Greetings dear reader & welcome to my world again this week. I have been away again most of this weekend, back in my world this morning & to be inspired by the following question: ‘’Why do some ‘waitings’ seem to take a long time & others not so much? The writer guessed it all comes down to how much meaning one places on what we wait for. As the saying goes ‘A watched pot never boils’. The reality is however, it does boil, eventually ~ it is just the process cannot be sped up by watching it."
She was nothing more than contestant 43,212 when Susan Boyle stepped on the stage of Britain’s Got Talent. As a forty-seven-year-old church volunteer, it was a big step to sing on national television. Little did she know how this one performance would forever change the trajectory of her life. Within nine days of the audition, videos of Boyle had been viewed over 100 million times.
It is the stuff dreams are made of. We love it when the underdog becomes top dog. We love it when somebody small makes it big, when a person of obscurity becomes someone. Maybe it is because we picture ourselves standing on the stage & performing in front of the cheering crowds.
I would be lying if I told you I have not had those pictures run through my mind. As a young man, my goal was to become a professional tennis player ~ regretfully, I was never good enough… The truth is, being known, admired & respected makes us feel important. But what if the plan for my life is not to give me a Susan Boyle moment? What if my calling is to relative obscurity?
Obscurity can be a bitter pill to swallow. We love to talk about great people who changed the world. I think deep down everybody longs to be part of a great movement. It would be great if the chapter ended there, leaving us inspired.
However, unlike those who experienced supernatural miracles & victory, the ‘others’ were conversely, often tortured by the apparent lack of success. They can become destitute, & they live in obscurity.
Interestingly, these people were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been expected. None of them received what they felt had been promised. Not yet. Not all promises had been fulfilled in this life ~ yet.
But this life is not all there is. For them, their faith had not delivered them the result they dreamed of. Their faith did not bring fame, nor bring notoriety; it brought obscurity. One of the questions every leader must answer is, “Am I willing to serve in obscurity?”
The first promotion I received was into an administration job, which simply did not suit me, or my personality type. I was naïve, optimistic, & full of ambition. After 12 months, my grandiose visions had degenerated into the hard work of a back office position. And I wanted out. I wanted to be in a place where I had more potential, where there was a greater opportunity for growth. I am not proud to tell you this, but it is what was in my heart.
During those days I remember looking at other roles & a possible alternative position. At one stage an interview took place, & afterward I walked to the nearest telephone, called my wife. I told her, “If I were them, I would not hire me. I am not what they are looking for.” Sure enough, the following Tuesday I received the call I knew was coming. Even so, it was devastating. I vividly remember sitting at my desk, close to tears. I did not want to be anonymous. I wanted to be sought out, not left out. Obscurity was not part of my plan.
I eventually did move to another role. I wish I could tell you I had learned to be fully content where I was however, this would not be totally true, until I arrived & began to make a difference. In those days I began to work in a way which continues to this day.
It is a work involving…
· Contentment in my current assignment
· The ideal growth @ my own pace & values
· My willingness to find happiness
· My view of “true” success
· Finding my significance. 1
There is always discomfort when one needs to learn the benefits of refining our own character. It can be hard & painful. It can force you to face some motives & beliefs needing to be addressed. Alternatively, it may very well be only a matter of waiting, waiting for the next lesson to be learned.
So, let me challenge you this week to sit quietly with the question “Am I willing to live & serve in obscurity?”
I hope my comments are not too depressing dear readers, rather again, provide just an opinion, from my world. Thank you for taking the time to be with me, I hope my journey may encourage you also. This is Kenn Butler in Paradise, Nelson. With my best wishes for another week… I look forward to being with you all again soon.
1 Lance Witt is author of the book Replenish, which is dedicated to helping leaders live & lead from a healthy soul.