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DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

just let it: what is happening on the inside

Written by: on September 9, 2020

There is a leaning with leaders toward power; it seems to be something of value to them, something to compete for and acquire. In their book, ‘Not Doing’, D’Souza and Renner encourage a different approach, an opposite approach to what has become the traditional norm with leaders and their inclination toward competition and achievement. With them, and emerging leadership, the focus is centering on negative capabilities that result in what they refer to as ‘effortless action’, one that observes and finds place in a movement that is in motion and happening.

In the first chapter, ‘The Flow of Things’, the perspective and art of Andy Goldsworthy is considered. Upon viewing the documentary of Andy’s work, ‘Rivers and Tides’, I recognized in a greater depth and purpose for patience, in waiting for the flow of a creative movement to arise or the period of time awakening of a vision, whether it be for a piece of art or the natural unification of a team. Beautiful, natural and true things cannot be forced. The most beautiful things take time to originate, find meaning and course. Perpetual movement, forced action can upset what’s intended to take time and patience to develop; of Andy, given his perseverance in allowing space and time to reveal his work, it was described that ‘for him, control can be the death of a work’ [1].

Andy waited to see what nature would reveal of the direction he would follow into for his art to come to life. It may be in the materials a river offers or highlighting a rock wall with the down of sheep with the contrast of green, he finds deeper reason, meaning and use in all of nature that becomes a part of his creations. In similar fashion, the Inuit carver faces a piece of soapstone with the intention of freeing what is hidden inside. There is a deep inspiration and calling to see, to release control and to be led in the artistic process. Such can be the experience of leadership, if we are willing. There’s peace in this movement. It is not abrupt and is not affected by anxiety. This kind of approach cannot be hurried, such ‘control can be the death of a work’ [1].

Courage in leadership is one that is willing to change the current flow of the things with intention toward the natural flow of things. From activity to rest and, to reveal the adventure of perceived, feared inertia. When Jesus reflects on the better state of Mary at rest over Martha on the scurry; his mornings in the mountains and stillness for the death of his friend, Lazarus; there’s revelation that control is not ours to have. Even, while Jesus waited in the Garden of Gethsemane for those who would come to arrest him and lead him to the slaughter of a scourging and crucifixion, he admitted control to God, “My Father, if there is any way you can deliver me from this suffering, please take it from me. Yet what I want is not important, for I only desire to fulfill your plan for me.” [2].

The fulfilment of this work of God was only possible in the faithfulness of Jesus, his release of control. Understanding this work as beautiful calls for an interaction in most still place of soul with Spirit. Jesus, knowing of the outcome, yet surrendering the trust of his young life into the hands of the One who created all things, releasing control, opened the door for the completion of history’s apex moment. This world is a beautiful place; there’s a lot of good and wonderful things to acquire and hold onto. What happens with letting go, perhaps an adventure and encounter with life the way it was intended to be? Something will happen, that’s for sure.

 

[1] D’Souza, Steven and Diana Renner. Not Doing: The Art of Effortless Action. New York, New York: LID Publishing Ltd, 2018.

[2] Matthew 26:29. The Passion Translation.

About the Author

mm

Chris Pollock

Dad of Molly Polly Pastor at the Mustard Seed Street Church Trail Runner

10 responses to “just let it: what is happening on the inside”

  1. mm Dylan Branson says:

    Learning to truly let go is difficult. It goes against every instinct we hold because for us, control is everything. To truly go with the flow is built around total surrender and recognizing our place. It also gives us a perspective that allows us to see what options and paths lie before us.

    One of my favorite things about fantasy and adventure novels is that often the hero tries to fight his or her own way to achieve a goal. They think they know the path only to find out they’ve been going the wrong way the whole time. It is only when they finally surrender and reflect and listen to others around them that they can finally find the truth path.

    • mm Chris Pollock says:

      How far down the road we go, headed in the wrong direction, before we realise we were wrong.

      The perspective streaming from the fiction stories you mention, deep. Sweet application.

      What a struggle it is, to fight to keep going in the wrong direction. Perhaps there’s fear in the turning? A humility in being wrong? The concern that the world is crumbling all around us (but, straight ahead) and, should we turn, there will be no where to stand?

      Anywhere around us, should the courage be built to stop going in the wrong direction (whatever that means, in whatever that means) and turn to a new course, becomes in front of us and a whole new world to explore.

  2. mm Shawn Cramer says:

    The opening chapters of Not Doing seemed very eastern or mystic to me and I did not resonate with them much. You help shed a little light on the matter. Thanks.

  3. mm Darcy Hansen says:

    Chris,
    I loved what Goldsworthy says in the beginning of Rivers and Tides- “I shook hands with the place.” Can you imagine what that would look like in leadership spaces? Not the formal shaking of hands, like “Hello, Nice to meet you, now let me step over you because of my power and position.” But more of one, “Hello, It’s nice to meet you. What surprises do you have in store for me today that I’ll be asked to embrace and surrender to, and how can we make something beautiful together?” Goldsworthy definitely settles and listens and notices before he moves, and when he moves, he does so at what I like to call “the pace of grace.” He’s methodical, insightful, and willing to take a task to the edge, or past the edge, of failure. Indeed, he relinquishes control. Its so contrary to any leadership model I’ve observed, I’m not sure what it would look like outside of his outdoor art studios.

    • mm Chris Pollock says:

      Yes, such a sweet thought ‘to shake hands with a place’. That ‘the place’ could be a person. An interaction with the location of a soul.

      God is everywhere and in everything. Sacred.

      Such an engagement changes things. Reverence for ‘the other’ be in place or person, as ‘the other’ being also ‘the location of God’. This changes things deeply. And, why not?

  4. mm Greg Reich says:

    Chris,
    How has the concept of ownership versus stewardship prohibited out ability to relinquish control? One of the greatest delusions we all struggle with is this idea of total control when in reality the only thing we truly have control over is ourselves.

    • mm Chris Pollock says:

      Super interesting question. Even, as we apply stewardship to our very selves. That we originate from elsewhere and, for each of us, care of ‘body’ and ‘soul’ is a responsibility God has given us. How could such a movement of responsibility look? And, our inner lives, to pursue shalom? It can get so complicated…

  5. mm Jer Swigart says:

    “Beauty cannot be forced…and to control is to kill it.” It seems to me that our world is running at such a pace that I wonder if what is being innovated has the potential to last. True beauty takes time. Transformation cannot be neither pre-planned nor controlled. It seems that we’re in such a hurry to generate beauty and lasting change…yet I wonder how our pace and pursuit of power interrupt our ability to participate in that which will last.

  6. mm John McLarty says:

    For me, your post intersected nicely with what we’re reading in Friedman about self-differentiation. We are set free to be our authentic selves when we can learn how not to get caught up in the anxiety and frenzy around us.

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