Episode 226: Hope for the Journey – Learning to Rise

April 19, 2022

Where are you standing right now? 

No. We don’t mean literally. We’re referring to your leadership. 

It’s Easter! Christ is Risen! And we trust you experienced the joy, wonder, and power of the resurrection in worship on Sunday. The question is, where are you standing with your leadership? Are you standing on the Monday side of Easter or the Friday side of Easter?

While that may seem like a silly question to ask right after we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday, it’s the reality of many leaders.

  • Many try to lead without hope. 
  • Some try to lead without the power of the risen Lord guiding the way.
  • And still others dwell in the darkness and disappointment we experience in the garden and at the cross. 

We are Easter people! 

If you didn’t say Amen as you read that, how about we try again? 

We are Easter people!

Amen! And Amen!

We are Easter people! The resurrection brings new life. This week, explore how to harness that power by learning to rise.

As Christ-centered leaders, you and I are a part of a movement that makes all of us Easter people. The question is, are you leading with the power of the resurrection as your guide? Are you learning to rise?

Learning to Rise

If you’re not exactly sure what that means, in Episode 226, Tim and I explore the journey of learning to rise. Using the journey of Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday, we explore how leaders rise after disappointment, betrayal, doubt, and more. 

Resurrection hope gives us the promise of a new day. Resurrection hope is the power to turn disappointment into new life. Resurrection hope is available to you and the people you lead. For many, we simply need to learn to rise. 

What’s Your Leadership Challenge?

As you listen to Episode 226, come with a difficult leadership moment you’re facing. Come prepared to explore how Stormy First Drafts can help you explore the story you’re telling yourself so you can experience the power of the resurrection…and much more. 

Episode 226: Hope for the Journey - Learning to Rise


[00:00:00] Sara: You're Listening to Leadercast episode 226.

[00:00:04] you're listening to Leader cast, transforming missions podcast with Tim bias and Sara Thomas. Providing you with resources to navigate the challenges and opportunities of courageous Christ- centered leaders

[00:00:22] Tim: What in your leadership needs to experience resurrection?

[00:00:28] Sara: Well, before we answer that question, let me remind you that you can find show notes for this episode@transformingmission.org forward slash two two. And happy Easter.

[00:00:40] Tim: Yeah, happy Easter. Now I'm going back to my question. What in your leadership needs to experience resurrection today? As we end the series, hope for the journey, we want to focus on the power of the resurrection in light of the crucifix. We've just celebrated. One of the most glorious days in the Christian year, Easter is filled with joy and hope and the promise of new life.

[00:01:11] And now we're asking the question, what in your leadership needs to experience resurrection?

[00:01:18] Sara: Tim. I'm wondering, is that a bit of a wet blanket on all the joy hope and promise of Easter?

[00:01:27] Tim: No, Sarah it's hope for the journey. You have a way of talking about this, which is very important to me. So I'm just going to ask you, what is, what is it, what is that way of talking about?

[00:01:42] Sara: Yes, Tim, I call it learning to rise. And that's really a, a phrase and a term that comes from Bernay Brown's research. And they'll say a little bit more about that in a moment, but you've offered it a couple of times and I want to say it again.

[00:01:58] Think about a tough moment in your leadership right now, because as we walk through this episode, if you have something in mind, That is going on in your local church with the leadership of your church, something happening in your community, maybe it's with a ministry partner or maybe it's even a personal relationship that you haven't navigated well, or has hit a bump in the road.

[00:02:20] Hold that and hold that in mind. As we walk through this.

[00:02:26] Tim: So, let me say it back to you. What I've heard you say, you're asking us to identify a challenging moment in life or in leadership?

[00:02:37] Sara: That is it, are we clear?

[00:02:40] Tim: Well, yes. So tell us why you call it learning to rise.

