I have never liked being a lone-ranger.
The feeling is a bit like nails on a chalk board to my soul.
It’s not about being with people or being alone in my every day life. It is being on my own in the pioneering/creating/believing/leading moments that makes me want to run. Whether it is an organization project in my home, a belief in parenting, pressing in to write, or just going a path that is less traveled than the one many of my friends are on, being a lone ranger makes me want to run. If it’s a closet that needs to be cleaned out, I find myself thinking ‘I need Anna to do this with me.’ If it’s pondering writing, I find myself avoiding in the worst way and then thinking ‘I feel so alone. I wish I was a speech writer on a communications team.’ Cue my Toby Ziegler/Sam Seaborn West Wing drooling.
But, a few months ago, I had a break through.
We are a part of a house church and we partner in leading it with a team of six: it’s one of the hardest and the best things. The six of us have vast areas of common ground and what feels like an ocean’s worth of different perspectives. A few months ago, I left a leadership meeting in tears. I was exhausted from feeling like my perspective was held by no one else. I was weary from blank or even confused faces looking back at me after I garbled out my heart. The more lack of understanding from them I perceived, the more tangled my words became. I felt more of a lone-ranger than ever before, and my instincts said ‘Run…this can’t be right.’
The funk hung around and over me for the week following the meeting. And then, all of the sudden, He broke through the funk and pierced truth into my heart:
“They don’t see what you see, because they are not supposed to see it. This is not their’s to carry. It is what I am asking you to do. I am asking you to lead in this way…not them. They are to lead in other ways than you are. Stop craving consensus. Stop asking for a yes-vote from each person before you feel released lead. Lead, Abi. You lead.”
Moments like that make me feel the truth of Hebrews 4:12 in my bones:
“God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what.”
(The Message translation)
In an instant, the temper tantrum over feeling alone melted into quiet realization. I was supposed to be alone? Being alone wasn’t wrong even though my instincts said it was wrong? I didn’t need to wait for consensus and approval and agreement before proceeding?
Is the point to create a new formula? My brain gravitates towards formulas and always/never scenarios. But no. There is no always lone-rangering it; there is no never proceeding until consensus is attained. There is only ear to the ground attempting to follow Him wherever He’s going. Sometimes that takes us to a road that is quietly alone. Sometimes that takes us back into the fold of team and consensus.
My brain continues to tell me that I am my best on a team. But, my spirit and my soul are starting to tell me a story that differs. They are starting to tell me that I am never alone even if I am misunderstood. I am strong enough to be disagreed with. I am strong enough to thrive or to fail without crumbling.
There comes a time when striding forward is the right way. Even if it seems like it is the lone ranger road. Discomfort doesn’t mean wrong. It doesn’t mean right either, but I have to tell myself it doesn’t mean wrong!
“In the same way I was with Moses, I’ll be with you. I won’t give up on you; I won’t leave you. Strength! Courage! You are going to lead this people to inherit the land that I promised to give their ancestors. Give it everything you have, heart and soul. Make sure you carry out The Revelation that Moses commanded you, every bit of it. Don’t get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you’re going. And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. , your God, is with you every step you take.”
(The Message translation)
It’s an honor to share time with you,
The people I serve on leadership team are some of the best out there. The story I shared is not to say that they were wrong and I was right. Lots of people together can be right at the same time. There is no one right side and one wrong side. Life would be so much easier if that was true, wouldn’t it?!?! And even in the feelings of being a lone ranger on a team, we’re still on a team. And that’s beautiful.