I have worked in Hollywood for about 20 years as an actress and with my husband at our media company Cooke Media Group. Together we have filmed in multiple cities, countries and continents and have taught on issues surrounding media, culture and faith. One of my jobs at Cooke Media Group is to study futurists and researchers to gain a better understanding of what audiences want to watch and how they think. 

Can we know what’s coming?

Often film and television projects can take years from inception to completion, so it’s essential that we’re aware of what’s coming. We need to speak the cultural language of the viewer so that the content we create resonates with an audience because significant money rests on the success or failure of communicating effectively in a very cluttered and media saturated culture. The pandemic has been a good example. Hollywood has been making movies and TV shows about the Zombie apocalypse, alien and shark invasions, and global contagions for years. But it still doesn’t sink in until you start living in the awful reality.

COVID 19 and the recent racial injustice of George Floyd are disruptive dilemmas. 

Both will change the way we live because it’s not just an occurrence. Like 911, it has changed the world. And we know there are more disruptions that will happen in the future. So, viewing how we deal with these disruptions comes down to leading within two areas: what are problems and what are dilemmas? Problems are solvable but dilemmas need a miraculous intervention. 

Futurists study both, but futurists don’t study trends. They study what life will be like ten years out. They don’t care about what’s trending on Twitter or YouTube except how it’s fitting in their outcomes. Futurists are interested in how three to ten-year-olds are evolving. What kind of world are they growing up in, how are their brains growing and changing, how is technology affecting them, and what choices are they making now that will have an effect on all of us in the future? How are disruptive dilemmas infecting them? Interestingly, these recent disruptive dilemmas have accelerated many of the futurist’s predictions. The bottom line is, if we want to be leaders, we need to be able to judge what are problems we can solve and what are dilemmas that are unsolvable so that we can attack them differently. 

Dilemmas have to be navigated. 

Storms and stormy waters will always blow in so knowing how to handle the known and unknown issues with each one is essential. Is it a problem or dilemma? World hunger, poverty, discrimination, terrorism and now COVID-19 are dilemmas. Within dilemmas are multiple solvable problems. We can find solutions to enduring the ongoing waves and winds, but the storm is something we don’t have the ability to control. 

Only God calms the storms through His supernatural/miraculous intervention.

Interestingly, the 1918 flu pandemic, known as the Spanish Flu, killed hundreds of thousands and it went unsolved for years. Today we still have deaths from flu but have also discovered some solutions for its prevention, protection and recovery. However, it may never be solved. To a great degree, it still remains a dilemma.

Science, technology, and computers can help us solve problems, change many of outcomes, but only God can eliminate them forever because all problems and dilemmas can be traced back to one root cause – sin. Until the infection of sin ends, we will continually deal with disruptive dilemmas. However, Jesus, the son of our creator, came to earth, mentored us, and then died and rose again to demonstrate how to be a leader in a world of constant dilemmas caused by sin. He also encouraged us to not fret over unsolvable dilemmas but live triumphantly in the midst of them. Jesus told us in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Clarity allows us to focus on what can be solved and what has to be left in the hands of God. It allows us to weather this devastating contagion with all its many problems and emerge with confident certainty. The uncertain cannot and will not plummet us into paralyzing fear or failure but will rather instill peace when God captains our ship. If we stay engaged with Him – not take our eyes off Him, He will calm the storm of this pandemic because our future is in Him. Leaders lead best when they know they can solve problems – and know that they can rest in the arms of Jesus who will solve the bigger dilemmas to come. 

Are you ready to lead with your eyes on the all-knowing authoritative leader?