One of the phrases that is common amongst church going Christians is this...Doing Life Together. Although "Doing Life Together" is important what is even more important is...Doing Life Together With The RIGHT PEOPLE.
The idea that church promote is this...Get into a small group and that small group is to do life together. My question is this... Is that that most accurate biblical understanding of doing life together? So often we get in a small group for the study, or the common interest of the group, but just because we are in the group for those reasons, are the people in the group necessarily the right people to be doing life together with? What do you really know of those people? How about how those people live their lives? We all know Christians that take on the title of Christian but definately don't live their life accordingly. Should we be really doing life together with those Christians? Now I am not saying that we should live our life in an effort to influence those Christians, but are they the right ones to influence us?
2 Chronicles gives us some wonderful wisdom on this subject. There is a story in 2 Chronicles 10 about a young king named Rehoboam who doing life together with the wrong people. Those wrong people were giving this young new king the wrong advice. King Rehoboam had the benefit of his father's inner circle, men who gave him wise Godly counsel. But the foolish young king rejected their advice and instead looked for advice that agreed with his own opinion. HUGE MISTAKE!
Here is six qualities of individuals you should consider doing life with...
1. EXPERIENCE. People who have been down the road of life and understand it.
2. HEART FOR GOD: People who place God FIRST and uphold HIS values in their life.
3. OBJECTIVITY: People who can see the pro's and con's of the issues.
4. LOVE FOR PEOPLE: People who love others and value them more than things.
5. COMPLEMENTARY GIFTS: People who bring diverse gifts to the relationship.
6. LOYALTY TO THE LEADER: People who truly love and are connected to you with you best at heart.
Have you ever come across somebody that just seems to rub you the wrong way? We all have, at some point in our life. Most of the time, when we come across somebody that seems to be difficult or demanding, overbearing, spacey, unpredictable, explosive, and a pity pot we just turn the other way and don't want to deal with them. We don't want to have a relationship with them...unless they are family...then your stuck with them. We don't want to be around them, we don't want to talk to them, we just don't fit well with them and so why have the added stress of their life to your life.
So what does that leave us? That leaves us connecting with the type of people who share a similar personality. Haven't you ever noticed how like minded people seem to flock together? If we spend our lives avoiding certain types of people we will miss out on a lot of opportunities to impact their lives. So the question is... how do you cope with difficult relationships in your life?
There are 7 key types of personalities and strategies for dealing with each type to help influence greatness in their lives. .
1. The Sherman Tank. This is the person that is like a bulldozer. They dominate you and ride right over people. It can be hard to get a word in during a conversation. The strategy for dealing with a person like this is to consider the issues that are important to you and be willing to stand up for what you believe is right. Know that you don't always have to engage in battle with this person. Accept their personality, but battle when it's important to you.
2. The Space Cadet. This person just seems to live on a different plant than you. They don't make much sense during conversations and often leave you wondering...where did that come from. The strategy for positively dealing with a person like this is to identify their unique gifts and then help them develop them.
3. The Volcano. This person is explosive and unpredictable. They have a short fuse and often times it feels like your walking on egg shells when around this person. You never know what you will say to set them off. The strategy to influence this person is more on a one on one basis. You want to listen to them and be direct with them. This is not a person to beat around the bush with as they don't. The connect to directness.
4. The Thumb Sucker. This person is a pity pot. It's always woe is me. My life sucks, this world sucks, everything sucks. This person is often seeking recognition for their view of the world. The view of the glass being half empty can really be a downer and can bring you down after a while. It can be easy to validate this person's view. Don't! One of the greatest ways to change a persons view of how bad their life is to expose to a persons life who is worse. There is an amazing opportunity to impact this persons live by serving with this person at a shelter or something that exposes them to real troubles.