[00:02:45] Sara: my version of learning to rise is an application of Brene Brown's work. To a Christian context. I put learning to rise in the context of the journey from good Friday to Easter Sunday. So as you hold that leadership moment in mind, that tough leadership moment let's consider the journey from good Friday to Easter Sunday and beyond.

[00:03:12] And the first thing that I want you to remember is it's a journey and we've talked about it all through lent. There is always hope.

[00:03:20] Tim: , before you unpack that journey from good Friday to Easter Sunday, I want to ask about the Lord's supper.

[00:03:30] Sara: Leave it leave it to you, Tim. You're getting me off track here. Seriously. Yes. You could include the last supper. You could include what we celebrate on Monday, Thursday. The questioning of Jesus in the foot, washing the truth, telling one would be Trey Jesus or the subsequent betrayal that happens. I wouldn't call those easy moments in the life of Jesus or the disciples and learning to rise is all about learning, to get back up after you fall, how to not let the discouragement, the disappointment, the loss define.

[00:04:07] But to get to the truth of the story of what has really happened and to make new meaning from a tough situation, does that have.

[00:04:18] Tim: Well, yes, because it seems like the whole week of what we call holy week and the, in the events of holy. Which then get to the last supper and to the crucifixion. Any of those moments could be those tough moments where the disciples were facing either discouragement or disappointment or loss. So yeah, it makes a lot of sense to.

[00:04:43] Sara: So if you start with the betrayal of Jesus on what we now celebrate as Monday, Thursday, and move into the suffering and sacrificial love of Jesus, there is that pain. There is loss and there is a moment when it all seems to end there's questioning and doubt. Maybe he wasn't the Messiah. How could this be happening if he really is the son of God.

[00:05:09] And then as we move from the crucifixion to Saturday, there's silence on Saturday. It's a day. If we're honest, we often skip over it. Jesus was crucified. Bam he's reasoning. When we make this, we make this leap, but in times of loss or hurt or pain, there's always a time of silence. There's a space where the unknown weighs heavily.

[00:05:37] There is an uncertainty as we sit with that loss and sometimes there's confusion. There can even be anger, pain reasons. The whole range of emotions that we experience, think of the stages of grief that, that we through. And that we about all of that happens before we get to the promise and hope of Sunday.

[00:06:02] So learning to rise as that journey from the last supper, pain and betrayal to the joy and promise of Easter and everything in between.

[00:06:12] Tim: Yeah, Sarah you've said a lot. So I don't think as fast as you speak. So let me pull one thing out and then we'll circle back to the, to the rest. I wanna, I wanna point out to the leaders listening to. Skipping over the silence of Saturday. That's a metaphor. This is a place in leadership not to skip because it's the place pain and hurt are healed.

[00:06:39] You know, again, I got to make a confession here. If I had a Monday, Thursday, holy communion service, and then led people through something on good Friday. Saturday was a time when I was doing something else, because I knew they were going to be a lot of work on Sunday, but when it became more of my life and not something I was doing, but something that I had experienced as a, as a follower of Jesus, then Saturday became more of a time for me to to really reflect upon the love of Jesus. We want to say no to, and the resurrection of Jesus where God says, I'm not going to take your, no for an answer. And I'm living in the middle of that. Reflecting again of what side of Saturday of my living. So that's, that's what I was thinking. So I didn't mean to interrupt you again. I threw you off with the last supper.

[00:07:42] Now I'm doing it with holy Saturday. So go ahead.

[00:07:46] Sara: No, you're, you're not throwing it off. You're throwing me off. You're you're raising a point. I think we, we can fast forward through and, and let's face it. None of us like to experience the doubt, that space of, I don't know what's going on. I don't have control over what is happening. I might not even have control over my emotions because I'm upset about what, what happened.

[00:08:12] We don't like being in those moments. And so we do try to make. Move through them quickly. And so when we said at the beginning, identify a hard moment in your leadership. Think about where you're standing right now. Are you standing in the garden on Monday, Thursday? Are you sitting at the foot of the cross on Friday?

