This article currently appears in the spring issue of The MOPS Magazine.
For the better part of my life, I’ve been more of a follower than a leader. I wouldn’t categorize myself as the mindless type who would follow blind sheep off the cliff to their death. But if the person in charge has a good idea (or if I don’t have a better one), I’m perfectly comfortable just following. In fact, I’ve always considered this one of my better qualities as it allows others to lead in areas of which I’m unsure or lack the experience or wisdom to lead myself.
However, I’ve wrestled with what Go First really implies in my life: metaphorically, spiritually and practically speaking. If you are “first,” you have to be leading; you have to be carving a different path from the already well-traveled one; you have to be making waves and rustling feathers. That doesn’t quite fit my definition of comfortable does it? Can I still be a follower and Go First in my life?
Let it be to me according to your word (Luke 1:38 ESV). This was Mary’s response to the angel Gabriel when he delivered the untimely and surprising news that she would become pregnant with Jesus. I look at Mary, a quiet teenage girl, whose heart was set on following God. Her words were so submissive and full of surrender, and yet, they led her into the most singular example and expression of human initiative of stepping out. She was the type of “follower” who embodied going first. This wasn’t about being a leader, it was about embodying the full posture of surrender which is so counter to our culture and our own selves, that the act of surrender itself becomes an act of groundbreaking leadership.
Going first does not always feel like an act of intentional leading or something heroic. Rather it is a simple certainty that we are where we need to be and finally going in the right direction, whether it be generational healing, overcoming fears and addictions, healing from abuse, learning vulnerability or living out personal convictions. This is not set aside for the select few intentional go-getters. I believe that we are all inherently created to lead – to realize our own Go First, to pursue it and to live into it. Each Go First is as uniquely designed, diverse and intimate as each person our creator handcrafted.
Yes, my friend, you were created to Go First. Lead the way. I’ll follow.
Jinny Jordan is the Editorial Manager for MOPS International. She juggles life with her hubby, Tim, and their three kiddos (15, 10, 5), all the while trying to curb her “Real Housewives” addiction and sneak in a shower from time to time.