life with others

Kristine is a good friend of Invest and her experience and insight around "investing" is great. Enjoy! Not too long ago, I was under the mentorship of three amazing women leaders. Their investment into my life was profound. I would gather individually with these ladies to dialogue about my role as a ministry leader, follower, and Kingdom-minded individual. I had a lot to talk about, as I was in way over my head at work (in a job I adored and wanted, but looking back I see that it brought out some of the worst things in me over time), where I set expectations of myself that only Jesus could meet (I have a tendency to do this, not sure where I get it from or where it ultimately gets me?), and I discussed my struggles to re-engineer an entire department. So, I sought out the counsel and wisdom of trusted advisors, who became friends and lifelong confidants.

Each of them had a unique influence in my heart: one woman gave to me the passion and heart and care that a shepherd gives its sheep; one acted as a friend who knew the human resource challenge and imparted to me the wisdom to develop boundaries and systems for the team; and the other truly challenged me to rise up as a leader.  All three women invested their time into my leadership, life, woman-hood, and spiritual journey. The questions, influence, advice, fun, and full-on belief in my potential or growth were graciously welcomed by my heart each time we met over lunch, exchanged emails, or had phone calls.

I fully believe that I was a better leader, follower, and teammate because of their investment of time, energy, resources, and love. But it hasn’t been until recently, as I have reflected during a time of quite extravagant transition, that their investment will be made null and void, if I don’t continue to invest my own life into others or into God’s Kingdom.  After all, the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as ourselves.

It isn’t that I don’t like people, because I absolutely do! And though I generally have thick skin, I have a tender heart; so it isn’t that I am devoid of mercy or compassion. It isn’t that I don’t care about the needs, aches, or challenges of my neighbor. My issue is that I am impatient and impatience does not welcome inconvenience. It is inconvenient to rearrange a schedule around someone who needs to share with us and who needs us to listen. It is inconvenient to serve others when we barely have time for ourselves. It’s not easy to sacrifice in the name of Jesus when we are pre-occupied with justification. But sacrifice, service, camaraderie, and unity is exactly what God wants for His Believers. If I keep my cup full and never pour out unto others what it is that I have gleaned, gained, and grown in; then the influence of my life does not ascend into eternity. It stays here. The Bible is explicit in its description of the consequences of our actions: there will be eternal repercussions for what we say and do (Matthew 6:19-20; 2 Timothy 4:8).

I have learned that I must come around someone else(s) to impart what I know. As one of my favorite pastors says, “It isn’t about filling their cup, it’s about emptying yours.” I don’t have to know all of the answers, have things all aligned in my own life, but I can make an investment of time and energy into someone else by opening myself up to joining along in life with others. What would I have felt like if I hadn’t invited those three women into my life? What breakthroughs would not have happened? What aspects of ministry would have been left undone? I tremble thinking about that, so I challenge myself, just as I challenge you – What will your eternity say about you? What investments will you choose to make into the life of others?

Kristine Wendt