I am finally beginning to recuperate from a really nasty bout of bronchitis that has laid me low for about three weeks.
I had a harder time shaking this bug because I couldn’t take the time off I needed for the strict bed rest recommended by the doctor. Although my health forced me to take four full days and a week of half days off from my job, I still felt that there were too many tasks around home and the office that I simply had to do myself.
I tried to go on as usual and not give in to the illness. I hoped that positive thinking would get me through without any change in my plans.
Eventually, I realized that there was no way I could make a planned cross-country flight to the East Coast to attend a week-long executive committee meeting for which I had been preparing for months. Once that bitter pill was swallowed, the dominoes began to tumble as I had to let go of more and more of my schedule in the face of my declining health.
Meetings were missed, other people filled-in for me at home and in the office and some tasks were postponed or simply canceled.
Once I accepted that life would go on without me and began to concentrate on getting well my body began to respond.
I was pretty sure I knew what lesson God had for me in this experience. It is the lesson that is so beautifully illustrated by the act of removing one’s hand from a bucket filled with water and looking for the hole left behind. It was that old, ego-deflating one that says, “no one is indispensible”.
Then this morning I began to read The Linchpin by business and marketing guru, Seth Godin.
A linchpin, as Seth describes it, is somebody in an organization who is indispensable, who cannot be replaced—her role is just far too unique and valuable. And then he goes on to say, you need to be one of these people. To not be one is economic and career suicide. His theory is “Everyone (who is successful) is an artist now.”
By Seth’s definition an artist is somebody who does “emotional work,” work that you put your heart and soul into. Work that matters. Work that you gladly sacrifice all other alternatives for.
The only people who have a hope of becoming linchpins in any organization, who have any hope of changing anything for the better in real terms, are those who have the capacity to do “emotional work” at a high level—to be true artists at whatever they set their minds on doing.
And Seth then challenges us, the readers, to become linchpins ourselves.
I have been applying many of Seth Godin’s principals to women’s ministry, trying to see how we can use the marketing techniques to move our ministry ahead and meet more women’s needs.
Women’s ministry is by its very nature, “emotional work”, and the women in leadership roles feel it is worth putting our heart and soul into, “work that matters. Work that (we) gladly sacrifice” for.
So what does this mean in light of my recent life-lesson on indispensability?
I need to make myself available for God to use me and be willing to put my heart and soul into following his urgings, but I must be ever aware that I am but a tool in the hand of the master craftsman. It is for him to decide when I am the right tool for the job and when it is time to use another.