Snow blowing against our faces we held on for our dear lives as we rounded the country rode and skidded out into the open blanketed field - knowing that we had chosen the best make shift sled of the bunch. Brisk
winds accompanied by a deep winter
forecast created the perfect landscape for back road "hood sledding"
- a term our family claimed as a right of passage each winter. While the
kids, ranging from elementary to teens, would scramble to pull on warm clothing
elbow to elbow inside of our aunt's mud porch, the men made their way through
snow drifts to turn on the metal steeds - our beloved farm trucks which
harnessed ropes attached to upside down car hoods. These "snow
mobile chariots" would carry us across unrecognizable dirt paths once dusty
from a summer harvest. Kansas
Picking the winning ride was a top priority. The expanding waist lines and swollen limbs formed from multiple layers of outerwear never slowed down our excitement as we stumbled through the white powder between us and the warming vehicles. We raced, or rather trampled each other towards our choice ride. Climbing aboard, through puffed up mitten covered fingers, we latched onto the rope tied across the width of underbelly parts of the car hoods. With one wave from a rider our caravan took off. Each driver chose their speed, path, and style of driving - doughnuts, serpentine, or swinging out wide around four-cornered intersections. The goal: make it back to the farmhouse with the original crew - while not having to stop for any of us who were thrown off in the process. Upon arrival all passengers clambered to trade to be apart of the winning team. Fun in the snow was not enough. It was top choice to be on the crew who won no matter the work it took to cross the "driveway finish line".
No matter what the season or activity we all have the desire to see progress, the heart to help a cause move towards its' win. The win maybe the final outcome or it could be the win that moves a team forward. Whatever the project, its' forward movement ignites a drive in us to continue to help its' progress.
The opposite is true when a project is not going anywhere - not making any forward progress. It is hard to stay engaged when we see that even when work is applied the project is stagnate. Of course we have all experienced seasons of lagging progress and once we have committed to helping with the work needed we should see it through, however leaders must address and mend the reasons why the work is not moving forward.
When there are no wins or no wins in sight those working, begin to reconsider the value of their work and the work as a whole. When this happens people lose their faith in the progress, or rather the lack there of. Believing in what we are doing helps us keep doing while increases our believing. Faith is not seeing the win, but faith is believing that the win is out there.
When we are apart of something that is moving forward and making a difference we want to keep getting back on the sled even with all the bumps and bruises that may come along with the ride. We are willing to put up with the distance it may take between the stops. We are willing to keep holding on to the rope regardless of the circumstances surrounding us. We are willing to keep moving forward - faithful in the progress.
If we are leading others how do we keep those on our teams faithful in the progress? We thank them by finishing our race. We may not win every time, but when we keep getting better; complete a project that connects to the bigger win; or finish what we start so our teams can see the end and the beginning to the next race; we build faith in the progress.
Leaders must realize that whether a team member is on the sled, in the truck, or at home waiting to give a hot cup of encouragement to those working hard, everyone needs to know that their work matters. "As a Work in Progress" our work is often times inspired by the progress. Knowing this helps us keep moving forward in our work, the work of others, and the work we do together.
"And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith,"
(Phil. 1:25 NKJV)