Stretched. Pulled relentlessly. Growing pains or a pregnancy stretching my soul’s skin and muscles. Almost breaking but stopping short. There is pain and discomfort in the expansion. But I never break. Eventually the increase becomes normal in time for the process to begin again.
This is leadership, or maybe better put as ‘followership’. I follow Jesus therefore I should expect to be stretched, challenged and expanded. If I’m to possess life in all its fullness, all authority, everlasting life then my soul must expand to make room. My heart’s tent pegs too need stretched out. Space for more to give away.
House extensions are messy affairs. I’ve never done one but I’ve seen enough to know that they are more costly, disruptive and stressful than anticipated. There is a period of mess and discomfort before the increased space can be inhabited.
I’m learning to anticipate and lean into this inevitable repeating process. So often I’ve fought it. Cried. Threatened to run away. Shook my fists and stamped my feet in fear. Afraid that the gap was too big, that the stretch would break me. Afraid that my insecurities were louder than the voice of my Father calling me to more. Now I only do some of those things but I also recognise the early signs; the frustrations, the creaks, the claustrophobia and I can anticipate the stretching to come. My joy now too is to interpret this process for others and cheerlead them through it just like my friend and mentor has done for me countless times (God must have given her an extra portion of patience :))
My observation; I see this process repeated time and time again in leaders. The best ‘word’ spoken over me, that sums leadership up is this, “it’s always going to be beyond you Michelle”. I cried when this was prayed over me, not happy Holy Spirit tears. No; tired, frustrated tears that morphed into a resolute acceptance that it was in fact true.
The big learning? God has never let me down in this process. He always fills the gap between where I am, and where I need to be, until I grow into the space, allow the stretch or take the leap. He is always there. Even when I become stuck in my fear or unbelief in myself, He stands patiently in the space waiting for me to lean into Him. Waiting for my nod to indicate that I’m ready for what’s next.
Here’s a link to song that I’m listening to tonight as I write, there’s no clever connect to what i’ve written, it just my soundtrack (and on my worship set list tomorrow too).