5. The Wet Blanket. This person is similar to the thumb sucker, in that they are always down. This person is more down about everything else other than themselves. They look to booster themselves up by putting the world down. They often struggle with hidden identity issues and so they have to make them selves appear to be greater than what they really think they are. You can help this person achieve greatness in their live by being honest with them, not catering to their downing of everything, and help them balance between leading a conversation and following a conversation. You will find a wet blanket likes to lead the conversations. Since this person struggles with identity issues, find ways to help this person develop their identity.
6. The Garbage Collector: This person just seems to attract the worst in life. Their "so-called" friends bring them down instead of lifting them up. Everything seems to pile sky high with the garbage collector. Just when you couldn't think things get worse...they do. The garbage collector has learned that negativity wrapped around their personal issues garners attention and pity. You can help this person by challenging their statements and forcing them to honesty. The garbage collector dramatizes their life, often embellishing to the point of out right lying. They tell fisherman size stories, where the fish keeps getting bigger and bigger.
7. The User: This person demands lot of time and energy. This love to be around you and often ask you for everything under the sun. If they are going somewhere, do you want to go with them. Can you help them, can they help you....they just seem to always be there...talking up residence in your life. This person requires boundaries and accountability. The User might actually one of the easiest to help lead to greatness because they invest themselves completely. It's just finding a positive outlet for growth to help them invest themselves into.
The one thing about leadership that most leaders fail to learn and which explains why so many leaders fail is this...Leadership demands constant sacrifice. Leadership is an ongoing process, not a one-time I made it to the top. The circumstances change from person to person, but the principle doesn't: The true meaning of leadership is sacrifice.
We are all called to leadership in some capacity. For men, we are called to lead our families and love our wives as God loved the church. For women, you called to lead your house. But how effective are you really? Most men struggle leading their families and the divorce rate proves the lack of loving your wife as God loves the church. Most women strive to be a virtuous woman but like men fall short. So what is it that causes to fail in this area of effective leadership? I think we get so busy pursuing life that we never stop to evaluate what price we are willing to pay to become more effective. I know in my own life I went years pursuing a goal at work and although I desired to have a better family life, my family life suffered because I never stopped to consider that the price for a better family would mean sacrificing time from my work goals. I loved my family, but found myself growing bitter and resentful towards my family because in my mind I was leading...providing for my family by the fruit of my work.
Like most of you I found myself in a tug-of-war contest between my job and my family. My wife wanted more time, my kids wanted more stuff (because that is what they were used to in replace of my time) and I wanted to be the best provider I could be. And this battle of between family and work caused a lot of heated arguments. You may be in this exact situation in your life. The good news is there is an answer...
A quick look at Moses' life shows how God molded him into an effective leader. Consider how Moses was able to give up so much and make such great sacrifices without growing bitter at God. Yes, without growing bitter at God. God is always the last you grow bitter at. First it's your spouse, then your family, then your employer, then yourself for allowing yourself to get into the situation, which ultimately leads to being bitter at God. What made Moses willing to return to Egypt as God's servant after he had enjoyed the best the country had to offer? His understanding of the law of sacrifice. Moses understood A Leader Must Give Up To Go Up.
Here is four things about Moses understanding of the Law of Sacrifice.
1. Moses understood as a leader he was not alone with God. Moses had an opportunity to spend 40 years of his life alone with God when he was exiled in Midian. Moses' time of reflection had enhanced his ability to hear and recognize God's voice. So when God appeared to him at the burning bush, he knew it was him. As a leader you have to take some alone time. You will never clearly hear God's voice if you are too busy listening to all the other voices crying for your attention. Don't force God to send you to the desert to get your attention.
2. Moses was honest with God. By the time Moses met God at the burning bush, no trace of his cockiness remained. He knew his weaknesses and humbled himself before the Lord. It's easy to fall in to the arrogance of leadership...The look at me I am in charge attitude. It's this attitude that drives a wedge in the our ability to lead and creating an impact. Who wants to be follow arrogance? A clear understanding of your weaknesses and being humble is the only you can increase in your leadership. It is impossible to sacrifice without humility.
