The Most Difficult of Seasons
Sometimes the challenges are put on us — a boss asks us to do something immoral, a colleague regularly escapes pain through excessive food or alcohol consumption, team members slip into affairs, or a trusted leader gossips. Sometimes, we bring on the difficulty. Insecurity rules our lives and keeps us from leading with confidence. Unhealthy personal or business relationships distract from what is important, or power, control or jealousy cause us to make decisions that hurt the organization. The list is long. You fill in the blanks.
And, every day we face an enemy who wants to destroy us. In the most difficult of seasons, he wants to distract us with menial and certainly temporal temptations. As leaders in the army of God, we must be equipped, strengthened and armored up to address the foul and fiery darts launched our way.
So how can we appreciate the convergence of the difficult issues that face us today with God’s amazing plan for us? How do we view every season as a God-present space and therefore a place for us to grow and help others grow?
No pat answers — just a few thoughts to ponder:
Keep God as your focal point.
Our life, our leadership, our everything, is brought into focus by God. One organization adjusted its once weekly prayer time to three times per week to help staff and donors experience a commitment to prayer. How can we adjust our strategic planning, our daily operations, even the culture of our organization to reflect a reliance upon God?
Remember that God is present.
It’s easy to get discouraged and distracted in the midst of the weirds and crazies. And believe me, I’ve seen a lot of both! But every moment of your life is in perfect view of your Creator. He is near and available. Believe that he entrusted you with these people, plans and your ministry. Believe that he will use all of it for his good. Keep leading. The enemy taunts Christian leaders to question their God-given call. Don’t give up. Don’t resist your current assignment. Don’t deny God’s activity within it. Don’t despise where he placed you. You are in full view of God and you need to lead like he put you there.
Often we look for a peaceful path as if peace is the evidence of strong leadership. The truth is that leadership is complicated. Be intentional about the plans you lay out. God helped you with those plans, and he will help you carry them out.
In my experience, the humble leaders I know traveled a singular path. They experienced humiliation. It’s a difficult path but a God-ordained one. And one that specifically shapes you to serve the people around you. Have you experienced unjust treatment? Have you ever been overlooked or given an assignment that is beneath your skill? Accept it. Embrace this season as one of God’s gifts to you where he shapes you into the woman or man he desires.
Be a surrendered leader.
As leaders, we need to remove garments of entitlement, achievement, ambition and the special cloak of “I waited a long time for this and now it’s my turn.” A surrendered leader is one who knows who she or he serves. Submission is not a dirty word. It’s an understood positioning that God is indeed above all, in all and through all. Clothe yourself with Christ.
So, how are you doing? If I asked your staff what is the primary quality they admire in you, would they say, “My supervisor walks closely with Jesus”?
Today God beckons. God calls his leaders to be world-shapers. But we cannot, we simply will not make a difference if we do not prioritize communion with him.
I am tempted to dismiss some of the most difficult seasons I’ve experienced in leadership. Then, Christ, in his gentle way, reminds me that my hand is in his, and we walk together. He is enough.
Cheryl Lee Davis serves as vice president of leadership development with Stonecroft — where every day women hear the gospel where they are, as they are. Cheryl is author of Safe Place, a short devotional on Psalm 27. This post is an excerpt from the 2014 Fall edition of Outcomes Magazine.
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