[00:08:41] His Jesus just died and you're trying to grapple with the reality of what has just happened. And you've got a whole lot of questions, or maybe as we've just been talking about, you're sitting in the silence of Saturday with a whole lot of questions and you just need to sit there and take the time and the space.

[00:09:08] So that you can experience once again, the power of the resurrection. We can't get to Sunday without going through Saturday. We've got to work through the tough parts and not just move to the joy. And what I think this is, this is going to sound critical. And I don't mean it to, I mean, it,

[00:09:33] When I think about.

[00:09:36] The congregations that I served and have been a part of an attending or leading Monday, Thursday worship services and good Friday worship services. The people who participated in those worship services were a fraction of the number of people who came on Easter Sunday.

[00:10:03] Tim: So, sorry. You've got me. Go

[00:10:05] ahead.

[00:10:08] Now. I want you to finish, cause you've got me thinking about something.

[00:10:12] Sara: Well, I just think of that as an example of how our human nature is to go to the happy, joyous, beautiful parts of things. Often it's because we don't know what to do with the pain and the hurt and the loss. And so we want to work around it instead of working through.

[00:10:34] Tim: Yeah, that's where I was going. I've been with you saying that one of the places where there's lots of pain and loss is when somebody loses a loved one to death. And I want to be careful cause I, I don't want to be too critical, but I've heard a lot of. People dismiss the pain and dismiss the, the, where people are in the midst of of their struggle when they lose a loved one. When they hear things like, Oh, they're in a better place or they're with Jesus now The one that really gets me is that, oh, God needed them as a flower in his garden.

[00:11:22] Sara: Oh, mercy.

[00:11:25] Tim: Now all that might be true, but that's really bad theology in my, in my opinion. So I just, I just have to name that and then, and then everybody can pray for me and I'll become a better Christian. 'cause I don't, I don't hear any of those things as being helpful in the midst of pain and death. And whether, whether people really mean them or not, it's really a dismissal of pain.

[00:11:55] And what we're talking about on Saturday is if, if we put ourselves in the context of that, Tom, on Saturday the person we've put everything in that we've that we're following. I found a disciple. I've been following Jesus. I've given him my life. I've, you know, we've he's everything to me is one of the songs say, we've watched him die. I don't know Sunday's coming. I don't know the resurrection's coming. So what am I going to do now? And we know that the disciples were off hiding because they were thinking to themselves, am I going to be the next one? Are they coming after me? There were some people who were thinking and the women who came that there were still some things that had to be done to a dead body and they were going to take care of them.

[00:12:50] They weren't expecting the stone to be rolled away. They weren't expecting anything different. All they knew was is that the person they loved who helped make them, who they were at that point where they had given up their life was no longer with them. And I think they were asking the question and this may be the question for Saturday. What do I do now? Who am I. And one of my about now, does that make sense? I mean, that's what you had me thinking.

[00:13:24] Sara: It makes a lot of sense. And, and we've, we've been focused on the part of holy week. That's Thursday through Sunday. So let me back us up even more of another place that we miss, everything that, that you've just named. When we jump from the triumphal entry into Jerusalem with Palm branches to Easter Sunday.

[00:13:52] We miss the confusion. We missed the loss. We miss the betrayal. We miss the pain. We miss the silence that happens after Jesus is crucified and sitting with with Saturday. And we've all felt like we were experiencing the crucifixion, something failed, something fell flat, something didn't work. You did something you regret, you made a mistake.

[00:14:16] in an argument that you don't even know what the argument is. It's Friday. So in those moments to be the best friend, colleague, parent, or partner, you can be all I'm going to ask you to do with the pain because we've all experienced pain. You might not have experienced the exact pain of the person that you had.

