Tenacity

Tenacity alone is not a blank cheque.

I’ve always been described as tenacious. Sounds more amazing than it really is. 

Low key people wish they had my drive while I look at them and am jealous. “I don’t really care when the deadline is… I don’t really care what they think about me… I don’t care if I don’t get everything done today…” When someone like me asks “What do you want to do today?” the response is invariably “I don’t care”

It took me several years to realize that when my wife says she doesn’t really care what we do today she’s actually good with whatever. I’m not. I always know what I want to do but when I stopped pestering her to give me a “real answer” things sort of worked out better. She speaks up now if she has something specific in mind when I ask her, but her personality is just more relaxed than mine is…

tenacity alone square

Tenacious people can get used to getting what they want sometimes. But tenacity is not a blank cheque. In studies done amongst many elite leaders a common flaw crops up: tenacious leaders tend to think of themselves as limitless. Why? (this might be foreign to relaxed people..) Because they’ve done the impossible so many times they’ve trained themselves to think that anything is possible. 

Anything is NOT possible, at least not for you. These elite leaders tended to forget a limitation that every person has: themselves. Now most of us know that our own capacity can be increased and that it is a foundation of leadership, but the truth is that YOU can only go as far as you are ultimately capable of. Most people never get anywhere near their capacity but I’m really speaking to leaders (and hopefully future leaders). 

On a scale of 1-10 in different areas of your life, how would you rate your fulfilment? Do you feel useful? Would you say you know your purpose in life? Your fulfilment is directly related to one thing.

The great leader David said to the Lord “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places”. What did he mean by that? Every truly great person knows what he knew:

Your yard is your yard. At the end of the day your yard has a fence and here’s the kicker: you don’t get to decide where your fence is. (I had a feeling you wouldn’t like it but you’ll have to face it one day) David said to his God “You’ve dropped a fence and You’ve decided where the cards should fall in my life.” He said later in the same passage “I have set the Lord always before me”. I like that. David was saying his job was to set God before him and God’s job was to decide David’s limits. He was truly great.

A fence is good if it keeps you in your own yard.

a fence

Do you like where the lines have fallen for you or do you spend most of your time wishing your circumstances and relationships would all smarten up so you could be happy?

Are your fulfilment and happiness depending on things that happen outside of you? If they are you will likely never be happy. 

Paul the Apostle was surely one of the greatest leaders of his day. He was fulfilled with his life, knew his purpose, was useful, and all of this when what actually happened to him was terrible. Look it up sometime… torture, pain, heat, cold, persecution, shipwreck, beatings, emprisonment, hunger, fatigue, betrayal, you name it…it all happened to him. It didn’t stop him from accomplishing the impossible or from living the life God has designed him specifically for. 

He had a secret.

We find it in 2 Corinthians 10. He was under personal attack and we find the rarest of insight into his psyche and the WHY behind how he could suffer what he did and win in the end. The attacks weren’t from random impersonal sources, they came from his own church plant, his own converts. 

I always really enjoy lectures I get from relatively new converts to Christianity who get a little proud. By “always enjoy” I mean “am always amused in a sad sort of way”; it’s just so predictable.

When the student who needs to learn starts lecturing the teacher things get weird and the student often goes back to his old life, or worse, starts twisting the Gospel to suit himself and what he agrees with and doesn’t. This is not smart but it happens all the time. It’s predictable and actually boring (I have decided it’s boring because I it really hurts me and maybe that helps me process the pain and disappointment). Then the personal attacks start coming against me and sometimes my family.

a fence square square

You ready to hear what Paul’s own peeps said about him? 

“You’re brave afar off but a coward face to face!”
Paul? Yeah… The guy who had stared death and torture in the face so many times? It’s hard to even think that these soft nobodies had the nerve to say this, but that’s what happens. From their laptops they accused him of being a laptop warrior.
     You and I always have our behaviour tested and when we fail the test (which is the point most of the time so our heads get shrunk back to realistic size), we unconsciously create backstories that excuse what we did in the first place. It’s easier to say “Sorry” but….

“Your refusal to accept material support is a sign you’re inferior”
Right.

“Your relationship with Christ isn’t as good as ours is”
        What? I love this one! I love it when newbies come to this conclusion about me. I’m really thinking that I passed their current test twenty years ago and could walk them through it but they’re the ones delivering the lecture. They’re right and I’m wrong! When people start lecturing me I stop talking because they’re not interested in a conversation. Convos go both ways. 

