“You are being prepared to grow and give birth to something even better.
Pruning is not punishment – it is the beginning of your greatest season yet.”
At times, it can be hard to let go.
Perhaps because the very things we know we need to let go of once brought us joy, fulfilment, excitement or adventure. But I have come to learn that our lives run like seasons.
Things grow, and they die and this happens over and over again.
I am learning to hold that which grows in my life lightly, because one day, it may die.
Rather than let the death of something I once treasured in my life destroy me, I can choose to see it as setting me up for something new to grow, possibly something even richer than what previously grew there.
Let me explain.
At times, I have tried to hold on to things that have brought me life in the past but are not for my ‘now’.
Leadership is an example of this. I always used to be scared of leadership, and I took to labelling myself as someone who wasn’t a “natural leader” and because I didn’t think leadership came naturally to me, I shied away from it.
Over the years, God unravelled the truth that I WAS a leader and this gift had always been in me, and, like with most gifts, they grow as we practice and are encouraged in them.
I often wonder were my life would be if it wasn’t for other leaders in my life who encouraged the leader in me to come out.
As I went through my 20’s, and my confidence and leadership skills grew, I was given more and more responsibility until, towards my late 20’s, I found myself in a position of leadership in which the buck stopped with me.
This was new to me. I had never been in a situation were I was responsible for overall vision, finance, people, and project management.
When I took this role it massively overwhelmed me. However, like with any new thing we step in to, I found my feet after a year or so and I grew a lot. Then, three years later, as I turned 30, God asked me to step down from my leadership position.
What I didn’t know at the time was, God wasn’t asking me to step down from being a leader. In fact, quite the opposite, He was asking me to step up into a greater level of leadership.
A leadership without official position and recognition.
God had more to teach me and I had more growing to do. Unaware of this at the time, I believed my “leadership” days were gone.
Maybe the reason I quickly adopted this perspective was because when I was younger and growing in my leadership gifts, I saw it as me reaching more of my potential. So, as you can imagine, when I laid down my responsibility, I believed I was somehow stalling my potential and growth.
Growth in my life had always come through increased responsibility and, as a result, I concluded that my growth equalled steps up the ladder. Therefore, I tried to continue to take these steps up the ladder, fearful that if I didn’t, I would stop growing.
It was in my scrambling, God intervened.
God has a habit of making sure I don’t sit with warped perspectives and lies for very long and it came as a shock to me when He started teaching me that growth can come also, when we take steps down the ladder.
He had new things to teach me that could only be discovered in the laying down of leadership position and recognition.
Lessons that could only be learnt from a place of rest.
I didn’t need to strive to get back position and recognition to ensure I continued to grow and reach my potential. This revelation came as these words jumped out of a book I was reading called “Crushed” by T D Jakes
‘If you needed what the Lord took from you do you really believe He would have sought to take it? For where God is taking you, you do not need the weight and refuse of yesterday’s bread. God has an expected end for your life and the trip doesn’t require the extra baggage of last season’s blessing. If the Lord, in all His wisdom, took from you what will weigh you down during the next leg of your journey, why would you seek ways to re-gain it? The only reason He has allowed what we had to be taken from us is because He has promised that He holds even better for us. God never allows anything to be seized and torn from us if He didn’t have something better to put right back in its place’.
It became very clear in that moment that I was trying to hold on to something that once gave me life in the past, because leadership position and promotion had previously helped to bring out the best of me.
I suppose trying to hold on to something that was good is only a natural human instinct.
However, my leadership days were surely not numbered.
God started to teach me what leadership could look like for me as I climbed down the ladder.
After all, the leader in me doesn’t go away just because I don’t have a leadership title.
I have learnt this:
The greatest leaders are those who release others to lead.
They see potential, encourage and permission.
They do not need to do it all themselves but give away responsibility and opportunity so others will thrive and shine.
I can become a great leader not by gaining position, recognition, and promotion but by surrendering it and passing it on to someone else.
God wants me to lead even in my place of rest. However, this time, He wants me to lead with a greater revelation of what it means to really lead.
Where pride doesn’t have a place, just humility and love.
Where self development takes second place.
Where cheering someone else over the finish line fills me with more joy than reaching my own.
Where if all I have is Jesus, not human affirmation or recognition, I can still say and really mean, ‘I’m just fine.’
Where self protection takes a back seat over protecting others.
It took me some time and wrestling for sure, but I finally saw it: God wasn’t calling me to step back from leadership, but to step in to a greater awareness of what it really is and to live it out.
It can be hard to let things go, especially those things in our lives that were once an incredible blessing.
But, in letting it go, you give space for “the something better” God has, to put right back in its place.
But this is not your calling. You will lead by a different model. The greatest one among you will live as one called to serve others without honour. The greatest honour and authority is reserved for the one who has a servant heart. Luke 22:26 TPT