I was a shy human and a relatively good child. There are no addictions in my past to speak of, nothing exceptionally tragic happened in my childhood. There was nothing that I had felt like I overcame in a big way and, because of that, I didn’t feel like I had much to say. I was pretty sure my story was of no value. For many years into adulthood, I was afraid that no one would connect to anything I had to say so I simply didn’t say anything. My 20’s were a bit of a mess. I was quite certain I’d disqualified myself from saying anything anyway. What possible reason would someone listen to a chick who wasn’t sure where she was going or what she was doing? Ya’ll I had no clue. Just none. What I didn’t know was that actually made me a perfect candidate for leadership. If you can identify with the above paragraph, then you likely are, too. Here’s how:
I came to realize that it wasn’t up to me to judge myself out of worth. Those stories are my widow’s mites. The may look small from the outside, but in reality they are powerful and have just as much potential to have impact as anything else in God’s hands. He’s in the business of turning what we view as insignificant into tools of profound significance. He’s also in the business of making our messes our ministry and fodder for quality leadership.
Leadership is an exercise in emotional & spiritual intelligence. Leaders have the ability to be objective enough look over your life and see where God has been, to be available enough to experience where God is, to be hungry enough to seek where God wants you to go, compassionate enough to seek Him on the behalf of others just as passionately, and effectual enough to communicate what He has next for them.
Now, this all happens in different ways at different times, but at no time does it require all of the answers to all of the things. If that were a requirement all of us would have to take several seats. We all fall short somewhere, but that’s why we need God. The people you think have their life totally together either:
A. Are lying to themselves
B. Are not being honest with you
C. have learned to simply do the best they can and trust God for the rest
Take David for example. If you’ve read Psalms – you know that dude was all over the place. He was confident in God and then he didn’t know what to do. He was happy, he was sad. He was doing the right thing, he was doing the wrong thing…let’s be real, he was a whole mess – but he was obviously a great leader because we still talk about homeboy all of the time.
What made him great wasn’t that he knew everything. He demonstrated several times that he clearly did not. What made him great was his humility. He knew how to honor & to serve. And most importantly, he had a deep relationship with and knew how to depended on God. David knew everything he needed was in Him.
I’ve heard it said that “God does not call the qualified, he qualifies the called.” There are so many examples in the Bible of people who weren’t “enough” to lead who God uses in mighty ways. In fact – that was likely their greatest qualification. The moment we accept that we do not know enough is the moment God can use us for His glory. Our weakness is God’s greatest strength, after all.
The answer to overcoming the fear of not having your life figured out enough to lead others” is essentially to realize that was never a prerequisite. True leadership does not require a title, a stage of life, or a specific platform. Leadership is not so much a position as a heart condition. Your life is a masterpiece in motion. Our culture tells us there is a point at which we figure it all out – but to say that is to say you have no more room for growth. Instead, why not be an example of what it looks like to trust God’s unfolding of your life. When you can share the pathway to God’s best – that is the purest form of leadership there is.
Now, if you have a gifting of leadership or the desire to grow in leadership there are some ways to fortify your life and ability to do so:
If you are not serving on a team at church, join one. If you are on one, be faithful (These things also apply to your team at work or school or wherever you may find your wonderful self – but serving in church is an amazing way to learn & lead).
As you remain faithful, look for those on your team whose leadership is sound. When you find them, get into their world. Once you are in their world be honoring – do what no one else will volunteer to do and do what you know needs to be done done before your leader asks while remaining humble enough to accept their coaching. Pray for them.
If you are afraid to take these steps – you just have to take them afraid (I wish I had an easy button for you. I do not). Speak truth to your fear and keep it moving. Fear, after all, is only a feeling. And feelings, much of the time, are only vapor, not truth.
So, if leadership is on your heart here is what you need to know. The fastest way up is down. Serve where you are with humility and confidence. Here are some ways to direct your actions:
When you strive for the above, you won’t have to ask for leadership. It will find you because you will already be a leader. God really digs that sort of thing so He can’t help but elevate you. You are already qualified by virtue of being called. You. Are. Called. God wants to use you and He’s given you everything you need. Start where you are and watch Him work.
Have you ever been afraid to lead? What are your fears? If you have overcome them, what helped you do so?