3. Moses was hungry for God. God has to be first in our life. You will never effectively lead anybody if you are not first being led yourself. It took Moses four decades in the wilderness to desire knowing God. It is impossible to be self-reliant and hungry for God at the same time.
4. Moses was broken by God. God does not force his will on anybody. He didn't force his will on Moses and he won't with you. Like Moses God is waiting on your willingness to come to him. Brokenness involves two things. 1) Removing inappropriate pride and self-reliance and 2) building a healthy God-relaince. God taunted Moses's self reliance in the desert, but to create trust God had to break Moses's fears. God is trying to the same thing with you.
You may be feeling like your in wilderness right now and it may be that God is trying to break of you fear.
-Fears concerning Yourself. Doubting your value.
-Fears concerning God. Fearing who God might be.
-Fears concerning Others. Fearing how others will respond to you.
-Fears concerning Ability. Doubting yourself.
It wasn't until Moses willfulness was broken, his fears overcome, and his purpose reaffirmed that Moses finally placed himself in the hands of God. Moses learned that life is filled with trade-offs - but you can trade up only if you have some to sacrifice. If you desire to lead your family better... if you desire to lead yourself better...if you hope to find and fulfill the purpose for which God created you, then you must have to give.
What kind of relationships do you have? The easy answer is to list friends, family, etc.. and segregate them out based on the amount of time you spend on that relationship. I have a BF, and BFF. Your BFF has more of a connection to you then your BF. But short of the connection to you, which is really dependent on the time you invest...what kind of relationships do you really have?
There is really only two types of relationships in life. Transactional and Transformational. For so many of us our best relationships are still centered around the transaction. The focus is what can I do for them and what can they do for me? And the relationship works until the transactions stop. This is why we go thru relationships today like water.
So what is the difference?
Transactional relationships seldom last for extended periods of time. The few that do, evolve from what they started out to be. I have a several best friends. One of them is from when I was kid. We used to spend all of our time together, doing things together, we were practically attached to the hip. We were always doing things for each other. As we got older the title remained, but if I were honest the relationship is almost null and void. We now talk once or twice a year. Usually about nothing, other than a how are you doing and how is the family? The transactions in the relationship stopped as we got older and began to really live our lives, when the transactions stop the relationship all but stopped.
Can you think of a time when you got really upset at a friend? I know I can. How about a time when you were hurt by a friend? Again...I can. The amazing thing between both the anger and the hurt was that the friend wasn't there when I needed him. I had a need, he couldn't meet the need for whatever reason...and so the relationship was impacted by the lack of the transaction that I needed at the time.
Now, Transformational relationships are far and few between but are forever lasting. Have you ever had someone so impact your life that you could go 20 years and not see or speak to them but have nothing but absolute love for them. I know that in my past...I have had a few encounters like this. The funny thing was... the friendship was usually very brief. They impacted my life and that was that. However, I they have a very special place in my heart that none of my BF or BFF's have. I am sure you can think of someone that impacted you like this.
I think of Jesus and his relationships with the disciples. Everyone of them was transformational. His focus was never what he could get out of the relationship but rather what he give to the relationship that would transform the disciples from point A to point B. His focus was their growth.
When your focus in the relationship is the other persons personal growth and transformation, what they "do"...their action... has less of an impact on you. Your not taking their action to heart against you. The disciples screwed up all the time. They were constantly loosing their level of believe in Jesus. Did Jesus get angry...NOPE...he kept focusing on their personal transformation until they got it. Once they got it, he sent them on to do the same thing.
When was the last time you said to your BFF... hey leave me and go impact someone else? We never say things like that...why? Because we want to continue receiving the transactions! If you want to take your relationships to a whole new level, try focusing on being transformational and not transactional. Not only will it change the relationship for the better, but it will change you for the better as well.