Leadership Playlist, Song 1

By Michaela O’Donnell

November 9, 2019

Oh, blessed be God!
+++He didn’t go off and leave us.
He didn’t abandon us defenseless,
+++helpless as a rabbit in a pack of snarling dogs.

Psalm 124:6 (MSG)


I love a good road trip playlist. Lucky for me, my husband used to DJ parties in high school, so he can make a pretty great mix. Whenever we hit the road, he carefully curates song after song to match the weather outside and the mood of our travel plans: light hearted tunes for summertime travel, anthems for a work trip, and a 90s mix if we’re on the way to see old friends. My favorite part is that once a song is on a playlist, it’s forever bound to the memories we make on that trip.

A man hiking up a mountainPsalm 124 is basically a road trip song. It’s part of a collection of psalms that travelers likely sang as they made the annual journey to Jerusalem for worship festivals. It’s also likely that their journey was quite literally an uphill climb. That’s how this collection of psalms gets the label Psalms of Ascent. An uphill climb requires a playlist with a certain mood—songs that help people put one foot in front of the other. An uphill climb requires songs that help maintain endurance.

The practice that comes front and center in Psalm 124:6 is remembrance. As the travelers climb uphill, they call out to God, remembering that God has indeed been with them on the journey of life.

The journey of leadership is an uphill climb that requires remembrance. In my own experience, leadership is hard work that feels slow and sometimes even grueling. The difficulty of dealing with change, the unknown, and other humans brings front and center my ongoing need for God’s help. Psalm 124:6 is an invitation to remember that we already have God’s help, that God never leaves us nor abandons us. We aren’t defenseless if we have God.

Your leadership journey needs a playlist, and it needs to have a song of remembrance on it. Maybe your playlist will be a literal collection of songs. Or maybe you’re more like me, and you’ll have a collection of stories and scriptures, relationships, and practices that quickly usher you into remembering what God has done as you make the uphill climb.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about the next song your leadership playlist needs.

Something to think about:

Think about a time in your work that you felt “as helpless as a rabbit in a pack of snarling dogs.” Can you name how God was with you during this time?

What helps you to remember things from the past most vividly? Can you use these tools or practices to think about how God has been present along your leadership journey?

Something to do:

Take a walk around the place where you most often work. As you do, ask God to help you remember times in that space that God has been present with you.


Lord, thank you for always being with me. Thank you for not abandoning me or leaving me “as helpless as a rabbit in a pack of snarling dogs.” Lord, help me remember—to picture vividly—and then hold dear the ways you have been faithful on the journey, steadfast during the uphill climb. Amen.

Explore more at The High Calling archive, hosted by the Theology of Work Project:
Best of Daily Reflections: If Not for You, God

Michaela O’Donnell

Mary and Dale Andringa Executive Director

Michaela is the Mary and Dale Andringa Executive Director Chair at the Max De Pree Center for Leadership. She is also an assistant professor of marketplace leadership and the lead professor for Fuller Seminary’s Doctor of Global Leadership, Redemptive Imagination in the Marketplace progr...

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