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Thursday, February 5, 2009

"You were a wuss."

wuss |woŏs|
noun informal
a weak or ineffectual person (often used as a general term of abuse). (Dictionary definition)

As we sat having our discussion over fried rice, hot tea, egg flower soup and curry shrimp, that was what my friend said to me: "You were a wuss."

Now let me tell you something - I have never been called a wuss to my face before. And, to tell you the truth, there was something about that statement that brought great delight to my soul.

What we were talking about when this profound insight was shared was some leadership failures on my part in dealing with people. My friend graciously pointed out that he didn't believe I was stupid, nor was I ignorant and unaware of what was going. He wasn't questioning my ability to address the issues I was up against. He was even confident I had what it took to help make positive steps forward. But I didn't. So he (rightly) assumed I chose the path of least resistance in that I wussed out. I chose to be weak and ineffectual instead of strong.

The proverbial slap in the face was a delight to me because I recognized I had a friend that truly cared about me that was sitting across from the table. He didn't wuss out when he could have by pointing out something that was obvious, true and uncomfortable. In that moment, my friend chose to be courageous.

Last Fall God pounded on me pretty hard in convicting me about the level of courage I was exhibiting in my life and leadership. An honest assessment made it clear that on a regular basis I was choosing to be safe instead of courageous. It was mostly about not speaking truth to myself and others when I knew it would be uncomfortable. And so, when I found myself in those situations, I would just let things slide until they faded into the background. The problem is, they never really fade away, they just fester.

Let me be clear, I'm not trying to justify being a jerk under the banner of courage. Some people "speak their mind" under the guise of "speaking the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15) and really, they're just being jerks. No, I'm talking about those delicate and hard conversations we are sometimes called to have with others that will help them grow in their character and not-so-gently nudge them toward Christ-likeness. The kind of conversation my friend had with me.

For many years I have carried a laminated card in my wallet that has my personal values and vision written on it. "Courage" is right there (twice, actually). My friend wonderfully reminded me that I've still got a ways to go. It is my hope that I will live both a courageous life and a graceful life that I might reach my full potential in Christ and I might help others realize theirs, too. It is also my hope I will continue to have friends who won't wuss out on me when I need it and I will have the grace and wisdom to listen and learn from their courageous words.

1 comment:

theprincipledetective said...
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