Saturday, 15 October 2016

The pain and necessity of letting go

During last year's Write 31 Days challenge, I was writing on Increasing Capacity and wrote a post on the importance of knowing when to let go of a role or other area of life. I was at the very start of this leadership journey in MOPS and had no concept of how the following year was going to progress. You can read that post here. (Side note that gave me a giggle- I used the same graphic for both posts. Apparently, this image really connects with those emotions!) I sit here a year later and am in a season of letting go at a new level. 

At the beginning of this year, as I took on the Regional Coordinator role for MOPS, I stepped down from working in the children's ministry at my church and said no to all Sunday morning serving. This goes against how I have lived as part of a church for most of my life. If I based these decisions purely on a time commitment, I would not have felt the need to step down. It came down to headspace. All the different areas of my life take up real estate in my mind, even when I am not functioning in that area at the time. I may not be thinking of all of them in depth at all times but my focus is split often. They are always there in the background, requiring multiple focus shifts throughout my week. I realised quickly that this decreased my ability to be effective in all the areas. Some things had to go as new areas required greater space and focus. 

That same factor of headspace is coming into play again as I step into the State Coordinator role. Even if all the time factors were covered (which they aren't realistically), my mind having to split and shift focus so frequently means something or several things will suffer and be missed. I never want to do a job poorly for the sake of hanging on to it. I see this starting to happen and the time has come to step down to allow a greater capacity for stepping up. 

The pain I face in this process? The role I am most needing to step down from is my original MOPS role at my local MOPS group. This is a huge part of my community. It is where my MOPS leadership journey began. It is where I have formed deep friendships. Letting go of this role has the added connotations of friendships changing in how we connect and the times we have together as well as my usual term-time routine shifting and becoming more changeable. It is further complicated by the difficulty we are having in finding someone to step into the role. I desperately want to see this role filled with the right person who can develop it and make it their own, who can bring fresh passion to it. I am having to trust that God is raising up that person even if it is not apparent at this moment. I have to continue to take steps to wrap up my time in that role regardless. There is a type of grief involved in this and I know that others are feeling that as well. The feeling of letting others down can still rise up at times.

Aside from recognising the necessity of this process in order to lead well, I draw another consolation. By stepping out of a role at the right time, I allow someone else to step up and continue on their own journey of leadership. I am not going to block the pathway for someone else. I may not be able to name who that might be, but I am confident that they are out there and will be found in God's timing. His timing rarely coincides with what I would like it to be. There is faith and trust developed in the waiting. 

I hope that as you read, you have been able to recognise areas that you need to let go of. It may not be a role in this season. Maybe it is a letting go of certain expectations that you hold for yourself or others. Maybe it is a distraction that eats away your time. I know that the process can be painful but it is vital to leading well and stepping up to the next level of your leadership. 

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  1. Great insights yet again. Fresh revelation about it not always being a "time" issue when needing to say no, but rather a "mental real estate" issue. Great perspective that we often do not consider.

  2. Great insights yet again. Fresh revelation about it not always being a "time" issue when needing to say no, but rather a "mental real estate" issue. Great perspective that we often do not consider.