[00:14:44] So instead of that bad theology that Tim was talking about, just connect with the pain, sit with people in the silence of those Saturday moments, there is doubt, where there is wonder where there is catastrophizing, there are made up stories and recognize them as that. This is my language and it's a horrible image, but I'm going to say it anyway when people are circling the poor supple porcelain bowl and going around and around and around just be, be with people in them moment

[00:15:21] Tim: That is.

[00:15:23] Sara: because the, resurrection is coming.

[00:15:25] I'm sorry.

[00:15:27] Tim: Oh, don't be sorry that the resurrection is coming.

[00:15:30] How was interrupting you? I I'm sorry. I just that's that's the gospel story, Sarah, what? You've what you've just said. And, and if we actually think about those moments as being Saturday moments and we moved beyond the, the literal events Part of what we try to do in the church with holy week services is to rehearse this story. And I'll tell you the least, when I was a pastor in a local church, the least attended services where these kinds of services that rehearsed this. And I think part of that's because we do want to jump on to, we, we know the joy that's coming, so we want to jump towards that and who wants to focus on death and pain and agony and all of that. And, and really, and this is my point and I probably should leave it best unsaid, really? Who wants to sit with people who are so.

[00:16:37] Sara: Listen to episode 2 25, where we talked about leading with love. If the point is the love of God that we know in Jesus, why wouldn't you want to sit with people in those rooms?

[00:16:56] Why wouldn't we pause and be present in those moments,

[00:17:05] the midst of the hurt and pain when people need to experience love the most. There there's no scale of. Here's how much pain you're experiencing. So here's how much love you should get. That's not what I'm saying. I'm just saying that when, when we are in pain, that's when we need to be reminded that we are loved and that we are God's beloved.

[00:17:33] And so if we're going to be people who lead with love, when we're learning to rise, when we find ourselves in those hard moment, One of the best things that we can do is simply sit with people, be present with people and not try and fix people. We don't have any power to make the resurrection happen, but God does.

[00:17:59] Tim: So what happens when we experience what you've just named?

[00:18:04] Sara: So we've been talking about one of the risks. We skip the journey through the whole, rehearsal of the story. As you were saying, it, the rehearsal of those moments in Jesus. We skip the journey of what happened on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or we simply get stuck on Friday.

[00:18:24] get caught up in the story that we're telling ourselves and fail to face the truth of the moment experience new life. And I don't know how this could happen literally, but I hope you'll catch on with the metaphor we're crucifying ourselves over and over again. That's one of the risks, another way.

[00:18:44] we have all heard it said, and we've experienced it. It may feel like Friday, but Sunday's coming. Resurrection comes not in our timing, but in God's timing when Sunday arrives, the promise of new life is here and hope is real. The sting of Friday is removed. So when I say that out loud, yeah. I get why people want to rush to Sunday because we'd all rather be there, but there's a whole experience of transformation hap that happens in all of those other moments.

[00:19:20] And we miss the beauty and wonder and power of the resurrection. When we fast forward through everything, I'm going to start preaching. Stop me.

[00:19:30] Tim: Well, I want to respond to your sermon here and just say that, and it's, it's obvious. So I'm going to state the obvious. And what we're talking about is not just the historic events of crucifixion and resurrection. This happens in every relationship. It happens at moments when we're not expecting it, that there's a betrayal.

[00:19:57] There's, there's the pain, there's the death. And we are then sitting with people in the midst of. Of that very pain and it may not be, it may not be a good Friday, but the experience is good Friday. It may not be holy Saturday, but the experience is holy Saturday. So as I was thinking about that, I'm thinking about the resurrection account and Luke's gospel. There's a, there, there are witnesses to new life joys experience there, even some there who have doubt. And the two men described as gleaming like lightning, they ask the women who have come to anoint the body. Why do you look for the living among the dead? He's not here. He's risen. If you stop and think about that, that's a reason to pause.

[00:20:51] Sara: I think you can begin to apply that question to your leadership when you've made the journey through all of holy week. And when we stop and ask that question, why are you retracing your steps in the place of burial? Why are you digging up the dirt? Why are you perpetuating a story that may or may not be true?

