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Sometimes God allows us to lose a race to test how badly we want it.
If you're the one and done type, that's all you will ever be.
And sometimes He allows defeat more than once. More than twice.
I lost my first city council race. I ran four subsequent times and never lost again.
Losing a political campaign hurts. You put in months sometimes years of hard work.
Unless you have lived through it, you can't know the depth and width of pain. You hurt not only for yourself and lost opportunity, but for the pain and disappointment of family and friends who lived and died with every insult, lie and misrepresentation of your character. Volunteers who spent hours away from their families and in some cases jobs to put out yard signs, make phone calls or work the polls.
If there is any consolation at all, and this is what I had to comfort myself with when I lost - know that God is yet in control. He may not be saying no, just not yet. Or, as was the case with me, not this office but one even higher. He withholds no good thing from us, knows what's ahead of us and wants only the best for us. Even if it sometimes mean allowing loss and pain.
When I first ran and lost city council, I ran for a district seat. The citywide seat I would win five years later, had not even been created when I ran the first time. Wasn't even a thought.
The citizens voted on a city charter change, adding an additional at-large seat to the council. My goal from the beginning was to serve in whatever capacity I could to make our city better.
When I lost, I continued to serve as a volunteer on city boards, the local chamber, in the Rotary Club; however and wherever I could help.
I kept the right attitude, right spirit, never lashed out at anyone and when the new citywide seat was created, even some who had opposed me five years earlier, joined with others to recruit me to run for the new citywide (at-large) seat.
If your heart's desire is to serve, don't be surprised when your heart is broken trying to serve. If you really want to serve, a loss will never be a deterrent.
It's not losing, but how you lose. Even though losing hurts, it's a matter of if we can still praise God and still serve in defeat as we would in victory. And, our willingness to get back up again.
If you lose, it is imperative to do these five key things on the road back:
- Be grateful for the opportunity to have run and express gratitude in tangible ways to those who helped you.
- Keep smiling, keep serving, keep believing. Seek out other opportunities to serve and let there be no task too menial.
- Never, ever be bitter. Figure out what you did wrong and don't do it the next time around.
- Stay informed, stay involved, stay hungry. People are more likely to vote for you the next time around if they have become more familiar with you and are used to seeing you. You're no longer just a name on the ballot.
- Never blame or point fingers. Accept the loss as the will of the people and more important, the will of God.
People watch the loser more closely than the winner. It's the same reason why people slow down in traffic to gawk at a car wreck. Don't be the wreck many want to see.
Be the example many need to see!
Keep your head up and if I can encourage you with this last, but most important thought of all - be assured of this one thing - if God called you, though you may have lost this time; He's not through with you. He's perfecting you.
Published on Wednesday, March 7, 2018 @ 7:07 PM CDT
The single most important thing and yet the absolute hardest thing for a leader, called, tested and prepared by God is to wait on God.
It must have seemed like 70 years instead of seven days to Joshua and his men to walk around The Wall of Jericho seven whole days in silence when they were eager to attack. But God had a better plan. So they marched in silence.
Joseph was locked away 14 years in an obscure foreign prison, even though God had shown him decades earlier an incredible vision for his future. A vision he could not shake, yet he languished for years as a prisoner and before that in a pit dug by his brothers because of jealousy.
Yet Joseph remained faithful because he knew what God had shown him. Joseph waited on God.
When God revealed to the prophet Habakkuk what He was going to do to the nation of Israel because of their rebellion, God told Habakkuk to "write the vision And make it plain...for the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry." (Habakkuk 2:2-4)
Habakkuk wanted to know when would all the things God had told him would take place. God simply told him at "an appointed time." What time is "an appointed time?" God's perfect time.
Sometimes even though God has shown us clearly a vision for our next move, next job, business, next political office or ministry, what we cannot do is get ahead of Him. It is always wise to wait on God.
When others doubt you, wait on God.
When people gossip and talk about you, wait on God.
When you're ridiculed and dismissed, wait on God.
When you're misunderstood, wait on God.
When some turn their back and walk away from you, wait on God.
When it seems you have no one to turn to or depend on, wait on God.
When you have no resources, wait on God.
When it seems as if God has forgotten about you - He hasn't - wait on Him.
Get the picture?
If Moses, Joseph, Ruth, David, Esther, Daniel, Nehemiah, Paul, Jesus, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr. Billy Graham, and so great a cloud of witnesses too numerous to name could speak to us from the grave, they would tell us God is worth the wait.
Wait on the LORD;
Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the LORD!
The appointed time is God's time and according to His timing, which is always the perfect time.
Consider the success of so many who waited on God. Jesus Himself is waiting on God to tell Him when to return.
Trust God's timing. Don't throw in the towel.
Don't try it your way.
Don't beg, borrow, steal or deceive.
Simply wait.The vision is yet for the appointed time - it will surely happen for you, just as God has planned.
God does not lie and what He has decreed over your life will become reality.
The promotion, the victory, the job, your next move - all happens right on time, in accordance with God's perfect will and perfect timing.
We Are In Trouble when we refuse to wait on God.
Published on Tuesday, March 6, 2018 @ 2:49 PM CDT