Plans, lists, agendas—that’s how I stay focused!
Honestly, it’s not easy for me to understand how people work without an agenda, and yet Grace Thornton challenged me at our Christian Women’s Leadership Luncheon last month to lead differently. When we practice effective Christian leadership qualities of faith in God, we walk with Him through difficult times, and we accept God’s agenda.
Grace Thornton, author of I Don’t Wait Anymore, shared with us how to let go of our own agendas in order to lead with God’s agenda. Having lived overseas, she talked about a “ticket day.” Those are the days when if someone gave you a ticket home, you’d drop everything and take the flight.
Grace inspired us with stories from Elisabeth Elliot. At low moments in Elisabeth’s ministry, God entered and walked with her through them. When we get those ticket days, what will we do?
One day, Grace got her ticket day when the group she was working with got angry with her. She felt that she had ruined all that God had allowed her to do in her overseas work in that one day. To add to the stress, it was the first day of her new roommate’s arrival and she was trying to encourage the new roommate while her world seemed to be falling apart. If someone had given her a ticket home that day, she thinks she would have taken it.
Though it’s good to evaluate why things go awry, but sometimes those times come because God wants us to depend on Him and to walk with Him through difficulties.
Our agendas, even the ones that seem the most ministry-oriented or the most
God-centered, aren’t ours. They’re His. —Grace Thornton
If we follow Christ, we are put in various situations on purpose. Working with God doesn’t mean that things will be easy. We will have difficult things that happen and expectations that aren’t met. Though this surprises us, it doesn’t surprise God.
Grace was surprised when she read a blog post about Elisabeth Elliot that described how this dedicated Christian woman suffered her last years with dementia. Yet Elisabeth still accepted God’s plan. That’s how Grace wants to be at the end of her life.
Grace believes that we can trust God. Even when our childhood dreams or more recent ones don’t materialize, we can give our agendas to God. He will write a better story.
We may not say that we would choose difficulty, but when God is the goal of our work, we have the freedom as Christians to give Him our agendas. We can hand over to God the things that we thought would happen in our lives. He will be able to write a better story.
Our agendas are nothing in the face of the grand story that God’s writing with our life.
Grace says, “We lead because we love God, and we lead with open hands.” She adds, “When every minute of our day ticks around God like an axis, other things fall into place.”
God’s agenda may look very different from ours, but we want Him to lead us. His success may look very different from ours. At the end of our lives, we want to be able to tell God that we did what we believed He purposed for us to do.
Let go of your agenda, and lead with God’s agenda!