This week as I was reading from several leadership books, I came across the above definition of integrity. Integrity is the unity of thought, word and action. I was struck by that definition. I usually think of integrity in terms of someone holding to high values, maintaining a position or set of values. This definition struck a chord.
My word of the year is consistency. As I read this new found definition of integrity I could not help but think about my own quest to be consistent. It seemed to me the two were suddenly one and the same. I desire to be consistent in my thoughts, words and actions. I want to be true to the values I profess to hold, the passions I say I have, the priorities I have chosen.
So, in the end does being consistent lead me to integrity? Or is integrity being consistent? I don’t know. What I do know is that word unity changes everything.
I have been in a very difficult leadership position as of late. It has strained friendships, brought tension into my home and seeds of doubt have overtaken my mind. It is easy in those times to want to push back, fight, bring people together in thought, word and action. Five to six years ago that is exactly what I would have done. But here is the truth. I can not control other people. I can’t cause someone to love something the way I do. I can’t persuade someone to see value in someone or something. I can’t force people to do what they say and mean what they say. As I watch those who say they understood and desired the same things I did, step back, distance themselves from me, I am reminded that all too often we abandon our words, thoughts or choose a different course of action. We live in a world where there always seems to be the desire to have a winning group and a losing group. We live in a world where people desire to be right for rights sake, or seek to avoid any conflict at the cost of abandoning their morals and values. I cringe at the divide that has been created and I know it to be wrong. Unity. The only way for anyone or anything to succeed, to grow, to develop, to be true.
I heeded the words of my wise husband this weekend and stepped back from the situation. I was raw. I was alone. But as I stepped back I realized my only real choice, the only thing I could really do was check my own behavior. I am very sincere in my desire to see a holistic, full beyond measure approach to this particular thing. I believe and value the legacy left by so many who plowed the fields, paved the way so that this thing could exist. I didn’t take this leadership position to be right. I didn’t take this leadership position to build a kingdom or to pick a side. I took this leadership position because I believe that people can come together, can create programs that develop whole beings. I believe in grace and I know my God to be greater than all that is within me. To be consistent then I have to continue to show grace, I have to continue to extend an open invitation for all to work alongside each other. I have to continue to put myself out there, knowing I will be hurt, disappointed, fatigued. I can’t choose a side, even when others want to make me. I can’t seek to win at the numbers game, but have to stay focused on the purpose, the calling.
This place I am right now is hard. It is worth it though, because I desire to grow more consistent and I know this is but a learning opportunity.
I have access to the Master Teacher, the Christ who knew no sin yet bore the world’s. The God who can be trusted, who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. May this journey to be more consistent make me more like Him.