[00:21:13] Jesus was crucified once. Why are you crucifying yourself over and over again? So here's where we pause and get the facts on the table. What actually happened? What is all this grief? What is this loss? What is the pain all about? And maybe more important. What was her part in that? And what are your feelings as a result now we're really beginning to learn to rise.

[00:21:46] Tim: And this is something that can happen or you can do. And in 15 minutes,

[00:21:52] Sara: short answer. No, you can't wait. Get to the crucifixion in 15 minutes and we didn't immediately move to the resurrection in 15 minutes. So it takes some time.

[00:22:10] Tim: since we started this episode, we asked the question, what in your leadership needs to experience resurrection? And what I'm hearing you say is that. We have to get to current reality. What's the truth of what is really going on. you're on my street now, Sarah, when you start asking those kinds of questions, because if you live life only aspirational, you don't live in reality. And so to, to really know what, what your current reality is, what's really going on. I guess another way I'd say it is, if you don't know where you're starting, you don't know where you're going to end up because where you start makes a difference.

[00:22:55] Sara: And I guess when I, when I go back to the resurrection account to. The man described as gleaming like lightning. Why do you look for the living among the dead? He's not here. He's risen to me. That's the wall up upside the head. It's the reality check moment. What are you doing? But let's get it. Let's get a grip on what's what's really happening here.

[00:23:19] it's not the story that we're telling ourselves. It's getting to truth of the story. So let's say you've had a hard conversation with a person in the church, and now you wish you would have said something different or done something different. That's the gin a generic way of saying it, but we've all been there.

[00:23:37] And the story that you're telling yourself is not a good leader because you didn't say X or you're not a good pastor because you're continuing what have happened. That's not the truth.

[00:23:52] That's your emotions at work. That's like Peter, in the midst of the resurrection account, wondering to himself what happened. So get clear about is really going on. Have that reality check moment to be able to name current reality so that you can begin to move through. And experience the joy and power of the resurrected.

[00:24:20] Tim: So Sarah on, I know what you're saying. And that, that takes me to the place of, I can't get to the resurrection unless I'm actually being truthful about my my reality, my context. But the thought just ran through my mind as I'm becoming more, who God creates has created me to be more of the leader that God needs for me to be.

[00:24:44] I was just thinking how cool it would be the resurrection, where my context, my reality.

[00:24:52] Sara: Yeah, and it, and if that's the reality that you're working from and towards how different the story is that gets through.

[00:25:02] Tim: I'm guessing that that's part of the truth of the gospel, huh?

[00:25:08] Sara: Yeah, I think

[00:25:08] I

[00:25:09] Tim: But most of the people I deal with don't.

[00:25:10] live in resurrection. They live on the Friday set feisty side of Saturday.

[00:25:16] Sara: And why do you say that? I'm not saying that they don't, I'm just saying why I'm just

[00:25:22] Tim: Or, or the Saturday side of the resurrection, it, it, they get, they get stuck with, with the pain and the pain gets So so overwhelming at times there is no. And they're willing to give up or they, they feel like that it should be a different way than the way it is because it's, it's not happening the way they want it to And so they get stuck at a place where they're saying, well, it should have happened this way. And it didn't happen this way. You, you were explaining it there earlier. And a lot of the leaders that I work with. Are stuck because they're paralyzed, whatever it is to step into the hope and to the power.

[00:26:08] The new day of, of learning to rise is not part of their reality.

[00:26:16] Sara: not to turn this into a counseling or coaching session, but if, if you want, if you want to learn to rise and move beyond those Friday and Saturday moments and. The continuous loop of replaying that in living in that moment. what I would say is just try this, get out a pen and get out of paper and write down your

[00:26:46] SFD. And I'll call it the stormy first draft. There's another word that I use in other contexts, but we'll just call it a stormy, a first draft. What's the story that you're telling yourself. And after you write that all down, then ask yourself in reading that story. If you're being honest, if it's truly unfiltered, And hear me, this is for you.

