The landscape of leadership is dotted with mazes—those crucial decisions that require traversing multiple routes to find the best one. Mazes can be challenging, complicated, and cumbersome. But they don’t have to be.
Recently, as I prayed about a crucial ministry decision, God characterized it as a maze and showed me that one of the pathways had just been closed off.
Good, I thought. We’re making progress.
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how much I dislike mazes. Even the friendly ones in cornfields that cost five bucks to go through don’t feel friendly to me. I jotted down the reasons I never pay money to go through them.
Why I Hate Mazes
- They are scary.
- You have the feeling of being lost, even trapped.
- They are confining, somewhat claustrophobic.
- You have to keep track of which paths lead to dead ends.
- There’s a feeling of uncertainty.
- If others are in the maze, it becomes competitive.
- They’re a time-waster.
When I translated that into the ministry decision I faced, the pressure mounted.
I talked to the Lord about it, and He brought to mind a special relationship I had with our friends’ five-year-old son, Ben. We loved to spend time outside together—turning over rocks to find creepy crawlers, venturing down rows of corn to spy spiders, and climbing trees to retrieve cicadas’ shells.
The memory brought tears to my eyes, and God began to reframe my current maze. He called it an adventure, a time to explore, and a great learning opportunity.
And then He posed this question, “Lisa, what was the best part of your time with Ben—being together, or finding critters?”
Of course the answer was being together, and God had me.
God’s Perspective on Maze-Like Ministry Decisions
- Adventure. God has great confidence in His ability to lead us through the unknown, and great anticipation of the joy we’ll share in this new experience together. As we step into the maze, we can step right into His faith.
- Exploration. God knows every twist and turn in this journey and will be leading the way, shining His light on important aspects He wants us to see.
- Discovery. God is brimming with excitement at the hidden treasures we’ll uncover along the way.
- Learning new things. We’ll gain a college course of insight—even from the avenues that don’t lead to the final choice. The knowledge will serve us well, both now and in the future.
- Being with Him. The absolute best part of entering a maze is doing it with our heavenly Father. Yes, He’ll lead us. Yes, we’ll discover and learn along the way. And yes, we’ll come through on the other side. But being with Him throughout the entire process trumps it all.
In maze-like leadership decisions, and in life, relationship with our Father always supersedes accomplishment. Accomplishment apart from relationship is hollow. The secret to navigating ministry mazes is to view them as adventures you get to go on with your amazing heavenly Father.
How do you feel about the mazes you’ve encountered in leadership, and how has God helped you navigate them? Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comment Section below.