Thursday, January 6, 2011

You can tweet it, but can you live it?

I think leaders are often imitated more than they are followed. Or maybe they're just being imitated as they're being followed. But either way, you can't deny a bit of imitation in every leader-follower relationship.

Whether we admit it or not, we become a lot like the person/people we are following. And I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing, as long as the one you are following is worth imitating.

There are people in my life who I need to imitate more. In fact, as Marty and I begin our first few stages of parenting I have even found myself saying, "Okay I don't want to just follow their parenting style... I want to imitate it! I want my family to look just like that!" And again, I think that's ok.

Of course, the ultimate leader we are imitating should always be Jesus. But hopefully we have leaders in our lives who, if we imitate their lives, we ARE imitating Jesus.

But this has got me thinking lately about my own life and my own leadership. I'm totally cool with admitting that as a follower, I imitate aspects of leaders in my life. But honestly, it SCARES ME TO DEATH to know that there are some people in my life who are following me, and therefore imitating me.

It's convicting and it definitely keeps me on my toes. It makes me evaluate every single corner of my life and ask myself the question, "Would you want someone to imitate THIS part of your life?"

I've been thinking about this for a while and I've finally realized something.

They're not imitating what I tweet or post on Facebook. They're not imitating what I write in my blog. They're not imitating what I speak on Wednesday nights. I mean, yes, maybe those things do have impact, but what they're actually imitating is my life, the way I live.

  • How I speak to people.
  • My attitude.
  • How grateful I am, or am not.
  • How much effort I put into the things I am working on.
  • How I respond when someone makes me angry.
  • How I respond when my heart is hurting.
  • How I treat my husband.
  • How I value my family.
  • The time I spend with my friends.
  • What I do when I am with my friends.
  • The entertainment I watch, listen to, attend.
  • The places I go.
  • The way I serve, or don't serve.
  • The way I respect other leaders in my life.
  • How efficient I am with my time.
  • How I treat the waiter at the restaurant. 
  • My apathy.
  • My determination.
  • My procrastination.
  • My timelines. 
  • The ways I love, or neglect to love, the least of this world.
  • The joy I show, or don't show.
  • My level of faithfulness.
  • The gossip I do or do not participate in. 
  • My levels commitment.
  • My honesty.
  • My enthusiasm.

The list could go on and on, but the truth is, they're imitating THOSE things. The way I live my life. And the people under your leadership are imitating your life.

We can speak it. We can tweet it. We can Facebook it. We can blog about it. We can write about it. We can sing it.

But can we live it?

I have read too many tweets from people that sound great, but knowing the person, I have to ask, "But where is that in your life???" And I know that very same thing could be said of me. It's a shame, but it's true.

I want to stop tweeting it and start living it. I know that right now I have a youth group looking to me in many ways and I pray that my life can be worth imitating.

But in an even bigger way, I'm about to be a mom. And that imitation is about to be taken to a WHOLE new level. My prayer is that my kid never has to hear me speak something I am not living. I know that at times I will probably fall short of this, but it is something I am going to strive for as long as I live.


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