Most of my career has been in public relations. The lead story is common language in the PR world. In fact, a great press release includes the who, what, when, where, and why all in the first sentence. This way, someone reading your release will pick up on the lead story in the first sentence or two.
Recently, I began to ask the Lord, “what do you have for me in 2016?” and He answered my question with a question.
“What’s your lead story going to be in 2016?”
I love it when Jesus talks to me in ways I understand. You see, I needed to think through all I was praying for, hopeful and expectant for this year and determine my lead story before any of those things came to be.
Let me continue on with the press release example … I can’t always change the subject of my story – my circumstances. But I can change how I spin and pitch it. Hang with me. No doubt, I can make the circumstances of my life all about me. Moan about the inconveniences or talk about the grind, complain about the people, whine about the wait, criticize the process, nit-pick every little thing. And in turn, that will be my lead story. Me. I’m exhausted and bored already.
But, what if I followed Jesus’ lead and allowed love to be my lead story?
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps not record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
What if we were a people whose love was patient, kind, proud of others, humble, and polite?
What if we allowed others to have their way more often than we demanded our own?
What if we maintained self-control, rather than giving way to be irritability?
What if we forgave quickly? And when the wrong comes back to mind [because it will], what if we surrendered that thought or those feelings to Jesus rather than feeding the wrong all over again?
What if we were a people who stood up for injustice and rejoiced with the truth won out?
What if we made the choice to love and never gave up?
What if our love never lost faith?
What if our love was always hopeful?
What if we endured through every circumstance? – every. single. one.
I’m not talking about being Rainbow Brite, with your magical horse Starlite and Color Kid living of rainbows and unicorns. I’m talking about choices. The choice to look back at all Jesus’ faithfulness in your life. The choice to see His example in scripture and choosing to spin and pitch the story differently.
“We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul – not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that He has for us.” Colossians 1:11-12 MSG
Life is real. That’s not breaking news. We know this. But when life is real and circumstances play out, your kids lose their minds, the pressure at work is crazy intense or you feel done with your marriage – what are you going to choose? You can do anything in your own strength for a minute, but endurance takes more. It takes Jesus. That glory-strength can only come from Him. That’s the only kind that can endure the unendurable, becomes joy, which becomes thanksgiving and in turn gives you eyes to see that you are getting to take part in the BIG story He’s writing for you and all of eternity.
At some point, we have to swallow the hard pill of surrender knowing this life is not our own [Jeremiah 10:23, Acts 20:24, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20]. We have to understand that hard things do not always mean we are outside God’s will. In fact, hard things are often the very tools He uses to grow our faith.
Let’s begin by making the choice to develop the habit of saturating our circumstances in prayer. Pouring our hearts out to Jesus. Telling Him our need. Then as we pray, watch for His deliverance, for His empowering, for you to do more than you ever thought possible. The question and prayer then becomes, “how do I lead well in whatever God has for me in 2016?”.
Friends, in Jesus we have life because Jesus is life – and He’s the only thing we need in this life. Let’s make Him our lead story in 2016, lead well and become winsome people who declare the power of His work in our lives. Let’s lead with love in HIS power and not our own. It’s going to be amazing!