Follow the Leader, Lead the Follower
When our oldest biological son John was three, he already had it.
When his younger brother Luke was three, he had it too.
A captivating charm; different in a sense, John’s was a presence. Luke’s was more a shameful gorgeousness, accompanied by enormous dimples, seductive stare, and delightful magnetism.
Once at soccer practice for their older sister Maggie, John had no less than seven, 7-year-old boys obeying his every command. At the same time, Luke was in the bleachers with about eight, 10-year-old girls cooing and gooing at him as he pretended to be 3 years younger than he actually was, just to get a better look at their training bras.
And of course, we want our children to lead. Better lead than follow.. right?
[Tweet “we want our children to #lead. Better lead than #follow.. right?”]
John never worried about a having a friend. We would go to a park and my daughter would count to ten, by seven or eight, John had a gang. I recall one time the gang consisted of only two and after about 10 minutes the two came to their mom and asked to go home. When their mom inquired why I heard one of them say, “Cause that pretty kid is bossing us around, and he smells like cereal.”
Indeed, he was pretty… and had a healthy appetite for Frosted Flakes.
Still, neither of our sons ever lost their edge for leading; however, I began to notice they both lead the little guys. Both sons always champion friends that seem to somehow be left out, misunderstood or a little different. And I don’t say this to brag, they came this way – with zealousness for the underdog. John has been known to give his lunch to the homeless or his bible (with our name and address engraved inside the cover) to a prisoner in a roadside work crew. Luke is everyone’s best friend, including the prisoner in the roadside work crew.
I remember one year I wanted to sign the boys up for a leadership camp at a local university. When I told them of my plans they argued separately it was a waste of resources. They debated if one is to attend a camp where everyone is to be trained up to lead, who would follow them? The rhetoric included a 10-point slide show about how a better use of funds would be to send them to a camp for obese children or girls with self-esteem issues so as to help them learn to gain minions and see more training bras.
We opted instead to have them dig post holes all summer on our ranch far, far away vulnerable teenaged girls.
Yesterday at the park with our two toddler sons, Sam and Charlie, aka the vandals I witnessed some of the same tendencies in them both. They quickly made friends, they would lead, share, and instigate. Sam is eager to share, Charlie is speedy in compassion.
Is this nature or nurture?
I don’t know.
John and Luke aren’t babies anymore. I call them the manbabies.
Maggie, our oldest daughter reported to us that she sees the manbabies on their shared university campus often. They are having a good time, lots of new friends and different group dynamics. Tonight she told us that she was at Whataburger with friends at 1:00 am and a gaggle of gorgeous college girls came clamoring through the door; a buzz of late night giggles, short shorts, and French fry orders. Holding the door open for them and then filling their Styrofoam soda cups was a familiar leader, John with a Cheshire cat grin on his face.
Someone must lead the people.
And you can’t always pick your leader, but you can always pick how you will be lead. You can follow with common sense. You can veer off to one side if your leader smells like cereal flakes, or is showing too much interest in your training bra. You can speak up, and object, and still be someone who exhibits mercy, compassion, and grace.
Ah, if you have received mercy, compassion, and grace. Because a good leader knows, you cannot give what you haven’t received. This I know of my sons, they lead well because they have received well. Both struggled with learning disabilities, those struggles developed character that was based on a need to receive help… which they then gladly offered to others; others, in need of compassion. And because they are compassionate and crave mercy – they tend to ooze grace.
By their hardships, they are better leaders. By their grace, they are excellent followers.
By their salvation they are righteous, and by that righteousness, they are free from sin and condemnation.
So you may not like who is leading, but if you want them to lead with mercy, compassion, and grace they must first receive mercy, compassion, and grace – which is a gift.
A gift we, both the leaders and the followers did nothing to deserve.
If God is for us… Who can be against us?
If the blood worked, what must I worry about?
[Tweet “If the blood worked, what must I worry about? #fearfightingbook”]
Jesus said, “Come follow me… and I will make you fishers of men…”
He will make leaders out of the fishermen, tax collectors, criminals, and the least of these… and He will be glorified.
He who commands the seas to only come so far…
The Leader, the lion… and the Lamb.
For it is by He alone, captives will be set free. And by His stripes… I am free to lead.
Receive the gift of mercy, believe what He is saying about you… you are righteous. Lead others to this merciful truth… let the captives storm the gates.
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami
For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. Romans 8:20-21
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I cannot believe it is finally here! My good friend Kelly Balarie’s book is all things fear fighting! Learn more HERE!