Thursday, August 23, 2012

Reluctant Leader

Are you in a leadership position where you feel more like curling up in a quivering ball of tears than stepping up to lead?

Let me reassure you.  You’re not alone.  Been there...done the “feeling totally inadequate” t-shirt!  And so do a lot of leaders in the Bible.

Take Moses for example...

God tells Moses he’s been chosen to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt.  Does Moses get excited and rise to the challenge?  Not even close!  He stutters and stumbles over weak excuses and finally tells God, “Send someone else.” (Exodus 2 to 4)

What about Gideon...

Gideon protests profusely when God chooses him to rescue Israel from the Midianites.  He’s weak and scared and it takes three different signs from God...wet fleece, dry fleece, and an interpretation of a dream...before Gideon is convinced he can lead the people. 

Even after he receives God’s guarantee he’s so scared of impending leadership that he performs his first actions as Israel’s leader after dark so no one will know he’s the one destroying the altars of the foreign Gods. (Read Judges 6, 7, and 8)

These are just two examples, but the Bible is full of weak, reluctant leaders who eventually take the plunge and step out in faith to follow God. 

Leadership is a funny thing.  Some people are natural leaders.  They know instinctively they were built to lead.  Others (including me) don’t have a clue. 

Imagine my surprise a few years ago when my pastor told me I was viewed as one of the leaders in our church.  I reacted with typical “Moses Syndrome”. 

“No way! I’m no leader.  I’ve got nothing to offer.  I’m too shy.  I don’t know enough people.  I’m not comfortable talking to strangers.” 

But his comment was followed up with encouragement to take on leadership challenges.  Gradually the belief system I held about myself and my capabilities began to shift.

The gifts that had been buried in a casket of shyness and low self-esteem rose to the surface.  I read books and blogs on leadership and attended leadership conferences.  I spent time in prayer, relying on God for guidance. 

I was shocked one day to realize that I had, in fact, become a leader in the church community.  (Thanks Ed for giving me the nudge and encouragement I needed!)

Have you been told you have leadership ability?  Have you reluctantly taken on a leadership role even though you feel overwhelmed and inadequately prepared? 

Remember, you’re not alone.  Take encouragement from the promise God makes to Joshua as he takes over responsibility for leading the Israelite people.

“Be strong, take courage.  You will enter the land that God promised their ancestors that He’d give them.  You will make them the proud possessors of it.  God is striding ahead of you.  He’s right there with you.  He won’t let you down; He won’t leave you.  Don’t be intimidated, don’t worry.”  Deuteronomy 31:7-8 (The Message)

Are you facing a leadership challenge?  Share your struggles by clicking on “comments” below.

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