Life & Leadership Lessons From The Walking Dead

randomlychad  —  October 24, 2011 — 15 Comments

'Rear of the Walking Dead Truck' photo (c) 2011, Ewen Roberts - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Last week, I somehow managed to watch the entire first season of The Walking Dead. It’s a taut, creepy thriller that features regular folks caught up in much larger-than-life circumstances. And yet, most of them find a way to hold onto hope in an insane world.

This is due in large part to the leadership of Deputy Sheriff Rick Grimes. Though he’s not without his faults, he’s a natural leader, and folks–despite some grumbling–naturally follow. Though he’s not a man of faith, he’s a man of vision, and that vision is rooted in a moral core.

Rick believes, despite the risk to himself–and others–that life is a gift worth cherishing, worth protecting. As such, he’s not afraid to make the hard choices.

So it must be with the best leaders:

Despite overwhelming odds, despite the personal cost, we must be willing to make the hard choices–to step out and lead even when it feels like no one is following. Life will, perhaps not on as vast a scale as The Walking Dead, will throw us curveballs. It’s up to us to learn to plant our feet, and to try to catch them. If however, we get knocked down, unlike Rick Grimes, we have God’s grace to fall into. And He delights in nothing so much as helping His children back up.

How does this play out in my life? It means giving up the things I want for the good of my family, for one. Quite honestly, this is an ongoing battle for me. As I suspect it is for most of us. It also means that, as much as I want them to like me, I’ve got to lead my children (both in word and deed)–which means they need me to be their parent more than they need me to be their friend.

They need me, hard as it is for me, to lead them even when it feels like they aren’t following. Fact is, unlike those of you reading, they see me at both my best, and worst. As such, again as difficult as it is for me, they need to see me owning my failures, confessing my wrongs, and seeking forgiveness. As does my wife as well.

Yes, sometimes–like The Walking Dead–life feels like it’s gone past the breaking point, but I am–we are–never without hope. And that hope is rooted in the forgiveness we find at the foot of the Cross. (If our faith is not rooted in forgiveness, what do we have?)

Jesus gave His all for us, how can we–husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, etc.–fail to do any less? What is our vision for life? Do we merely survive, or despite how hard it is, choose to thrive?

(Yes, I know despair, like the zombies in The Walking Dead, roams around like a ravening lion, seeking whom it may devour. And that sometimes it may seem easier to stop fighting, give in, be eaten, and join the horde. But what kind of life is that?)

That’s vision, that’s faith: choosing the hard things, the right things, over the comfortable things. When everything in us, when every cell, every fiber of our beings, says it’s time to give up, we press on anyway.

Hope is never lost until we decide it is. This is what I’m learning from The Walking Dead: that hope is a choice.

Hope is a choice we make everyday when we get out of bed.

I don’t know about you, but as for me “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” (Psa. 121:1-2, ESV)

How about you? Where does your hope come from? Will you be a person of vision, or a zombie?

Thanks for reading.

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randomlychad

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Christ-follower, husband, dad, blogger, reader, writer, movie buff, introvert, desert-dweller, omnivore, gym rat. May, or may not, have a burgeoning collection of Darth Vader t-shirts. Can usually be found drinking protein shakes, playing with daughter, working out with his son, or hanging out with his wife. Makes a living playing with computers. Subscribe to RandomlyChad by Email

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  • TorConstantino

    Great message embedded within the rotting flesh of a cultural phenomena! Awesome job!

    • Thanks, Tor!

      I had an additional thought--that the “walkers” can serve as a metaphor for the Christ-less life, e.g., it’s easier to fit in, than stand out & swim against the stream.

  • Deuce101968

    Leadership lessons from a zombie show. Well done, sir, well done.

    • I try, Larry, I try.

      Thank-you!

  • Trying to be a person of vision. And trying to avoid being eaten by zombies.

  • Anonymous

    Basically, if I don’t live in faith I will be eaten by zombies? I think I’m going to avoid that.

    Seriously though, great thoughts! We have to live in faith and trust that God will be our keeper. And we have to make the choice, because it is a choice, to step out, to strive…and not merely sit around, just surviving.

    • Nice summation!

      That’s basically it--He cam that we might have life, and that more abundantly--not the half-life of a zombie. Where everything is just appetite and instinct.

  • I love the Walking Dead and I love that there are lessons on leadership from that show. Well played!

    • Thanks, Rob! Digging your blog, too, man!

  • I’m just getting into this show and I appreciate having some material to help convince my wife of its value so she’ll watch it with me.

    • Happy to help! Though I haven’t yet broached the subject with my own wife--she’s kinda squeamish.