A great leader’s courage to fulfil his vision comes from passion, not position. —John Maxwell
I love this quote from John Maxwell. I have seen this truth repeated in my own life and in the lives of those around me. There have been times of going through the motions in jobs I've had where I've lost the passion that drew me in the first place. I may still fulfil the basic requirements but the drive to excel is missing and those under my influence suffer for it. In any role, it can be easy to be worn out by the mundane parts and life in general and forget why you are investing your time and energy. As I take on this new position in MOPS (read about that here), I am aware of this challenge to sustain the passion and momentum. One factor that I feel helps this in MOPS is that every person involved is a volunteer. There has to be a passion for this ministry driving each leader as there is no monetary gain to be had. We each bring a story of why we invest our time and energy into the area we lead in. This is mine.
Why MOPS? The simple answer for me is that I have experienced the impact of this ministry for myself. My journey with MOPS began shortly after my now five-year-old daughter was born. Those early days are a blur thanks to the intense sleep deprivation impacting my memory development. Motherhood was a far greater challenge than I had anticipated. My daughter had severe reflux and colic and multiple food intolerances that were not picked up well by medical professionals. It took a long time to get any semblance of management happening. The food intolerances required me to be on a very strict diet while breastfeeding. We later discovered she also had a tongue and lip tie that had gone undiagnosed despite multiple medical professional visits. Sleep issues were (and sometimes still are) a significant part of our days despite all the best advice. When your child is in pain and going through 6 sheet changes and 10-20 outfits a day, sleep is a difficult goal to attain. Added to these issues as she grew were anxiety issues and sensory processing issues. While I know that many face far more significant problems with their kids, it doesn't lessen the impact our problems caused for our family.
Dealing with these issues, particularly the sleep deprivation had me in a dark place. I was never formally diagnosed with depression (I'm ashamed to say I lied on assessments I was given to stay under the radar as I couldn't face dealing with it. Don't do that!!) I am no longer as judgmental of people who have shaken babies- I know firsthand that it can only be the difference of a moment’s reaction or decision to walk away. I have experienced scary thoughts of needing to put my daughter up for adoption because I wasn’t capable, which quickly turned into no one else would handle it either so I had better just put both of us out of our misery. I am so grateful that those thoughts were fleeting. Only by the grace of God! Throughout these challenges, I had the support of my amazing husband and family. And there was MOPS.
At MOPS, I found a community that took me in, gave me a break from my daughter and encouraged me. We were in the trenches together and I could talk with others who understood where I was at. They gave me the boost each fortnight that I needed. Making deep friends has never been easy for this introvert and now I have dear friends that have come from MOPS. As I was emerging from the worst of the fog, it became more than just an encouragement in my parenting journey. I felt invested in as a woman and a person outside of being a parent too. I was reminded that my abilities and giftings were not lost despite the season I was in. I found opportunities to be involved and realised that I didn't have to wait until my daughter was older to be involved in leadership. I was not stuck as I had been feeling.
Why MOPS? I have been invested in by other leaders. I have experienced the all around growth in my own life. I have experienced community in a way that is often missing in our society these days. I now have the opportunity to create space for other women to experience that encouragement and community at a state level. What an immense privilege!
This is the passion that I come back to in my own leadership journey. This is what drives me past the obstacles I encounter and will keep encountering. This is what I hope will allow me to have the courage to fulfil the vision.
What story do you bring to your own leadership role, whether you have a title or not? What passion drives you? I encourage you to write it down and come back to it when your passion begins to wane.