“May the Lord restore our sight so as to rediscover what it means to be members of the human family.”
A couple of weeks ago, I had my second gathering for the executive education program I am completing. The organizers repeatedly refer to the experience as “a 52-week program” rather than “a year-long program” to drive home the intensive work that is ongoing between our monthly Zooms and quarterly gatherings together in person. Our experience as a cohort began with some meaningful introductions - beyond simply the normal name and rank. We shared things like where we felt stuck in our leadership and what was important in our families. The sharing continued virtually with a weekly post about our world. As we gathered for dinner the night before our second session, one of my peers made a toast acknowledging what we all felt - this was only our second time meeting and you’d think we’ve worked together for years. Her hypothesis was that this gift was possible because “we started from the inside out.”
As I left for the airport after the session concluded the next day, I couldn’t get that phrase out of my mind, “starting from the inside out.” How often do I jump into a project in my life or leadership with others and start with the work rather than the people? Do I seek to understand and define people by what I observe them do rather than listening to the journey they’ve had? If the Lord knows me and loves me from the inside out, aren’t I obligated to try and do the same with others? I am grateful for the peers in my cohort, but even more grateful for what I have learned from them by learning them first. This week, let’s work extra hard to seek the God-given dignity inside each of us and let it shape what comes out.