Stop Trying to Win

“Navigating this moment and the coming seasons with wisdom will require more than changing our perspective; we need to change our paradigms.”

Let me guess—you’re tired. I’ve never experienced this level of complexity, and I bet you haven’t either. This is a weighty season with weighty decisions. Every decision you make right now has the potential to make someone you care about uncomfortable, frustrated or angry. This tension takes a toll. Decisions require more energy right now, and criticism is coming from a few directions. We’re in the middle of an exhausting relational chess match.

Whether I’m in a coaching session or reconnecting over coffee, one phrase is on repeat with ministry leaders I know: “I can’t win!” Some people will think you spoke up too much on a pressing issue. Others will say you didn’t speak up enough. Some will think your gathering precautions are shrouded in fear. Others will call you reckless for gathering at all. Some will say politics matter too much to you. Others will say you don’t care enough about what’s happening in Washington.

Our old ways of thinking will not carry us through these new challenges. Navigating this moment and the coming seasons with wisdom will require more than changing our perspective; we need to change our paradigms. Here are a few crucial paradigm shifts we must make.

FROM WINNING TO DISCERNING

Shift from trying to win to trying to discern. You simply can’t win in everyone’s eyes. No matter how well you think it through, someone will be disappointed or angry about your next decision, so make the most discerning decision possible. Go to the Father in prayer. Ask advice from wise counsel outside your team. Seek alignment in your team and elders. Determine the best decision, be ready for criticism and stop trying to win.

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FROM DESTINATION TO DIRECTION

Shift from finding your destination to moving in the right direction. We simply don’t know how this social, medical and economic crisis will play out. We don’t know who will gather or how we can gather in 2021. We don’t know what decisions we will have to make in the future, but we can move in the right direction. You and your team will need to abandon the desire to arrive at this new normal end point and stay focused on moving in the right direction.

FROM CERTAINTY TO CLARITY

Shift from seeking certainty to seeking clarity. If you are waiting for absolute certainty to make any decision, you’ll never get going. We can’t be certain of much in this quickly shifting culture of fake news and bad news, but we can clarify our next step and then make it. Fear can lead to crippling indecision. Discern what your next step is and be courageous.

You can’t win in everyone’s eyes. We don’t know the destination. Certainty is an unrealistic goal. But you need to be a leader who is courageously moving forward. Take your next step, even if you do it scared.

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