makes me suspect I might have this knowledge for a reason. I know I could be a great leader. I just know its a LOT of work!
Being a widow forced me to take point in my own home, and in ways I didn't even realize my husband was leading – I had to l learn to fill in. I had take over, and do well in order to lead my children in the right direction going forward, and earn their respect and obedience performing both parental roles. My own mother, devoted her life to education and really helping people (and she’s one of those “in the trenches”, whatever-it-takes, I’m-not-gonna-let-you-fail type of leader) – and because of her I know exactly what “servant leader” means, all that it entails, and how to employ it. I've already become some thing of a “thought leader” in writing my book and spreading a message of hope and renewal for widows after loss.
But am I ready, to apply this to BIGGER work? Is my walk with widowhood a doorway to leadership? Is Jesus’ example a guide?
Has being a widow pushed you to become a leader? In your home, or at work? Did you adapt quickly or did it take you a while? Do you feel like lessons learned in this arena could be used elsewhere in your life, perhaps even as part of your purpose? Are you employing a servant mentality in your leadership?