Lead by Loving

If you asked twenty good men today what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen of them would reply, Unselfishness. But if you had asked almost any one of the great Christians of old, he would have replied, Love. . . A negative term has been substituted from a positive . . . The negative idea of Unselfishness carries with it the suggestion not primarily of securing good things for others, but of going without them ourselves as if our abstinence and not their happiness was the important point.  —  C.S. Lewis

The poignant words struck my soul. What if we lived and led by Lewis’ observation? What if we focused less on self-denial and more on self-giving? What if love, instead of duty, marked our days more often?  

From this perspective, the pressure to do more, work harder, live better wanes. We focus less on fixing ourselves and more on fostering good things in others. We start viewing our roles—as wives, moms, friends, and bosses—not only as the means by which God cultivates our own character, but also as the conduits by which we display God’s kindness.

How do we cultivate this type of culture in our homes and ministries? How to we lead out of love, worrying less about ourselves? Here are 3 thoughts:

Atmosphere of Abundance – Our perspective of God determines our perception of self and our posture toward others. If we see God as an exacting judge, then we’ll always focus on the places we fall short. Self-denial becomes the only way we can control our situation and avoid God’s disapproval.

But if we see God as an abundant giver, stewardship replaces self-protectiveness. God’s grace moves us toward generosity. Confident in his care and control over our circumstances, we love and lead others with no strings attached.  Our focus shifts, our insecurities settle, and we share his kindness, trusting there is always enough to go around. 

Attitude of Stewardship – As we lead from a place of abundance instead of scarcity, our approach to leadership changes. We don’t have to earn the opportunities we enjoy. And we don’t have to control and keep them either.

So we start to act as stewards instead of bosses, as conduits instead of control freaks. We trust God to give us and others what we need. Our leadership becomes more about developing people and less about protecting ourselves. 

Action of Service – Suddenly service doesn’t seem so scary. And selflessness feels less forced. Others’ happiness brings us joy too.

Service no longer seems like a place of weakness but a posture of strength. We stoop down, excited to see how God will use a simple action to help someone else. The places once parched by feelings of self-denial are now filled as we give ourselves to something greater than us and ours. The life-giving cycle repeats itself again and again—cultivating happiness in others and bringing it back to us as well. 

Such shifts in our leadership take time and intentionality. They’re made by a thousand small choices to share, steward, and serve. Today, how will you choose to lead by loving? How will you change the culture of your home, ministry, and workplace one generous, happiness-pursuing act at a time? 

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Only the Pure in Heart Will See their Goal


 

Purity. There’s something in it that resonates with me. In my private moments, I try my best to connect with it, but once I start to analyze it, it vanishes.
Now, I’m not talking about the religious purity. This has nothing to do with sex, although we sometimes view chastity and celibacy as somehow “pure,” and have elevated virgins for an idealized image of purity.  “Bless me, father, for I have sinned, by having impure thoughts while growing up a Catholic boy” is not what I mean either.
No, when I look deeply into being pure, I focus on the child in me that still exists despite the many notions and concepts I willingly accepted in a search for knowledge. Purity exists in a rough form, but with lots of unnecessary parts clinging to it, like desires and aversions as well as attachments I grasp as if they mean the life or death of me.
I got plenty of book-learning. I introduced myself to some of the world’s greatest thinkers, but unless I come up with my own idea about things, I can’t say that what I developed was my own “truth” and not someone else’s. I can only be pure following insight and direct experience, and not from a blind faith I desperately want to acquire for my own security.
By pure, I mean “authentic,” “unique,” maybe even “one of a kind.” I am a mix of everything I have come into contact with, but down deep inside there is a feeling, an “understanding” that there is a “raw” me that exists despite the contaminants all of us have been exposed to.

 The “I” of me exists in a pure form that I believe can be found in everyone, if we only strip away what the nay-sayers and even the Dudley Do-rights want us to guide our lives with.
I know purity when I see it, and, on rare occasions, I feel it from others. There are no negative  thoughts, no worries and no supplications for a “better tomorrow.” I become peaceful and calm. The past disappears and there is no future except for the one moment blending into the next  allowing time to slow down and exist in a continuous plane, perhaps one with no beginning and no end.

I find purity in the present and in the interconnectedness I realize exists with all others, even those my formal education advises me not to like (a so-called “enemy”). This purity recognizes that conditions often beyond our control have shaped us negatively or positively. The pure “knowing” child sees this and welcomes the discovery of others searching for their own purity, their own gem sans prejudices or even any strong likes or dislikes.
All we need to do is close our eyes, still our thoughts and descend into the mine shaft we call the mind until reaching the richest vein of ore any alchemist has ever been able to transform into gold.
Purity. It can shine bright in all of us once we discover it within.

(Photo by purity.mataku.com)

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