Lighten Up

Friendly Reminder: A weekly reflection from the Quaker Leadership Center

As Quakers, we can be a serious bunch. We make serious claims, like the one about everyone having direct access to God. And we do serious work, bringing peace and justice into a world of violence and injustice.

The work and worship we do is serious and important. Indeed, we are important.

But maybe not THAT important.

We are Friends of Jesus, but God has a lot of friends around the world.
We are God’s children, but God has a real big family.
We are precious gems, but God can also raise up rocks for the Reign of God (Matt. 3:9)
We are ministers, not messiahs.
Our burden is real but “his burden is light” (Matt. 11:30).

Thomas Kelly wrote about the lightened load of a centered and yielded life: “We need not get frantic. [God] is at the helm. And when our little day is done, we lie down quietly in peace, for all is well.”

Pope John Paul XXIII would often end his day of overseeing a global religious body by praying, “Lord, it’s your church. I’m going to bed.”

We do our work; we fight the good fight; we love the good love. Then we hand it over for the night. It’s practice for the final turnover when we offer our life, love, and leadership at the end of life, trusting it’s in Very Good Hands.

So lighten up!

De-center yourself. Right-size your place in this world.
Pray a picture of the globe filled and flowing with a Responsive and Relational Presence doing things you know nothing about.
Laugh at yourself. Do something fun. Take a nap. Be “useless” for a little while.
After all, as theologian Marva Dawn suggested, sometimes worship itself is a “royal waste of time.”

Cast off your guilt – just for a few hours – and do something that brings you great joy.
In case you need this reassurance, the people and places you lead will feel it. They need to lighten up as well. And you will all benefit.

How do you need to “right-size” your leadership?
What or who helps you lighten up?