Hello teachers, administrators, students and leaders everywhere. I believe there are two things we need more than ever to navigate our classrooms, schools, our own families or whatever your sphere of influence might be today. But first, I have a question for us. What lies are you and I believing?
Think about that for a moment. It might be something from a larger cultural perspective, or a deep-seated personal attack. The Bible tells us the heart is deceitful, so more than ever as believers, we must hang our hats on what we know to be true.
For example, the COVID-19 pandemic during an election year with civil unrest in the country, and an economy that’s taken a hit, and mix in a hurricane or two if you’re in the South, might lead us to believe these are the most challenging times ever for believers to teach and lead.
Hugh Latimer might disagree. Latimer was a professor, and the bishop of Worchester, and in 1555, he was burned at the stake along with a couple of his buddies by Queen Mary for simply insisting that Christ alone was the foundation of the church. Or, how about the thousands of Christians in the early church that died in the Coliseum in Rome? How about the disciples? After what Jesus had experienced himself even before his crucifixion, he knew the road they must travel would be so challenging, and that they would need a helper: the Holy Spirit. So no, I’m not sure these are the most challenging times to be a teacher, leader or Christian, but I do believe this is our time.
As leaders, I believe there are two things that will give us the ability to, as author Erwin McManus puts it, “Seize our divine moment.” First, we must have the correct mindset. Author and psychiatrist Dr. Carol Dweck has published her research in a book entitled “Mindset.” In it, she highlights the success across a broad spectrum of settings of having a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset. It’s a great book, but the bottom line is this: we must have our minds right. As believers, that includes focusing on what we know to be true as found in God’s Word, not necessarily how we feel at any given moment.
Second, we must have the grit to accept today’s challenges, and see them through to completion. Angela Duckworth’s book by the same name demonstrates the power of passion and perseverance in a way that is crucial for leaders today. If we as teachers, students, leaders, moms and dads, can truly live out what we know to be true, recognizing the mindset required, and have the grit and determination to tackle the challenges that face us today, I believe we too have the chance to join the Apostle Paul in running our race in a manner to win the prize, and join him and our Lord Jesus Christ in the winner’s circle.
These may not necessarily be the worst times, but they are our times, and they are our opportunity.