Stand On It | Devotion #1: Own It
Ryan Story | Location Pastor – Burton
“It was my fault, I have failed to set that expectation as your leader. I apologize.” Go find any of my students in Student Leadership and ask them about that statement. They will cringe. Over the last three years, I have started doing a Student Leadership class that is meant to help push high school and middle school students to be leaders for Christ in their homes, schools, and church. Every once in a while, expectations are not met with doing homework, inviting students to events, attendance, and other factors. In one of my favorite leadership books, a retired Navy Seal says, “Leaders must own everything in their world. There is no one else to blame.” I realized that blaming students for things was not teaching them or myself any type of lesson. I realized that any shortcoming that came from this group was on the leader, myself. Now, when I would say this it was not in a passive-aggressive, “whoa is me” move, I genuinely realized that the only person I had the right to put the blame on was myself. What came to pass was something that I did not expect. The students who bought into what we were trying to accomplish in Leadership drew closer to me and wanted to work harder to set the bar that we were trying to establish with Leadership.
In life, I feel I have been able to connect with more people in my shortcomings and my weaknesses than my strengths. I have taught many Growth Communities with adults, and I realize when I say, “Man I suck at being a husband” or “I struggle keeping my patience with my two boys,” is the moment more people are drawn closer together. People connect with people because of weaknesses more often than strengths. I love the story in John chapter four, and I have tried to figure out how this uneducated, unsophisticated, unrefined woman was used in such an extraordinary way. We can conclude that it was because Jesus wanted to be her (and our) answer. However, I feel there is more. In John 4:29 the lady at the well says one of the most vulnerable and yet powerful statements out of anyone who has come into contact with Jesus. “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” Jesus called this woman out for the darkest part of herself, and after accepting that Jesus was the Christ, she began proclaiming to the town that Jesus knew all her issues. Why do I think that she was able to connect with her town so well in the name of Jesus? I think the woman finally was owning her brokenness and letting God do something with it.
Too often I see believers walking around with brokenness without ever truly giving it to Jesus. We get called out and convicted by the issues of our past, and we never truly give it to Jesus. We just walk around broken. We as believers need to take ownership of our lives and give our brokenness to God and let Him use it to help others. Often we like to own our mistakes and never give them to the real leader who can do something about our issues. Imagine a world where the church stopped walking around acting like we have everything all together and looked at a broken co-worker and talked about our struggles with our marriages, children, or other things. The Church is meant to be there loving those far from God, and yet we struggle with being honest with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ that we have pain and problems. We have to get to a place where we are owning our testimonies and admitting the good, the bad, and the ugly. Being open with your testimony is hard, but imagine what God can do with your story if you are willing to stand on what God has done with your life.