Leaders aren’t exactly immune to mild forms of depression, insecurity, or failure. Let’s face it; there are those days when your humanity really slaps you in the face. Maybe you woke up eagerly expecting new opportunities, and you made your inner vows about what was going to be accomplished today along with all the giants you’d slay. As the day progressed, you felt slightly more distracted than usual and slowly drifted off center. Plans took various turns – those plans you built the security of your day around. You didn’t accomplish nearly all that you’d imagined nor did you live up to the image of your sure and confident self that you’d envisioned at the start of your day.
In the buildup of frustration of our day going badly, we may say and do the things we shouldn’t. Our thoughts begin to spiral downward, “Maybe I’m not cut out for this.”
I believe there are days in every leader’s life where we seriously question God’s calling for ourselves when nothing seems to be going in the right direction. Somehow a bad day, a bad week, a bad month is projected into a hopeless future. As leaders, there’s often the inner struggle between feeling like we ought to have everything together and knowing nothing is together. Here are a few key truths we should remind ourselves of in order to continue to press on in the midst of what we perceive as failure:
- You are a work in progress.
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. (Philippians 1:6)
When God called you that wasn’t the finishing of His work in you. He was just getting started. He will continue to uproot, mold, and shape you until the finished day when Christ returns! And just when we’ve convinced ourselves we’ve got this leadership thing down, our limits and character get pushed to be refined again. Instead of focusing on perfection, continue to focus on direction because it’s all progress.
- Trials humble us.
“For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 14:11)
Our trials and mistakes humble us in a world that lives as if humans are gods with privileges and entitlements. They remind us that we need the Lord. Just when we get comfortable enough to slip into thinking we’re running this show, we’re sent flat on our faces before him again and remember our humanity and constant need for Him. It’s a good place to be because He is looking for leaders after His heart. (1 Samuel 13:14)
- Life doesn’t get easier, you just get stronger.
… when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. (James 1:2-4)
Sure, there will be a few off days. There will be days that are very hard and seemingly unfair. It’s all strength and endurance building. I remember when I first started running around my block. Day one I literally thought I was going to die. I was crawling across the living room floor. Day two I still felt like I was dying. But the more I ran, the more endurance my heart and lungs built enough to take me even farther – two blocks, three blocks, four blocks, etc. And it got easier each time. After being able to run four blocks I could run one block no problem. This is how trials work to strengthen our faith so we get stronger, and because we get stronger we can go farther and retain more. With persistence, there is the gift of strength and endurance which produces growth.
- Encourage yourself in the Lord.
… but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. (1 Samuel 30:6)
In 1 Samuel 17:28 and 33, David was in King Saul’s camp, and he was jeered at for challenging Goliath. David had to hear things like: “You shouldn’t be here,” “You’re too young,” and “You’re not equipped enough.” I can only imagine how discouraging that could be. If David listened to and believed the words of his doubters, it probably would have shut him down completely. So what kept David going? David knew who God is, and he knew who he was in the Lord. Nothing anyone said could hammer against that belief because he was secure in his identity.
Do you know how to encourage yourself in the Lord when everything and everyone seems to be caving in around you?
Pause and Reflect:
What kind of thoughts do you have toward yourself under pressure?
- Are they self-defeating or self-building?
- Do they draw you down further into despair or push you up to press on?
- How might you apply these guidelines for a healthier mindset in troubling situations?
– Brittney Moses
God defines you and He’s planned the unthinkable for you, unthinkable because His ways and thoughts are higher than our ways and thoughts. Sometimes our thoughts run in a negative track, which can often lead to blocking our productivity or even depression.
But we do have to choose to believe in this powerful identity we have in Him and never look back. Then, like David, we can take on victorious and unstoppable thinking. When we kneel to the power of the Lord, we soon find that we can stand up to anything else in this world.
When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. (Acts 11:23)
I pray this was a blessing to you and encourage you to continue to stand strong. With such a great calling comes such a great responsibility. I believe God fully knew what He was doing when He chose you because He makes no mistakes. Sometimes when we’re wrapped around believing in God it’s pretty cool to remember He also believes in us.