How do you practice a healthy personal presence in the midst of chaos? When the crap hits the fan how do you stay emotionally, spiritually and physically present in a healthy way? I want to propose that a healthy leader who is personally present in the midst of chaos practices a prayerful prophetic presence.
A few years ago I entered into the chaos of woundedness, weakness and sin with a young leader who was part of my staff team. I did his premarital counseling and officiated his marriage.
Then less then a year later his wife left him and he began to jump from one sinful relationship to the next until he showed up one Sunday with a young lady from our church bragging about how she was now pregnant.
He also confessed that he was sleeping with another woman who was a married mom of four kids and he proclaimed that he had led this woman to Jesus while sleeping with her.
On top of that, the night before he had put a gun to his head and threatened suicide while stoned and drunk.
How do you practice a healthy personal presence of prophetic prayer in the midst of this chaos?
I remember a friend in that season telling me to ask four questions when stepping into the chaos of sin. 1) Who am I? 2) What’s story am I stepping into? 3) What time is it in the story? 4) What does the Lord want to speak into the story?
Take a minute and look at Ephesians 1 and ask the following questions: Who does Paul say he is? What’s the story he’s stepping into? What time is it in the story? What does the Lord want to speak into the story?
This chapter is made up of a long run on sentence of a song of praise and another long run on sentence of a prayer of thanksgiving. The apostle Paul knows he is an apostle called by God. He knows the church in Ephesus is embroiled in sin and division.
He also knows it’s time to encourage these young believers with a song of praise and prayer of thanksgiving. He also knows that the Lord wants to speak to the Ephesians about their identity before instructing them how to walk in holiness and take spiritual stands.
One of the barriers to practicing this kind of prayerful and prophetic presence is what I call operational leadership. Operational leadership could be defined as the mode of operating. You are either operating from a mode of healthy well differentiated and courageous leadership or you are operating from a mode of merely surviving the next onslaught of chaotic impulsiveness.
Another barrier to practicing this kind of prayerful and prophetic presence is what I call directional leadership. Directional leadership could be defined as being pulled in every direction. This looks like you at the center trying to lead people above you, below you and beside you while neglecting to lead yourself. When we do this we typically feel like we are pulled in a million different directions.
The remedy for overcoming the barriers of operational and directional leadership is found in Acts 20:28. What does this text say we are suppose to pay careful attention to and why? Now look at 1 Timothy 4:16. What are we suppose to watch closely and why?
The key to not merely surviving one chaotic episode to the next and the key to not being pulled in a million different directions is to lead yourself well by living out of the perfect presence of Christ. My presence alone is worthless at its best and harmful at its worst.
Practically for me this looks like: Regular Sabbath, extended Sabbath, daily disciplines until the Spirit calms the waves of anxiety in my soul and safe relationships where I can experience unconditional love. It’s also been super important for me to regularly take an inventory of the amount of energy I invest in conditionally loving relationships versus unconditionally loving relationships.
So, a healthy leader who is personally present in the midst of chaos practices a prayerful prophetic presence by always asking: 1) Who am I? 2) What’s the story? 3) What time is it in the story? 4) What does the Lord want to speak into this story?