Leading is tough but following is even tougher. She sat there all German efficiency, rolling off our names to determine if we were really part of her team. When she was done, most wished quietly they were not. It was apparent in the set of our gaze and the tightness of our lips. The time, I admit was long gone. It was 1825h and we were to discuss 9 questions with part A, B and sometimes C.
I do not know why she got under my skin, but she did. First, I did not like the way she brushed aside my contribution – aren’t leaders supposed to listen? Then she frowned at her paper and urged another to get to the point. By then I was sure she was rude. We flew through the answers and ticked the boxes. The pens stopped writing, we stopped learning and fast tracked to offense. 10 minutes into the discussion, I fell silent. I wasn’t alone. I moved on mentally, hang onto my composure – just barely.
Questions done. Prayer points noted. She muttered a three sentence prayer. We said Amen. She looked at her watch relieved, we finished 5 minutes early. But in the stoop of our shoulders and the expressions on our faces, the message did not get home that day.
As I sat there listening to the reflections on the Bible study material, I was sure I was going to see the team leader and ask for another group. If not, was I going to give her feedback! As I listened to the lecture, I heard a small still voice ask me – Will you decrease as I increase in you?
Boom! Suddenly I saw myself in true color. I am a leader. I do not think I do a very good job all the time. In fact I am reasonably certain if my team were asked, they would identify with what I felt being led by the lady. Offended. Rushed. Misunderstood. Brushed aside. Focused on the ‘do’ and not the relationship. I wondered how would I feel if at the first sign of my human mistakes, my team voted with their feet and left?
What would I want my team to do if it was me? It came slowly… I would want Grace. I would want them to stay and work through with me. To ask how they could help, and to gently give me feedback on how they would like to be led. I would want them to seek to understand the pressure a leader sometimes finds themselves to lead, and achieve a seemingly impossible task and work with me.
Grace; Unmerited favor. Undeserved understanding, unconditional love. I would want grace. The lecture ended. I knew I did not hear or learn much about Nicodemus, but I had encountered the Lord. I learnt a divine lesson on being a good follower.
Instead of feedback, I will give intercession. Instead of walking away, with God’s grace and plenty of it, I will stay and pray.