If I dare to lead, I must dare to learn, and I must be courageous enough to learn not just what I desire, but what benefits others. For what good is it to lead if I lead only myself? We are called to more than that. Learning is an ongoing process through wisdom, knowledge, discovery, and experiences of our own or of others. When we have learned a concept, sharing it with others enriches them and ourselves in turn. One of the greatest teachers who learned through both study and circumstances was the Apostle Paul.
As many of you know, I fractured my right foot one week ago. Yesterday I went to the doctor, and her evaluation was to put me in a Cam Cast-short walking boot for three weeks then return for a follow-up X-ray. The beauty of a Cam Cast is that it is removable, so I can shower without a plastic bag, and take a break every now and then. I am very grateful that someone designed this apparatus to make my life a bit better. Mobility issues are a humbling thing. I thought I was compassionate to people with disabilities since my own son, Mother and brother have one; however learning firsthand the challenges of walking with one functional foot has given me a greater appreciation for those who adapt to difficulties each day. One of the most frustrating aspects of this injury has been to HAVE TO accept help and to ASK FOR it. I am a caregiver by trade and nature, and have been the go to for most in my family. I certainly also value my own independence. So…coming to grips with the reality that I needed to rely on my nineteen year old son to fill a majority of my responsibilities in addition to his own was painful in its own accord. I also had to rely on my son with Down Syndrome to do tasks for me that I had taken for granted. Walking with crutches changes everything. Not only do I have a foot that is not operating properly, but now my hands are preoccupied by holding me up. I can only get from here to there, so I am not able to carry anything-not dishes to set the table, not pots and pans or ingredients to cook, not coffee or water to drink, not the mail, basically nothing. Let’s not forget that I cannot drive or get out and exercise. This is not what I want!!!
Now there is good in all of this. My kids are learning the value of servanthood. They have stepped up with amazing attitudes and helpfulness. I am learning to allow people to bless me. We caregivers struggle in that arena. Giving makes us feel good. Receiving discomforts us. Yet if we remember that leadership is not about us, we can learn to give and receive for the joy of others. I am also learning the art of creativity. Creativity can stem from our own ideas or building on those of others. I read a blog from a woman who broke her foot, and she had many useful tips in coping with this temporary change of lifestyle. The most freeing tip for me was to utilize a basic office chair to help with mobility. It is smaller and more accessible than a wheelchair for getting around in the home. Where I got creative with it is to use a crutch on my unaffected side and hold the back of the chair with my right hand. This enables me to place items on the seat and move them from place to place. This may seem small, but I was giddy to be able to get my own cereal, bowl, spoon, and milk in the morning without having to ask. I could participate in making dinner and cleaning up afterwards. And much, much more. I am learning new ways of doing things and participating in a joy that had eluded me before. Even the joy of former tasks that had seemed mundane.
Here’s where we learn from the Apostle Paul. He went through more trials than most of us will ever deal with in our lifetimes, but instead of caving into hopelessness and depression, he learned CONTENTMENT-a lost art in a me first society. Philippians 4:10-14 AMP states it wonderfully, “I rejoiced greatly in the Lord, that now at last you have renewed your concern for me, indeed, you were concerned about me before, but you had no opportunity for me to show it. Not that I speak from [any personal] need, for I have learned to be content [and self-sufficient through Christ, satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or uneasy] regardless of my circumstances. I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret [of facing life], whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need. I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose–I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.] Nevertheless, it was right of you to share [with me] in my difficulties.” This, my friend, is what you call goals.
Choose to learn something today. While you are learning, be thankful. When you have learned, give others the benefit of your wisdom and knowledge, and you will lead in ways you have never known.