Leadership is a Pain, But So Worth It
"If you aren't hurting, you aren't leading" - Pastor Craig Groeschel
When I was eleven years old I was chapter president of my 4-H club, the "Barnyard Brats". We were an offshoot of a local club that our parents had felt were not giving us kids the opportunity to grow and experience all this agricultural club had to offer. We felt like rebels when we would show up to County competitions or fairs. We felt like we had done something no one expected, we broke away from the status quo to establish a new club that fit our wishes. As a kid, I was just thrilled to be a leader, hit a gavel at meetings and make "big" decisions for our club members. I thought leading was easy, joyful, and just took some courage. I was no green in the understanding that leading often involves pain when you are committed to real change.
Pain seems to come with the territory in a faithful walk to lead growth, development, or correction. The life of faith has us followers of Jesus take a path that breaks away from the status quo of a nature that is hostile to God and averse to the virtues of a life that produces evidence of sanctified living. When I say "Sanctified" I am speaking of the setting apart of our hearts, our actions, and through faith in Jesus, our souls from death and darkness. Living this internally for eternity reasons is painful as often one comes against the pulls and mentality that doesn't value being set apart for a life that leads with the truth that often leaves us in painful positions.
"For my Father's will is that everyone who look to the Son and believed in him shall have eternal life..." John 6:40
We can love Jesus but still find that we aren't risking enough to encounter the pain that comes when we are leading ahead in a pattern that causes us to sacrifice out of a willingness to obey what Jesus calls us to do as we look to him and take our belief into action. Taking the vision of ourselves in who we know we are called to be and to live it as a value causes decisions that may polarize us in our relationships. Never consider that you are not following faithfully when you make a decision that is leading with the values of the kingdom. You may make mistakes and grow, and in that be humble, but do not waiver in the risk taking as you seek to live out what a faithful walk looks like in your relationships.
I recently had made a leadership decision that took a lot of planning, preparation, praying, and time to see take shape in our Church. When I shared the plan and the pathway to accomplishing it, a leader in our church had a struggle with some of the content for reasons I would have never anticipated. I could sense the tension building in the room and my experience with this relationship informed me that if I took a more rigid approach, there was going to be conflict. If I took a more gracious approach to give them some liberty to serve, but adopt some different content then there would be peace. It was painful to let go of the hours of diving into the content to have them reject it. However, I value people more than production, and it made the choice clear to not alienate them from the vision because I kept their hearts as a key value.
Moments like these are where we demonstrate that we are looking to the Son to give us an understanding of what is most important in our leadership. Is it performance or people? Harmony or people just following through while resentment festers? One thing is abundantly clear, if you're willing to lead with integrity in small and big decisions, it is going to be painful. However, that is a sign that you are an influencer and you are seeking to impart change, growth, and Kingdom values in your circle of impact.
Don't waiver or cease doing what is good. Do not feel you are a failure if pain comes from the process of leading, lean into the Lord and continue to endure the commitment it takes to lead real change that develops a life and legacy of one who is set apart for Kingdom work!
Keep Looking Up!