I’ve heard that descriptive statement time and time again the last dozen years or more. “I’m not wired that way.” It is often said in response to me answering a question about my current role on the staff of the church that I started over 35 years ago. When I explain that I created and executed a leadership succession plan and moved out of the driver’s seat to another seat on the bus, I hear some slight variation of this repeated phrase. “I don’t think I could do that. I’m just different. My Type A personality wouldn’t let me do that. I’m not wired that way.”
Let me share something that my wife has known for a very long time. I’m not wired that way either. It is not natural for me. I’m used to being in charge. I prefer my own way of doing things. I have opinions. In my mind, there is often one superior way to do things and the others are all inferior. Yes, me too. I’m not wired that way.
In Philippians 2:5-8, I am confronted with these words:
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
I just reread the above scripture. I’m not wired that way. I do not automatically have the same mindset as Jesus. It’s very hard to make myself nothing and serve others. I don’t naturally gravitate toward humbling myself and putting myself in the background and moving someone else to the forefront. My personality type doesn’t want to do any of the above.
But I’m grateful. I’m profoundly thankful that God’s great grace and His strength enables me to be a part of team that I no longer lead. I’m filled with appreciativeness that I can joyfully sit in another seat on the bus and let someone else do the driving. I’m blessed. I have over thirteen years of looking back and identifying that leadership succession plan as the best leadership decision I’ve ever made.
Is it easy? No. Is it possible? Yes. There is a bigger vision and there are daily choices I can make. In spite of the way I’m wired, I can choose to be rewired by the Holy Spirit and have the same mindset as Jesus. I can choose to humble myself. I can choose to be a servant. I can choose to not be offended if I’m not honored in the way I would prefer. I can choose to kneel and wash someone one else’s feet as Jesus did (John 13). I can choose to leave a legacy. I get to see the organization I started, still flourishing without me, instead of focusing on my emotions of the moment.
I’m not a superhero. I’m not a saint. It isn’t in my wiring to think less of me and more of others. Yet, I make daily choices to die to my own selfish desires and ask for God’s transformational power to live in the likeness of the one who gave His life for me. And, I love the long-term results, in me, in the others who’ve succeeded me, and in the organization that I started. All of us are thriving. To God be the glory!
QUESTION: What is the hardest aspect of replicating Jesus’ actions and attitudes in your own life? I’d love to learn from you in the comment section below.