The blessing and the barrier

I like to dream. I also like to be in control. 

These are both a blessing and a curse to my leadership.  I get excited by new things which have the potential to launch our community into an exciting place.  Therefore, when people come to me with new ideas I’m unlikely to shoot them down straight away and insist that the old way is best.  In some contexts my controlling tendencies can ensure that I don’t go too far in saying ‘yeah, do whatever’ - I want to have my part in it, include my ideas, and understand where we’re going and why.  It often helps me to ask poignant questions and get the best out of someone else’s idea.

Conversely, my dreamy nature means I hate making decisions.  I’d rather spend time in that place of what could be than the place of what needs to happen next, so practical things that desperately need to be done can get left behind.  Meanwhile, the controlling side of me doesn’t let those decisions be delegated to others and hence things can become stressful and pressured.  

A friend of mine once said something which was immensely freeing to me.  There are parts of our character which make us a blessing to the world; there are others that hold us back from being that blessing.  Often, those can be one and the same thing.  

This rings so true with me as I know it's my 'best' traits that can often hold me back as well.  This perspective really helped me, because it's not about 'good' and 'bad' but about the impact of our actions.  What comes naturally to me can be a blessing to my community, but if I'm honest, it can also get in the way of me blessing them, or them blessing each other.  'Things that get in the way' are barriers, not deficiencies - barriers can be overcome through self-discipline, practice and sometimes resignation and avoidance of that area!  Sometimes my dreaming nature encourages others, inspires them to think bigger and I can see the positive impact that has on my community.  At other times I need to discipline my tongue to hold in my dreams or sometimes even walk away and leave the conversation if I find that my dreams and need for them to be heard are getting in the way of others playing their part and us discovering the best conclusion.

I am very blessed with colleagues and bosses who understand this perspective and who see beyond my work to my nature and why I work the way I do.  I realise that that is not always the case, in fact, that that is rarely the case.  However, irrespective of whether those around you at work are aware or concerned about why you work the way you do, I think it’s important for us to acknowledge those things which affect how we impact the world.

What are the things that make you a blessing to the world?  What are those which hold you back from that?  Are they the same thing?  Who can you find to encourage you in the former and challenge you in the latter? (For more on that last question, check out this blog).

Photo Credit: Alper Çuğun

Pippa Elmes

Ministry Training Leader

Pippa supports those in church based student ministry to do their job really well. She loves challenging churches to work with students and equipping them to pioneer new mission opportunities to reach students.                     

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