My wife has struggled with aspects of some circumstances we are walking through and there have been times that I have taken on her struggle as a burden to carry myself. I hear her dissatisfaction and carry it as a task to fix; a problem to solve. Then, when I can’t solve it right away, I get frustrated and now there are two of us in a funk. All I ever had to do was listen and allow her to experience what she is experiencing without necessarily trying to swoop in and miraculously change things with a Hail Mary effort. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a time and place for a good rescue and a solution to the problem but what it does mean is that if I can’t get it done that day, at that time, then I am doing her a disservice if I take on her burden and join in that funk which was hers.
When I did that (take on the funk), which I do a little too often, then I have ceased to lead and begun to follow. She is now leading and she actually wanted me to, at the very least, walk beside her. She doesn’t want the burden of the mantle of leadership but she does want to be heard. She does want me to meet her where she is without hijacking the emotions with my own frustrations from not being able to fix things and inadvertently make it all about me. I understand this reality and still mess it up more often than I should.
Julie needs me to make a way for her; in fact any leader is there for one purpose only and that is to make a way for those that they are responsible for. It may sound old-fashioned or weird, but my wife wants me to lead and I want to lead. That doesn’t mean that I am to lord over or dominate her, but to take the point and forge a trail that will then be easy for her to walk. If there are lions, tigers, bears or poison darts to encounter along our journey I am to take them for the team so that the team doesn’t have to. The purpose of my leadership is to celebrate my wife and her beauty as well as her purpose. It’s not all about me; in fact, the all about me is only about her on the days that I’m doing it right. Those days are more than they were and less than I would prefer.
Think about the result of the dynamics whenever someone made a way for you. Your reaction was almost undoubtedly one of trust and respect for the person that sacrificed for you to be celebrated. You wanted to follow them and were fiercely loyal because they earned it from you and the last thing you wanted was to lose that advocate, that leader, who you knew made you better. Submission wasn’t to their authority but to the way that they made for you, trusting that it would be safe and fruitful because the history of their behavior suggested that the results would be beneficial to you.
None of us are designed to get “there” on our own; and if we are leaders in any capacity, we have been granted that privilege of leadership with the mantle of making a way for those that are in a position to celebrated because of our leadership and their gifting. There was One that made a way for us but sometimes we are too arrogant or stubborn to walk in The Way that was made, trying with great frustration and extra striving to get their on our own. There is Rest in submission and there is no way to know how to truly lead until we are comfortable enough to truly follow.