I know, that's a strange question. Most of us don't live in tall buildings where lightning it likely to strike. According to the American Heritage Science Dictionary (gotta love Google!), A lightning rod is "a grounded metal rod placed high on a structure to conduct electrical current from a lightning strike directly to the ground, preventing the currents from injuring people or animals or from damaging objects."
What does that have to do with you? Recently, I heard a speaker* talk about how to survive (and thrive) in ministry. There were many good points to his sermon:
* Know what fills your tank and what drains. For example, If playing basketball fills your tank, make sure you take time to play when you are busy and/or stressed. It will fill your tank. When your tank is full, you can give more.
* Understand the principle of a fulcrum. A balanced life does not mean equal "things" on each side. At times, when the pressure is greater on one side, you need to move the fulcrum to that side. Later, when the pressure eases, you can slide the fulcrum back to the the center (or the other edge).
* Lead out of rest. Plan periods of rest into your schedule BEFORE your schedule gets full. If you are tired, you will make bad decisions.
These were all great pieces of insight, but the one that struck me most was to have a lightning rod. Lightning rods are placed on top of tall buildings to take the brunt of a lightning strike. The lightning rod prevents injury and destruction to things around them.
Okay, so what does that have to do with anything? In this case, a lightning rod is someone we can go to who can absorb the shock and heat of our troubles and ground them for us. This person can listen to us vent without trying to "fix" everything. This person prevents us from bringing hurt and destruction to those around us.
Like most women, I tend to process things verbally. When I speak about what's bothering me, I tend to feel better---even if the situation hasn't changed. Sometimes my answer comes while I'm talking it out. But I have to be careful who I talk to. If I share with my husband, he wants to fix it. (In his words, men were created to build and protect. If they can't build or protect, they want to ignore or destroy.) My lightning rod also needs to be someone who can freely share with me. If she acts as my lightning rod, with no outlet, she will soon burn up.
Since hearing this sermon, I've been thinking a lot. There is so much of my life that I don't feel comfortable sharing with people. I don't want to be vulnerable. I don't want to appear weak. But I know I need this release valve in my life. I have found a friend that I believe is going to be a good lightning rod. (And she has agreed to serve as one!) I've been a lightning rod, of sorts, for her over the past 3 years, but I haven't been willing to trust her with my lightning strikes. This week, I took a step of faith and invited her to share more deeply in my life.
That old proverb is true: A burden shared is lighter.
*Wayne Cordeiro, pastor of New Hope Christian Fellowship in Honolulu, Hawaii. No. I wasn't IN Hawaii. I watched via DVD! (Bummer, I know!)