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What is Leanership?

Updated: Oct 13, 2019

It’s 5:15 PM on a Friday and I'm already late. I'm speaking tonight at UC Berkeley but have gotten delayed by a doozie of a meeting. What was supposed be a simple check-in turned out to be an angry unloading session. My colleague had five problems, and I was the common denominator. I was so confused as she vented. Where was this coming from? I tell her I want to unravel it all, but I have to catch my train.

I grab my backpack, hop on the the elevator, race the three blocks to the subway, and squish onto my train. All I want to do is sit and process that meeting. I spot an open seat and move toward it, but a woman pushes past me and snags it. My heart sinks. My feet ache. My shoulders tighten thinking about that last meeting. Then about losing my seat. Then the crowdedness of the train, the screeching of the wheels, the heaviness of the air...How I want to be home.  

Taking matters into my own hands

With one hand hanging onto a bar for stability, I pull out my phone with the other and begin a text. In the To: field, I type the name of my colleague. The words come quickly—a release valve on the pressure inside me. My side of the story. Her behavior. Evidence and justification. I’m feeling better by the minute. But just as I hover my thumb over the Send button, something stops me. These words: “Come to me.” Not audible, more of a feeling. “Come to me.”

Jesus on the subway

I suddenly remember. Jesus. He’s with me, even on the subway. He's always here, just waiting for me to notice. If I let Him, He will fix all of it. “Come to me.” I reluctantly move my thumb away from the Send button. How I want to send this! But my job is clear. I take a breath, press the Off button, and slide my phone back into my pocket. And just like that: the boiling anger, the pit in my stomach, the weight on my shoulders—it is gone. Lifted.

All you who are weary

The words of Matthew 11:28-29 flow to me now. Jesus is speaking to the growing crowd around him:

“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

At that moment, a seat opens up beside me; I slip into it, clasp my hands, close my eyes, and spend the rest of the 20-minute ride praying. Praising. Thanking. Repenting. Hearing.

Speaking to International students at UC Berkeley

A state of peace

I arrive at the Berkeley talk in a state of peace. It’s a group of international students from a variety of faith backgrounds; many are non-religious. I tell my story of finding faith just two years ago. Though I didn’t plan to, I tell them about my day, the difficult work meeting, and discovering Jesus on the subway. It’s that last part that resonates most with them. Several approach me afterward to ask about it, ready for that kind of peace in their lives.

Letting Him fix it

And my colleague? Without my prompting, she set up a meeting on Monday to apologize. We got to the bottom of those five problems, and she even gave me a hug. I thought: What if I had sent her that text? What mess would I still be unraveling?


That's not a typo. Leanership. It's a way of moving through life not by taking charge but by leaning on a God who knows far more than I do. It is tapping into the power of a God who can see around corners, carry my burdens, stop me from selfishness, and nudge me toward courage. Leaning isn't easy for me...every cell of my body wants to lead.

This Blog

I don't know where it will go. I know only that it is the next step in this unexpected journey of faith I've been on now since 2017. It turns out, I am not supposed to know. I am simply supposed to lean on the God who knows, and who wants with His whole heart to guide me there.

My job is to let Him.


What about you?

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