Wow!

There’s a beautiful overlook in the Oakland Hills where we take visiting family and friends for a breathtaking view of Oakland, the Bay and in the far-off distance, San Francisco. On every trip to the overlook we would guide our guests along a short trail lined with flowered weeds to a designated spot furnished with a dilapidated wooden bench. Everyone would gaze at the amazement of such a beautiful view. Wow!

On one specific occasion, our trip to the overlook rendered a different experience. My aunt and cousin were in town and my youngest had a friend visiting from the east coast. All of us, including my oldest daughter, went to the overlook. We took them along the trail and relived the usual “amazing” moment. But that day my cousin presented an option to travel a faint path just along the edge of our amazing view. Before we could talk ourselves out of the unusual suggestion, my cousin was already leading the way. She simply hollered for us to “come on”. A little fearful, we all took each other’s hand and led each other through the sticky brush. Some of us squealed. Some of us hollered. Some of us were silent. But we stayed the course, anxious to get to the end. Along the way we happened upon a serene clearing that fancied a huge tree with hanging strong branches. We stayed a while there, the younger ones playing from the branches, enjoying the hovered area and the cool breeze. In no time my cousin was back on her feet leading us further along the trail, determined there was an even greater experience ahead. We followed suit, hand in hand, one behind the other. Then it happened.

There was another clearing. However, this one was much bigger than the last. There were no hovering trees or branches. Just an open clearing where the sun had its stage to shine freely. And then we saw it. The view left us speechless. The “amazing” view we thought we experienced along our usual path was magnified ten times over with what we were experiencing in that moment. Wow!

The impact of leadership is realized in these two experiences. The leader who takes his/her followers down clear paths of opportunity will yield expected outcomes, leaving usual impressions, right along the edge of promise. The leader who takes his/her followers down hidden paths will inspire faith and courage, yielding joy and peace, leaving an impact of purpose and an assurance of being in the right place at the right time. The glory of God shines the brightest on the unusual leading of God, on the uncomfortable journeys that lead to an anticipated destination of indescribable beauty – indescribable grace. Wow!

A Renewed Life!

Some things need to be said, again and again. “We’re not promised tomorrow.” These words can cut deep in hindsight and in pressing through. However, these words are lived, rather than mourned, when we embrace the “right now” moment God is allowing us to experience, for what will later be revealed as gathered parts of a whole that will all work together for our good (Romans 8:28).

We are inundated with reminders in our news, communities and families that indeed tomorrow is not promised. Yet, we must fight the urge to feel helpless or hopeless. We must succumb to a “a-ha” moment that illuminates a “yes”, eyes wide open, to a new perspective of our present moments. The Bible reminds in Romans 12:2 that a new perspective is a transformation, a renewing of the mind that allows us to figure out what God’s will is – what is good and pleasing and mature (Common English Bible).

Love more and despise less. Look to the sidelines rather than the spotlight. Walk in the beauty that is your story and refuse to wallow in comparisons. Run toward the weary, the mistreated and left behind. And resist the adversary in all of its forms of deception and hostility. Let’s run our race like God is watching. Let’s run our race like our tomorrow depends on it.