Yesterday morning, the last day of the plan, there was a comment that caught me. I don't think I've ever thought about this before.
"...if we are to be transformational leaders, we must be transformed. This transformation is not a one time, once-and-for-all-event. Rather, it is an ongoing process that takes place across a lifetime. Paul is the exemplar for this process. Without changing his fundamental personality, Jesus transformed Paul's character and redirected his life. Paul was transformed by his personal encounter with the risen Christ, and for the rest of his life he was being transformed into the image of Christ."This is one small paragraph from the devotional for the day. Even in this small section, there is much to unpack. However, what caught me was this: "Without changing his fundamental personality, Jesus transformed Paul's character and redirected his life."
All my life I have heard and seen Paul lifted up as the example of a life transformed, as a servant leader, and as the model after which to strive in every way. Now, I am not in any way saying this is wrong or even off the mark. But. When you look at this statement, and then look at Paul's life in conjunction with how he lived before and after his conversion, I think there is something huge here.
I am not a person who goes after people the way Paul did. I never have been. I'm an introvert, I'm deeply thoughtful, I'm detail-oriented and more of a behind-the-scenes person. Fitting that into what it looks to win people for Christ the way Paul did has not ever made sense, or even been easy to see how to strive for in my life. It means being completely outside of who I am. That being said, I have had examples of others (who are unlike Paul in personality) who have done much to share Christ and disciple people. And I'm highly relational, so in terms of caring and caring deeply, I'm matched perfectly with Paul.
But even before his conversion, Paul pursued (what he saw as) justice and law and his mission in life with gusto. He chased Christians (in order to punish and/or kill them) in such a manner that it was nearly impossible to imagine him not attaining his goal. He was a full-speed-ahead kind of guy. He put his entire heart and soul into what he did - even when it was wrong. So once he'd been confronted with Christ, and had realized the truth, his life changed drastically - but his personality didn't. He still pursued the cause (now of Christ and the Church) with his whole being, with all of his time and mind and heart. He was still Paul - but now redeemed and continually transforming into more of Christ.
This is what struck me. When Paul was created, the moment he was made, God knew and designed him for the mission he would later come to in his life. God also knew that this would cause much sadness and pain until the conversion of his soul. But he designed him JUST the way he ought to be.
The crazy thing? He did that with me, too. So, while I am not like Paul in most ways (and I still have -always- extremely far to go in emulating Christ), I don't have to be like Paul in his personality - but rather in his heart. That, I can do, because that is what is the example here. Emulating Christ. Being transformed. Below is some of the other pieces of the devotional that spoke to my heart.
"Legacy Leadership is more about who we are than what we do. Our being is more important than our doing; but, what we do flows from who we are. ... Legacy leaders understand that leadership is not about them but begins with them. ... They do not lead from a distance...they are among those they lead, and are not afraid to show compassion and emotion for their followers. ... As [their] followers are themselves transformed, they become examples for others and the legacy process is perpetuated, resulting in more leaders who make a difference now - and for generations to come."As with so many things, it isn't about me, but it begins with me. And if I become more like Christ and like people like Paul, in my own way (the way God designed me), then I can be part of the change in the world. In the end, that's worth more than anything else I could ever do, and it's being part of his plan and his transformational work.
Scripture for the day's devotional: 1 Thess. 1, 2:1-12