It’s hard to believe that just a few weeks ago we were fully immersed in planning and preparing for spring conferences. It seemed crazy that almost overnight we shifted the Fredericksburg, then Richmond conferences from live events to virtual ones. The dominoes of the culture shift we see now were falling, and everyone has lost something.
Men, how can we lead well during the crisis that we, our families, our churches, and our culture now face?
We first need to LAMENT our losses.
Lament is a passionate expression of grief or sorrow. What are you grieving now as a result of the pandemic? Many have lost income, weddings are being postponed, our kids have lost special events like proms and graduations, families can’t come together beside the death bed of a loved one or even at a funeral.
It’s time to stop, evaluate, and take inventory of your loss. Recognize these real emotions. We can follow Jeremiah’s example in Lamentations where he expresses his grief over Israel’s breaking covenant with God. I know from experience it doesn’t always come easy, but we need to lead the discussion with our families on this. One great way to begin is at the dinner table where families can eat and meet together. Ask your wife and kids what they are grieving, and be careful to remember that what may not seem like a big deal in your life might feel like a big loss to them. Start the robust conversations, give them room to lament, and hear their voices clearly.
During this crisis, we also need to take the time to LEARN.
Dive into learning about the Lord, yourself, and other people. Slow down, and take the time to evaluate. Be like the Men of Issachar in 2 Chronicles 12:32 who took the time to gain the wisdom and understanding necessary to respond to the times. They learned what they ought to do. What ought we to do? Take the time to evaluate what you had been investing in before this crisis hit. Is it less valuable than you thought? The things that we miss and lament can tell us where our priorities lie, and many are discovering possible idols.
On the other hand, are there things you’ve discovered now to be valuable that you will continue to invest in moving forward? What about things you were missing and need to add back into your life? Continue to invest in valuable experiences like reading, cooking family meals, and game time with family.
Learn about those around you. Their concerns may manifest in anger or an outburst about something that seems random. Perhaps a daughter not getting to go to prom or graduation may experience angst, and what looks like the problem is just a reaction to the real issue. It’s time to take a breath, and stop trying to solve the problem immediately and tactically. We must be like the Men of Issachar who are willing to look for the core issue. Sometimes guys like to solve problems in the flesh, but we need Holy Spirit wisdom to understand and respond appropriately.
We must also LEAD well.
John Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership explains that leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. Since the Garden of Eden, God designed men to lead, so how are we influencing? What are you doing with what you are grieving and learning? The world is different, so lean into that. How will you respond differently? When I bring home stress and tension from my day, I can see a negative influence on my family, and it impacts the mood in my home. Galatians 5:22-23 teaches us that we need the Holy Spirit to manifest the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in our lives. Is your household full of fruit because of your leadership? In order to lead our families well, we must first lead ourselves into the presence of the Lord daily, in prayer and meditation on His Word, and pray that God will fill you with the Spirit, that the fruits of the Spirit will be part of the aroma of your home.
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