My son comes into the house one day with wet boots all over the floor, jacket half open, no hat and his hands are filthy. This is what I see, that and red, all red. I have issues with cleanliness that I need to get over I am sure. My son is crazy excited about a cool rock he found in the great outdoors, with no concern for his health mind you. This is the tone that is in my head, and the tone that is in my head orchestrates my heart on the issue like a puppet on strings. I wish I had the “awesome dad” reaction that would cause Hollywood to write a script about it. I did not; instead, I lost it. I elevated to a yelling tone about what he did by bringing his boots wet through the house, how his jacket should be closed in such weather and how filthy he was.

His face was a window to his heart at that moment. He looked crushed and ready to bolt away and I let him. See this story gets no better for my reputation. I continue to work on my project and had very little conviction about reaction initially, because I was too busy and the noise of life spoke louder than the Holy Spirit at that moment. About a half hour later, I went to hug my son as I normally do throughout the day and realized he had some apprehension. Instantly, it hit me like a ton of bricks, I crushed his spirit.

Immediately, the Holy Spirit gave me such an illustration that it broke me. He showed my how I am often like my son and I come in broken, messed up, just a tad crooked and off course, but I brought my best at that moment and he was pleased with me. I immediately sat my son down and asked him to forgive me and my son was quick to forgive and we had a great conversation about cool rocks. The thing is, most of the time we know better. I understand tone can dictate the course of a relationship immediately and over time. Here is what Paul had to say about moments like this:

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. – Romans 7:15-20

I will write about parenting and discipline some other time, but I really felt the need to focus on leadership in the home and how much tone is a stage for that leadership. Fact is tone is a stage for leadership in any setting, not just the home.

Tone is a showcase of your heart’s current condition. If we are honest we all lose it sometimes, but what is it that flips the switch for you? I know for me there are some key warning signs for my poor tone  and here are some of them:

  • Poor Devotional Time

I often find myself apologizing and repenting when I skimp out on what is important to me, Jesus time. I quickly read the Bible plan I have setup and get moving with the day instead of taking to time to pray, worship, read and then write it all out in my journal. This will cause me to revert to my flesh in times where I could have been much more sensetive to others and the Holy Spirit. The fact is I cannot be Christ-like without the Holy Spirit and none of us should try.

  • Lack of Organization

I get overwhelmed when things are not in order, and perhaps I can be a bit OCD about it. I know how to be organized and even find myself being quite good at it, so those moments where things are not in order, I break a little. My OCD aside, our lives require a level of organization that allows us to focus on interuptions and other things with little stress. You may only need to know when to eat and sleep and life is great. That is fine, but find your level of organization necessary to clear your head for a healthy heart.

  • Self-Preservation

I have plans, ideas, and dreams and then my son walks on them with muddy, wet boots. That is excessive, and my son never did that, but when we are fighting self-preservation, that is the filter we see things through. Self-Preservation tells us that we are the center of the universe and all things must revolve around us, and we will do what it takes to keep us comfortable.

There are so many other reasons, but these three are my top conditions for unhealthy tone in my leadership. What about you? What are some things that you have to set in order or focus on to maintain healthy leadership tone?