In Allender’s matrix the first challenge is that of crisis. What do you do when the world comes crashing down around you? Thankfully I have not faced any huge crises in my time as a leader. I have experienced personal ones within the context of my family but not so much in the context of ministry. This is God’s grace.
In these crises though I know that I experience the pull to cowardice. I want so badly for there to be someone else who can take on the problem and have the hard conversations and to make the decisions that nobody wants to make. I feel it. My hands sweat. My stomach gets upset. My breathing quickens and my heart pounds.
Thankfully I had a model of courage when I was a boy. My mother was and is one of the most courageous people that I know. It’s remarkable how courageous she is. With three young children she worked full-time, went to school full-time, and made sure we did not become screw-ups. She had hard conversations. She did hard things. She didn’t hide. She faced it, all of it.
When I think of the crises that we have faced as a family over the last five years and I think about how I responded I know it’s because of the model that she was. I think that in the face of crises I actually move into courage. I think I move there because I remember my mom’s story and I embrace it as my own.
Allender says that a limping leader understands, “I don’t know if I am right, not am I sure the path chosen is the best, but after reflection, feedback, debate, and prayer, I am choosing this path. In the process, I will seek life life like water and drink death like wine. A confident leader remembers her own story of redemption. She remembers that in the past God has been good to giver her favor and a way out of disaster; therefore, she borrows from the past to invest in the crisis du jour (74-75).”
That’s courage. Courage is embracing the narrative that God is writing in you and seeing the redemption that he has wrought. Then you grab hold of that fact and drink it like water.