At 2:49pm, on Monday, April 15, 2013, two explosions changed the lives of hundreds of people in an instant. Three died, leaving family and friends to grieve and learn how to adjust to a very different reality. Many more were horribly injured, creating another kind of reality to adjust to: learning how to put on a prosthetic limb and walk again; accepting permanent scarring or other disfigurement; learning a new way to eat; developing living strategies to deal with brain injuries; and others. Yet out of these tragedies come some vital life lessons.
One of the victims, 7-year old Jane Richard, is the brother of Martin Richard, the young boy who died at the scene of the blast. Jane’s left leg had to be amputated below the knee. She lay sleeping in her hospital bed, recovering from the surgery with her priest, Sean Connor at her side. When Jane awoke, she saw Father Connor and said, “Where have you been? You have to pray.”1 While Jane was in a struggle for her life (and with the aid of doctors and nurses she won that fight) she had already surrendered her will and her expectations to God.
Jane’s declaration, “You have to pray,” revealed a tremendous amount of faith and trust; it was a perfect expression of surrender. It was perfect not because she had developed it through effort or some act of discipline. It was perfect in her total acceptance that she could do nothing to make this crisis better—that only God could touch this and even make it good.
Jane had surrendered before the battle ever began.
“But aren’t there things I should fight for?” Yes, there are, but if that’s the question you’re asking, it’s not the kind of surrender, I’m talking about.
- Surrender is less about a formula and more about knowing the person of Christ.
- Surrender is less about an action plan and more about devoting one’s self to Jesus.
- Surrender is less about finding answers and more about obedience to His plan as He reveals it.
- Surrender is less about solving a specific problem and more about creating a lifestyle of following Christ.
In short, surrender is about developing a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and trusting his plan for your life. (See the full text of Edmondson’s article.)
Why am I writing about surrender in a blog that is supposed to be about strategic leadership? I am because I’m saddened (but probably shouldn’t be) how many leaders, followers of Christ as well as not, try to lead from their will and attempts to control others. They attempt to push, exert, and even force people in their organizations into followership. This isn’t strategic. This is anti-strategic. This isn’t leadership. It is manipulative.
All of the very best strategic leaders that I know have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and trust his plan for their life. Note that I’m talking about those who have a personal relationship with Jesus and trust his plan for their life. These leaders have surrendered control and do not attempt to control others’ lives. They have peace about their work, even in the midst of stress and chaos. They have joy in their work, even when business stinks. They are thankful for their blessings as well as their problems. They are confident amidst tremendous pressures of many kinds knowing that the creator of the universe is the one who calls them “my child.”
Surrender. Stop grasping, fighting, and controlling. Surrender.
1: “Rochester Strong” by Jamie Dean. World Magazine, July 13, 2013. Retrieved from http://www.worldmag.com/.
Dr. Scott Yorkovich is a leadership coach and consultant. He works with individuals, small and medium organizations, and ministries. Contact him at ScottYorkovich[at]LeadStrategic.com with your questions.