schizophrenic self-preservation


As practice is to policy, so style is to belief. Style is merely a consequence of what we believe, of what is in our hearts.  (Max De Pree; Leadership is an Art. Pg. 27) 

Unfortunately what is oozing out of me as I train national staff is slightly schizophrenic. One moment I’m elated. Convinced that what I’m doing is important – no – critical to Cambodia’s development. Five minutes later I am hell bent on self-preservation.

This whole capacity building thing is actually really hard. It seems this is a cross I am being asked to bear. This is how I practically die to myself. How in this space and time I follow Jesus. And as I work through this process day by day, the pruning shears are out. I can feel them. And it hurts.

On Sunday night I shared with our church community how the past two months (including a Meeting House sermon series (Inglorious Pastors) on the peace teachings of Jesus + this process of nationalizing my role) have revealed to me some of the ugly fruit I bear.

And of course bright and early Monday morning the rubber met the road. I joined my colleagues for the beginning of a meeting. 15 minutes later I had to tear myself away to go back to the office. If I didn’t leave then, I would have stayed all day. And I knew the right thing was to go. It won’t do my colleagues any good for me to be there unwittingly commanding control of the situation and breathing down their necks.

I felt like a mother letting go of my first child. And I couldn’t help but worry that if this part (not even my favourite part of my work) is hard to let go of, what will be be like when I have to release the other stuff. It’s sure not going to get any easier that’s for sure.  

Don’t get me wrong. I know this is important. I know it’s right. But I am simultaneously amazed at how a really important and good thing can spark all this introspection. How the most normal processes can transform us – and teach us patience and grace and hope. And I do hope that as I let go, I will become more like Jesus – who when you really think about it, was the ultimate example of passing on leadership with grace.

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