Every so often I have this horror of a dream; I am back to Primary School, everyone has joined girls and boys scout except yours faithfully! I am therefore standing at the parade all alone, a laughing stock, looking weird and all. Unfortunately this is not just a dream, it was my reality when I was younger!
When I was in primary school, I was this goofy child who for reasons I still do not remember, refused to join the girls scout. Most, if not all of my classmates, joined the girls scout and so Friday became this nightmare of a day when I would stand on the parade alone, as the rest of the class stood in the sections reserved for Girls and Boys Scout. Why I did not join the movement, I still don’t remember.
However, this was very in-character, I was always the goofy weird girl who never did things because others were doing them, I only did what I reconciled with. I don’t know why these specific incidence has stuck in my mind for this long; however everyone must have some nightmares and being alone on the parade is not the worst of them all. When the sweat of the nightmare passes, what this dream still reminds me is that I was always myself, a trait that I now hold very dearly.
One of the biblical characters that I relate to is one Joseph. Joseph was one goofy guy. Joseph’s story begins when he is seventeen, he dreams about sheaves of grain that bow down to him, and the stars and planets bowing down before him. As one of the youngest sons, Joseph should have known that he would never rule the family, that was the oldest son’s lot in life. But that didn’t stop Joseph from dreaming of greatness.
He had one foot up already; he was daddy’s favorite. Joseph was the first born of Jacob’s favorite wife Rachel, and Jacob loved Joseph more than he loved his other sons. His father’s love had most likely released him to dream big. Love is one of those, they say that a woman who’s loved by her husband is easy to notice; she is self-aware, self-confident and blossoms like a flower. I have come to realise that this is the power of Love. A woman or a man who’s loved will blossom. Love feeds us and releases us to be the best version of ourselves. This must be one of the reasons Joseph was so self-confident. He was a man loved by his father.
The result was that he became the outsider with his brothers. By the time he is sharing his dream with them (and no this was not his brightest moment), they have had it with him. This outsider is first rejected by his family. Soon he is a slave of an Egyptian (and ultimately he’s put in jail). What had began as him being an outsider in his family will soon be his whole life.
He was the outsider in Potiphar’s house, not just because he thrived in all that he did, but also because he refused to compromise and sleep with the beauty of the house. He was the outsider in prison, a man who yet again thrived in all he did, yet a prisoner. An outsider when released from prison, an outsider with such great favor that he ends up being second in command in Egypt.
An outsider yes, but that’s what leadership is all about really. Leaders lead the way and they therefore just cannot fit in the pack. Joseph was a leader and try as he may, he was always going to be the goofy guy.
As I have walked the Lapid Leaders journey, I have come to realise that the greatest weapon of greatness and living the life God called us to, is the nudge to be normal, it’s the urge to do what others do, in short it’s the urge to conform. If you have had a conversation with a Kenyan on why you were caught by a traffic cop and chose to pay the fine rather than bribe him, then you know the goofy have no space in this country. Yet leadership is for the goofy.
Chosen to be goofy
Our values must be the reason, whether they comply with the norm or not. We must be willing to stand on the parade alone when everyone else is joining boy scouts if it does not fit in our values (and no I don’t think I had a problem with boy scouts values, I was just naturally goofy).
We must never allow a world that seeks to conform us to be the reason we become drunkards, while in our hearts of hearts we detest the taste of alcohol. We must choose to wait for marriage in a world where sex before marriage is the norm. In a world where honoring leaders is the abnormal, we must ask God to teach us to honor those he places around us. In a world where the norm is to chase after riches even when it compromises our values, we must have the courage to say no. We must have the courage to stand alone. Leadership. Goofy yes but that’s the fruit of a transformed mind.
Just like Joseph, rejection will follow. In fact we will be kicked out in some spaces, some days we will even feel isolated (trying standing on a parade alone). We will look weird in the face of many; but like Joseph, we must choose to soldier on.
In the end, Joseph’s life is not so not so much the story of what Joseph did as it is the story of what God did in Joseph’s life. Like Joseph, there are some rough patches that we goofy humans need to deal with, but God specializes in such things. God wanted to use this goofy boy to feed a hungry world. “All the world came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe everywhere.” Just like that God uses Joseph to teach us that being normal is overrated, run your race, run the race God sets out for you and it’s never the ‘normal-est’ race!
So in 2016 I am praying that God renews my mind that I may not conform. I am asking God for the strength, the courage, to be a leader with a difference. I am asking for the grace to love being goofy. Live life to the fullest, and that’s still found in the road less traveled.
And for those of us who are goofy, let’s release others to be goofy. Stop labeling people, stop trying to put people in a box where they will conform to your norms. Be and let be. To a goofy year ahead!