The Movement of God in Leadership By Andrea Leigh Capuyan
A Reflection and Movement of God in Leadership
A practice of regular reflection is essential for a good, healthy movement of leadership. Reflection can be an invitation to allow God to uncover our hidden demands. It is my intentional focus on the movement of God in my life. My practice of reflection helps me know the posture of my heart. I need this, otherwise, I can too easily be focused on the influence of my position. I am in a dance between posture and position. I need regular practice to pause, reflect, and write – these set the beat, the rhythm, and the repetition in the dance. Creating a consistent flow between God and me, moving me toward greater conformity with Christ, and toward healthier connections with others.
So, here’s an excerpt at my current ponderings, and as you glimpse at what I am learning perhaps it will resonate for you.
A Thoughtful Question
A mentor posed a thoughtful question, “How do we decide?” Specifically, how do we decide when to dig deeper and persist, and how do we decide to stop and rest? Her question was probing for more than a superficial answer. Often I face decisions in life that require more than simple deduction, a balance of pros and cons. It is not about a right way or wrong way. There is more to be evaluated than the value-added benefit. Reflecting on the nature of HOW I decide exposes my motivations, and often my character. It is a question of cultivating wisdom because this type of reflection leads me to awareness and knowledge about the interplay between power, responsibility, and control in my life and leadership.
Power and Responsibility
Leadership involves power and responsibility. And when I think about leadership I often couch it in terms of “taking charge” and “taking action.” I can become focused on propulsion and forward movement. Falsely assuming that stopping to rest is giving up or accepting the status quo. I can forget about the present and obsess about the future. Micro-management has long been a “bad” word in leadership. That tendency is born from strategies that create blind spots. Characteristics that perhaps are lauded and valued, yet they create dysfunction. Control, over-compensation, over-achievement can “work” for me as a leader because it fosters a longing for stability. And others often affirm these characteristics because I can be the gal who gets things done. These attributes reinforce my sense of power and responsibility in life. Yet, this can be deceiving. These strategies can mask my attempts to manage my shame and my fear.
It is important and wise for me to grasp what beliefs are driving my motivations. If I believe that I am ultimately responsible to satisfy the need for stability and security, I am wrong. It is not true. I cannot fully meet that need – for myself or others. It’s not my job. My longing for safety is real and valid, and it often reveals a wound that only God can heal – a need in me that only He can meet. A need that is intended to move me towards Him.
The questions from my mentor are about my response to external pressures, internal expectations, and beliefs about how God wants me to lead. My strategies to manage shame and fear are entwined with the gifts and strengths I have for leadership. These strategies are how I fight to maintain control. Shame and fear can mar my perception of the decisions I make and the actions I take. My desire for control doesn’t necessarily disqualify me for leadership, however, if left unchecked it will corrupt my leadership because it pits me against God. Often strengths and strategies are two sides of the same coin. They are unique God-given abilities that equip me for serving Him, AND sadly, I can use these abilities to resist dependency on God and His leading.
The dance between my strengths and strategies, my abilities, and my hindrances is often awkward. Power and responsibility are reflected in our design to protect, to create, and to multiple. And good leadership requires us to be attuned to power dynamics, to empower others, to take decisive action, and to shoulder responsibility. At the same time, never do I blindly assume that something of my demand for control, personal safety, self-protection, or self-deception isn’t also at work. On this side of heaven, my strengths are flawed. I can embrace what is good, what is bad, and what God is changing through awareness and acknowledgment.
Through personal reflection, I can dedicate my attention to His movement in my story. My commitment to my self-interest can become an impediment to my leadership and relationships. God wishes to remove these barriers and teach me new dance steps.
Am I ready to follow? Are you?
Andrea Leigh Capuyan is the Executive Director of Laurel Pregnancy Center. Andrea holds a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from York College. She is a Credentialed Christian Nonprofit Leader with Christian Leadership Alliance and a Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional.
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