The notion of thriving has become a common theme in many circles, but what does it mean to me as a Christian Educator and Leader? For me thriving is about finding joy in my current situation. It is believing my job is a calling rather than just a means to an end. I was reminded of this in a significant way this week when I was explaining to my 9 year old Luke the meaning of his bible verse from school “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9,NIV). What an amazing privilege it is to have this strong sense of calling.
Having a clear vision and purpose is also important to me and having faith that our timing is not always the same as God’s timing. If we are going to thrive, I believe at times our faith needs to be childlike in nature. I am struck sometimes how my sons faith can teach me so much! Last Friday Luke came home from school without his expensive new shoes and told me they were lost. I didn’t have much hope of them turning up on Monday after a weekend. However, to my surprise on Monday morning there they were right outside the classroom! Luke looked at me with every confidence and said “I knew they would be there Mum, I prayed we would find them”. How often do I waste energy worrying about things like missing shoes or things I have no control over? This in turn can definitely stop me from thriving as God intended. As someone who enjoys problem solving I sometimes have to remember some things are completely out of my control. If I don’t allow myself to step back and trust a process to unfold, then I am in danger of striving, not thriving!
For me thriving has also been about looking for special people along my journey who I can trust and learn from. A load shared is a load lightened. These amazing mentors and coaches were not found by accident as I have been actively looking out for them. I have felt safe to make myself vulnerable to them and allow iron to sharpen iron along my journey as a leader. As time has gone by I also feel a sense of thriving when I am able be a listening ear and encourage others through times of celebration and challenge.
Building community and unity also allows me to thrive. ‘We’ is always stronger than ‘I’! Helping others to succeed and working on a shared vision and purpose is an amazing feeling. Our hope, as the CECEAA exec, is that we can keep building a strong Christ centred community of learners who will impact our nation. During our Leadership Hui in Wellington, we would like to continue this dialogue with you and consider ways we can encourage our teams to thrive.
“For His body has been formed in His image and is closely joined together and constantly connected as one. And every member has been given divine gifts to contribute to the growth of all; and as these gifts operate effectively throughout the whole body, we are built up and made perfect in love.” - (Ephesians 4:16, TPT)