Leading Well In Tough Times

By Denise Paswaters

To say we are living in a new reality is quite an understatement, isn’t it? The world literally changed in front of our eyes, as we have faced unpredictable life adjustments and uncertainty. Our own families and our Valor community are important to us now, perhaps more than ever before, as we yearn for connection and stability. Centuries ago, when God’s people were in exile and despair, they cried out, “How should we then live?” (Ezekiel 33:10), and many of us may be asking a similar question today. Fortunately, as followers of Jesus, we can live with confidence and hope by God’s grace, and we can lead and serve ourselves and others by His power.

In the last few days, two physical gauges in my home have been especially important to me. As the thermometer on my window reflects temperatures that are more like winter than spring, I am wearing more layers of clothing again just to keep warm…and I have adjusted my thermostat a degree or two higher to make life easier and more comfortable while I’m stuck inside the house.

Thermometers and thermostats are a classic leadership teaching tool, and I have often reminded student leaders that they choose to function every day as one or the other, whether they realize it or not. Sometimes we tend to simply reflect the attitudes and behaviors around us, much like a thermometer reflects the surrounding temperature. After all, it’s easier to just go with the flow, isn’t it?

But that’s not what we are called to do as followers of Jesus. We are created to influence others, and God has equipped us for it (2 Timothy 3:17). Thermostat leaders take notice of conditions around them—even the ones they can’t control—and choose to be change agents. Right now we may not have much control over exactly where we go, but we do have control over our attitudes and behaviors. Let’s choose to be joyful, kind, flexible, and patient through it all, knowing that Jesus is the one holding all things together (Colossians 1:17).

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