I met with two friends this week. Both gifted leaders. Both in a similar season of growth. Both asking some hard questions. Both facing challenging circumstances. But for one, the lesson was to submit…for the other, to push. When do you submit and when do you push?
Submitting to those in authority over us can be easy enough if we have a confidence in their ability to lead well and when we know they care for us. Not so easy though when our supervisors don’t seem to give a hoot about us, and when we know we could to it better.
Submission is a critical lesson for us to learn in this work of leadership. It has a way of cultivating a relational honoring and sensitivity. But it especially teaches us to be in a posture of dependence upon God. Chances are good if we have a hard time submitting to those in authority over us–even if they are wrong, we will struggle with our submitting to the Lord when it doesn’t make sense for us to do so.
But sometimes the curriculum for our development is just the opposite of submission. At times our development invites us to critical lessons like stepping-up-to-the-plate, taking stronger initiative, or even to getting a bit pushy. The ability to push is often limited not by external factors, but by internal ones–those experiences, people and circumstances that over time have squished our ability to take heart, to have courage. One side of our growth toward maturity depends on our ability to do what we instinctively know to be right.
And sometimes the right thing to do is to push, knowing full well that if we do things will turn toward the good. But for some of us that is a chunky deal. ”What if someone gets upset and pushes back?” ”What if the thing gets destroyed because I pushed too hard?” ”What will they say?” or ”What if I succeed?”
How do you know when to submit and when to push? When I asked each friend what they felt their heart was telling them to do in their particular set of circumstances, their responses took the conversation to another level. For the one friend who had the gifting to make the obvious better choices than his supervisor, the lesson (when he listened to his heart) was to submit. For the other gifted friend who struggled to believe her voice mattered, the lesson (when she listened to her heart) was to push.
Are you being invited to submit or to push? Three things for you to consider: (1) listen to your heart whispering what you know to be true, (2) buy a friend a cup of coffee and share with them what emerged from your heart, and (3) this week act on what you now know you need to do.