I dedicated my life to Christ when I was pretty young and the journey has been interesting…in a good way. It has been a journey of listening, learning, obedience, and like a child- tantrums.

Sometimes, the conversations I have with God sound a bit like this one taken from The Hobbit. 

Gandalf: I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it’s very difficult to find anyone.

Bilbo: I should think so- in these parts! We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures…I can’t think what anybody sees in them…

Gandalf: You’ll have a tale or two to tell when you come back

Bilbo: You can promise that I’ll come back?

Gandalf: No. And if you do, you will not be the same.

The last part particularly rings true for me. Most, if not all of the adventures we take with God change us so deeply, sometimes to the point of being unrecognizable to those we are familiar with. To the feeble, He imparts strength, to the fearful courage, and to the sinner righteousness. However, these changes can only be fully experienced and appreciated when we accept the challenge to be like Roosevelt’s man in the arena, present in the midst of opposition and ready to answer the call to try.

va22Today I want to share about a call of adventure that every effective leader past and present has answered and must choose to answer in order to leave a noteworthy legacy: The call to lead yourself. If you cannot lead yourself, you certainly will not lead the masses.

So what are the areas that we need to look out for when leading ourselves?

1) Heal

Hurt impedes the flow of God’s anointing in your life. It can stem from various sources. The most likely source being familial. The family is where we form our identity as children. It is where important questions about self and purpose are answered. Deep wounds can occur when we feel misunderstood, ignored, or rejected as children. Unfortunately, these wounds become a part of how we live and lead, affecting our leadership philosophy. It is important to remember that hurting leaders will eventually hurt their followers. As it is commonly said, hurt people, hurt people.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, the resulting feelings from any kind of wound may seem negative, and individuals tend to push down the discomfort not realizing that buried pain remains alive until we address it.

Nevertheless, God is our healer {Psalms 147:3} and has made His healing available to us through the power of the Holy Spirit {James 5:14-15}. He alone understands the extent of the wounds and is eager to bring release to those areas. In addition, I believe that He uses the expertise of psychologists and psychiatrists to enable us to move past traumatic events.

I will share more about this in a follow-up article.

va222) Reflect

I believe that your personal life influences your public life significantly. If I am weak in a certain area of character, the cracks will begin to show sooner than later in my leadership. Reflect on your personal values and how you can strengthen areas of weakness. It is difficult to instruct your followers about certain principles if you are not living them out yourself. For example, manage your time well if you desire your team to do the same. This way, your team sees how authentic a leader you are, and hopefully follows your example.

And remember that no matter how gifted or anointed you are, your character is of more worth in this life and the next. With this view in mind, do not get tired of consistently seeking to be more self-aware.

One way you can do this is through asking. Ask your followers how your leadership is affecting them, both positively and negatively. Ask your trusted friends how they think you can improve on your character. Ask God to show you areas of weakness that need to be changed.

va223) Learn

Assume a posture of learning. Learn from your and other’s mistakes, learn from others, learn by observing. Never assume that you have all the answers. There are a gazillion approaches to leadership based on context, culture and other factors. In leadership, one size fits all does not apply. Therefore, be quick to listen and slow to speak {James 1:19}.

va22So, having read the points above, maybe you are hurting and therefore are not able to be an effective minister to your team. Maybe upon reflection you find your character wanting, or maybe you have not assumed a posture of learning in your leadership. You don’t have to stay there. Allow God to do a work in you. I would like to invite you on an adventurous journey of healing, reflection and learning as we lead ourselves.