Paul’s people actually made fun of his physical appearance.
Classy.

They made fun of his speaking ability.
The second greatest preacher of all time?

They rebuked him for boasting about things that were too personal.
Everybody wants an authentic leader right up to the moment when that person expects them to be authentic too.

They said that Paul talked too much about himself. The “Apostle Paul Show”
Yeah, love that one. It really means Paul was the leader and they wish they were.

I know what you’re thinking… “What a bunch of arrogant jerks!”
Yeah they were. Here’s what hurts: we all get this way from time to time. 

It’s a metron problem. 

What’s a metron? Paul, out of the pain of this personal and venomous attack defends his personhood in 2 Corinthians 10 by saying this “We aren’t making outrageous claims here. We’re sticking to the limits (metron, measure. yardstick, determined extent. right fit. yard) of what God has set for us. But there can be no question that those limits reach to and include you.”

He was saying “You can’t take from me what you didn’t give me in the first place. Whether or not you like it, this is my yard and it includes you. I will deal with these issues because God made them my business whether you agree with that or not. I haven’t walked into other people’s ministries and yards and interfered, and you can’t kick me out of my own yard. Death and torture can’t take my fulfillment away from me because I don’t get fulfilled by circumstance or people. I get it from my God. I know where my yard starts and where it ends. I am happy with where my lines are, but I didn’t decide that, HE DID”.

You will never be happy tearing your fence down and living in your neighbour’s yard. If you were meant to lead ten people at the end of the day you’ll have ten people so why not be happy about it? You can stress out and try to tell yourself you should lead a hundred people and break down the barrier but the only thing you’ll break down is YOU.

Metron problems are bad because you actually have a misread on yourself, you start thinking wrong about yourself and nothing will help you.. You become your own worst enemy.

“So how do I know I have a metron problem?”

1. Constant Comparison.
     You have a bad case of comparing yourself with everyone else all the time.
     You were made for something special but how can a crop in one field compare itself to a completely different crop in the next? You weren’t made for what HE was made for so relax and find your fit!

     Tired of measuring yourself against everyone? Try the right Ruler.

Right Ruler

2. Trying too Hard.
     If what used to come easy for you is now difficult, look to your metron. 
     You will be reduced to self doubt and working everything out in the natural. You will have to work too hard for your crop. The thing is you can’t make everything happen, seeds grow on their own and just need proper tending.
     Have you said lately “Why is that working for her? I know way more about that than she does!” Metron problem.

3. Becoming Critical.
     
Jealousy pushes great people away from you.
jealousy pushes away
     Your jealousy will cost you productivity and it’s likely that the very people who could help you to the next level won’t have a chance because your poor attitude is keeping healthy folk away. 
     I should note that you will start projecting your own issues onto the people you’re jealous of. “They have a problem with _____!” when it’s actually YOU. You’ll work overtime to cover up your lack of traction by blaming everyone but yourself, but the only common denominator is you. They can’t fulfill you anyways…

4. Authority.
     People with it whisper. People without it yell. 
     Whenever I hear someone saying “Do you know who’s in charge here!!!?”, I know it’s a metron problem. If you have authority it’s obvious to those around you. Also authority shouldn’t be confused with power or position. You might have a position of leadership and not be a leader worth following. Positional leaders have to leverage power but that’s not pretty. People in authority have the right (and power) to make tough decisions but a good leader doesn’t have to yell. They are confident in their ability to get results and if you want to work for them you’ll find that authentic evaluations are part of everyday life, but a proud or insecure person will have a hard time of it. 
     You only have the right to make decisions in your own department…. relax about the rest. Authority knows where the lines are and won’t cross them. You can’t control everything and no one likes a meddler.

     It’s a beautiful thing to know your place and be happy in it! I can’t tell you the difference it made in my own life when I quit worrying about everyone else’s business and focused my tenacious efforts on my own. 

The secret is focus. The lesser known secret is focus on the right thing…

Focus on the right thing PCK

     Paul makes a wonderful statement that we should take to heart “By the grace of God I am what I am” 

You will only be happy when you’re sitting on the right seat of the bus.

Want to watch the message? There is a story you won’t want to miss near the end that I didn’t write about in the blog:)

https://vimeo.com/128762296

Corey Kope

Pastor. Father of 4 beauties. Devoted husband, Liverpool fan, and Jesus follower.

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