There is nothing like parenting to reveal what is truly within my own heart.
Like most days, I was greeted by my children upon arriving home from work. My oldest daughter proudly presented to me her latest art project. A painting of our solar system.
I took a quick look over her work and then quickly responded by saying, "That is wonderful ... but you misspelled Saturn."
As soon as the words escaped from my mouth, with the help of a direct look by my wife, I knew that I had crushed her creative spirit. I was more concerned with her being "right" than I was in her taking a "risk".
I have been guilty far too many times of parenting that way. And I am more than certain that I have led that way as well.
How many times have people had a nudge, an idea, a hope, a vision, a dream -- to do something far outside the established parameters that I have designed (whether real or imagined) -- only to have me respond by telling them that it is not the right time, or the right way, or the right place, or even that they are not the right person?
They misspelled a word and it bothered me. Or maybe it's because they painted the solar system, and deep down inside, I was upset that I had never thought of drawing that.
Now please understand, I am not saying that anyone should be able to do anything without any accountability or consequence.
I am not talking about being righteous in Christ's eyes, but rather appearing right in my own. There is a paramount of difference.
Sure, Saturn was spelled incorrectly. My daughter will need to learn how to properly spell the sixth planet from the sun. But was the issue as important as I made it out to be?
Jesus had a way of seeing pictures (and people) differently. He saw art despite the error. A leader in a fisherman. A writer in a tax collector. A missionary in a persecutor. A worshipper in a prostitute.
Maybe we make more effort to see people how they could be rather than how we want them to be.
How, as leaders, do we balance between guarding the intentional vision with releasing creative cultures? When do we say "yes" and "no" for the right reasons and with the right heart?
One reason I enjoy being a part of a church plant is that we have ample opportunities for people to succeed and fail (and learn from both results). I am growing more comfortable not knowing all of the answers -- and watching as others serve and shine in ways that I will never be able to myself.
But such culture has to be created. It must be fostered. It has to be protected. We must all fight against the temptation to point out misspellings without first taking in the entirety (and beauty) of the picture.
w Justin Farley is a church planter and lead pastor at Blue Bridge Church located in Carmike Cinemas in Kennewick. Questions and comments should be directed to editor Lucy Luginbill in care of the Tri-City Herald newsroom, 333 W. Canal Drive, Kennewick, WA 99336. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.