Three Warrior Angels

March 31, 2009 at 11:47 pm (change, Introspection, Leadership) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I have been cursed with the ability to see the big picture.  I tend to put things into perspective and focus on the longterm opportunities, or consequences, of a particular issue.  Unfortunately, this often puts me in the minority position – my viewpoints make me look like a pessimist, or a rebel.  When in reality, I tend to take a realist approach – and looking past the problems, I see lots of opportunities.

I realized last week that some of the conflict I’ve been facing is because the conversation never progressed past the “identification of the problem” phase.  We, as people, don’t like to hear bad news – but realists, like myself, see reality and the identification of the problem as just one step in fixing it.  Actually, the popular vernacular will say, “Recognizing the problem is half of the solution.”  Yet, when it comes right down to it, very few of us really want to admit that there is a problem.

So, as I approached last night’s leadership meeting, I was determined to get past the identification of the problem.  Many of the people who were trying to shut me down, were not feeling any hope.  I knew I had to get to some concrete solutions and help them to see the hope that these solutions offer.

In order to do this, I knew I had to enter the meeting with a non-anxious presence.  I had to avoid any defensiveness, anger, or frustration.  I could not resort to being argumentative.  Unfortunately, I have not inherited a lot of tact or articulate speech – I tend to shoot straight, and from the hip.

So I prayed.  I also asked others to pray.  There were people praying all over the country.

The meeting last night was crucial.  I couldn’t pretend I didn’t see the problems I was seeing.  I couldn’t stop caring for the people God has entrusted me to lead.  And I can’t stop being myself.  But, unfortunately, one of the big-picture views I was taking in involved the future of my employment.  It seemed as if I were to continue pushing for change, I would find myself employed elsewhere – and yet I saw no way out.  So, we prayed.

Two months ago, in a meeting with the same group, I went in ready to accept the direction of the leadership team – even though I saw things drastically different.  I was broken, disheartened, and ready to quit.  But for the sake of my family, and my employment, I was ready to roll over.  Unbeknownst to be, my wife and several others were in deep prayer.

At that meeting I was hammered.  Yelled at, reprimanded, and chastised.  I humbly took it and walked away with a new mandate.  Afterwards my wife told me that while she was in prayer, she had a vision of two warrior angels standing beside me – and another standing next to one of my friends at the meeting – a friend who was in deep prayer for the process.  Interestingly, I was at peace that night.

Last night, I entered the meeting prepared.  Spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually.  I had written out my thoughts – which always helps.  I apologized for miscommunications and a breakdown in trust.  I gave them a road map, an agenda if you will, of what I was going to say.  I told them that I wasn’t interested in changing their minds.  I didn’t come to make them agree with me.  I just wanted to know that they understood what I was saying.

I told them that I was going to 1) lay out the problem; 2) talk about some solutions; and, 3) share the vision of what will happen should we follow this path.  And then I did that.

The amazing thing was that they let me get past the first step this time.  I was able to talk about solutions and cast some vision.  I saw eyes light up, I saw hard hearts melt, and I saw people share their own desires for similar visions.  One man in particular, who has been spreading toxic ideas about me behind my back (seeking my ouster), put his arms around me after the meeting and told me he loved me.  Wow.

We ended the meeting with a plan and we left united.  The Spirit of God was in that room.  There was peace and determination to do the next right thing.  It was amazing.  I had given it to God, and He won the battle.

“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

When I got home last night, my wife told me that she saw those same three warrior angels standing over me during the meeting.  She wasn’t as amazed and surprised this time.  Two months ago it was amazing, last night, it was almost as if it was a normal occurance.

I am humbled by the presence of God’s Spirit.

Then he said to me, “This is what the Lord says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” (Zechariah 4:6)

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