The flames dance in the fireplace and I am fairly certain the windchill is below 0 outside right now. Yet, inside is a fortress of warmth and love. Granted it doesn’t take a lot to be warmer than a sub-zero windchill outside, this family/ ethos/ home has meant so much to me this year. It is a warmth of love and safety that I am feeling. No matter what else has happened in the world, nation, state, or city,…my family (under my roof), extended family (related some how), and sub-cultural families that we create through common interests and activities, all have played a significant role in shaping me this year. But I have seen a growth and felt a tangible awareness of the joy and love in our home in 2017. So in that sense, I am forever grateful for 2017.
I personally have pressed in a measure deeper in my commitment to my walk with Christ. Am I as deep and consistent as I want to be? No way. However, I know that I have seen a measure of fruit in my life that can only come from being in that place of abiding that we are each called to. So, again, I am grateful for 2017 and where I have come from and areas by which I have progressed. And yet I am sitting here knowing I want and need more. I am not talking “I resolve to pray 5 minutes more per day…” or on the other side of that “I resolve to wake up at 4am every day and pray for 2 hours….” I am not there on either of these examples, and please know I know people that do and have said both of these. They are valid and admirable decisions for them. For me, I just simply say – more. If I had 20 of something and I now have 21, I have more. If I have 30 of that same item now, I have more. If I end up with 50 of that item in a given time period, I have more. The parable of the talents comes to mind. Steward that which is given to you and don’t bury the gifts and callings which are assets to you and the specific spheres of influence for each of us.
Side note: Happy New Year to those on the West Coast as it just turned midnight Pacific Time.
As I was trying to articulate, I see 2018 as a year of significance, and influence.
I believe that this is personal, and corporate. When I worked with student leadership development at my Alma-Mater, one of the core lessons I taught was what is leadership. The core meaning we arrived at was not just “leadership is influence” even though that’s not a false statement. It is, however, incomplete. That is to say positive and meaningful leadership boils down to influence which results in positive change.
An example I gave by way of a question, was to ask “Was Hitler a great leader?” This always instigated a wonderful discussion. My point was that while he was a highly influential and impactful leader, it did NOT result in positive change from the perspective of respect for others and value of life. Thus, I would not consider him a great leader. We are called to be great and positive vessels of influence.
So, for me, and those I know and have any wafting hint at influencing in life, my challenge is to endeavor to be the positive influence. Step up and make the difference. There is no other you in the room. There is no other you at this exact time in life with the exact people around you, with the exact skills, talents, and gifts you have for such a time as this. I am so thankful to be connected with several circles of men of integrity and honor who are seeking, as I am, that place of abiding and being empowered to lead our families as God is asking us to. In this moment, my heart is fully aware of the vast plans God has for each of them. When I say vast, I am talking about being out in the middle of the country, away from city lights, and looking up into a starry night sky of dancing lights. That is the depth of the meaning for “vast” when I use it here. I am also fully aware of how incredibly thankful and honored I am to know them and call them friends.
So as we launch into 2018, I raise my figurative glass in a toast to what is ahead, but I do so with intent and purpose towards the weighty opportunities that I see coming this year. May our resilience be unmatched, our passion be tangible, and our love be forever known. Cheers!