[00:27:10] This is for no one else. This is just for you. And you'll understand why I'm emphasizing that in just a second. Is it unedited? And the last one is, and it's a fun one. It might even be on shareable. This might end up right in the shredder after it's been written down. Once you've been able to write that story and say, yeah, this is true.

[00:27:35] I'm being honest, I'm unfiltered. It's unedited. Now you're awaiting the resurrection or maybe I should say now you're awakening the power of the resurrection because resurrection happens in reconciliation. Resurrection happens in finding a new director. Resurrection happens in new possibilities.

[00:28:00] Resurrection happens and healed relationships. Resurrection happens we practice what we've talked about throughout this whole journey lens and into Easter, we practice forgiveness. When we practice self denial. When we practice confession,

[00:28:16] Tim: You might have to repent.

[00:28:18] Sara: after revenge. Learning to rises a journey from the betrayal, the doubt, the failure

[00:28:24] Tim: Oh,

[00:28:26] Sara: of Thursday and the pain of Friday's crucifixion and the silence of Saturday. And we're when we are ready to experience the joy that is present in the new life in Christ, then we're learning to rise and folks, we don't do that just once a year.

[00:28:46] That's called living life. That's called leading people. We're going to encounter these moments over and over and over again. And the more we become equipped to be able to say, oh crap, I'm stuck on Friday as a metaphor. Then we know the questions that we need to begin asking ourselves what's the work that I need to do.

[00:29:12] What's the, what are the questions that I need to be asking the people around me? Who do I need to be hearing from so that I can get to that current reality that you were speaking about? Because darn it. I want to experience resurrection and not just the trumpets that play on Easter Sunday once a year, the full power of a new life that comes in the resurrection.

[00:29:39] Hope we'll stop preaching. Now take us home, Tim.

[00:29:45] Tim: I was waiting for the invitation. Sarah, what I was thinking is. That as Jesus followers people of the resurrection we are Easter people. I guess I need to say it this way.

[00:30:00] And you can forgive me, but we've kind of reduced the resurrection down to something about, if I can say it this way, you know, that it it's more than God raising a few contemptuous saints to go to. I mean, what I'm hearing us talk about today is is God not taking our, no for an answer that when we live in the midst of all the pain and the grief and all the things that separate us from one another are all the issues that we focus on and all the things that separate us, God says, I understand, but I'm not gonna take your note for now. I'm going to give you a new day. And when we talk about being with people who are in pain and have experienced death, that's part of it, but walking with people on their daily journey and just their struggle to be more who God created them to be. That's another part of it.

[00:31:04] Sara: Yes.

[00:31:05] Tim: I think another part of it is that it's not some.

[00:31:11] Catchy little thing that we do on a podcast about where have you seen Jesus lately, lately? He's the resurrected Christ he's alive and well, and the world in which we live. Where do you see him?

[00:31:27] Sara: Yeah. And, and how do we ever expect to experience the power of the resurrection? If we're not willing moment by moment and day by day to pause and look around see where we're seeing Jesus.

[00:31:44] Tim: Right. Even, even Mary listen mistaken when she first saw him in the garden. So if Mary who was so intimately related to Jesus, well, thank you. It was the Gardner. Just think how much we'll miss him. If we're not intimately related to him. And understand his sacrificial love and begin to train ourselves to see Jesus and the people around us.

[00:32:14] Sara: You're naming the power of learning direct.

[00:32:18] Tim: Well, thank you. I've been you've been my teacher. Just been your state.

[00:32:23] Sara: So let me just remind you one last time. You can find show notes for this episode@transformingmission.org forward slash two to six. And Tim and I wish you a blessed and happy Easter season. remember. Who you are, is how you lead bye for now.