One of the greatest monsters that I wrestle with in my leadership is being confident in the calling and gifting God has for me. I battle the usual suspects of insecurity, fear and the obsessive need to compare myself to others. These enemies to my confidence can get the best of me if I let them.
One of my favorite leaders from Scripture is Deborah. I love to unpack the layers of her leadership and study the confidence she displayed in her calling.
If you need a refresher on the story, hop over to Judges 4 & 5.
Reading Deborah's story always encourages me to keep my focus on God, his calling and his voice in my life. When I'm doing that, fear, insecurity and comparison quickly take a backseat.
Here's what I observe to be the keys to Deborah's confidence:
1) She Earned Influence
Deborah was a prophetess and judge of Israel at a time when it was unusual for a woman to serve in such positions of leadership. But Barak, the leader of the Israelite army, and 10,000 men were willing to follow her lead and trust that God was speaking through her. To earn that kind of trust, I can only assume that she must have displayed consistency of character, love for people and sound judgment in her roles as prophetess and judge. When everything was on the line, she had earned the influence to lead well.
2) She Displayed Incredible Strength
I can't imagine living in the times that she lived in. Israel was weak, defenseless and far from God. I suspect moral was low and hope was barely a flicker. But Deborah had hope and a vision from God and out of this she summoned the strength to still the voices of doubt and timidity and as one author describes, she"called the people to battle, leading them out of idolatry and restoring their dignity as God's chosen ones."
3) She Showed Consistent Humility
Deborah held the highest spiritual, political and military positions during that time of Israel's history, and yet I love the fact that in Judges 5:7, Deborah doesn't refer to herself as judge, prophetess or leader. She describes herself as "a mother in Israel." She didn't need to prove herself or remind others of her positional power.
4) She Faithfully Obeyed
Deborah drew her confidence from her relationship with God. God gave her the directive for the battle with Sisera, and she didn't lose sight of this even in the heat of it. Judges 4:14 says, "Then Deborah said to Barak, ‘Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has delivered Sisera into your hand. Has not the Lord gone out before you?'" After the battle was finished she and Barak sang a victory song in which they repeatedly thank God.
Deborah's story reminds me of God's faithfulness through our obedience. I'm sure she didn't sign up for all that her leadership would demand, but her confidence was in God's power, not her own. She was pursuing God' glory, not hers, and as a result the people she led experienced freedom for 40 years. That's remarkable influence!
What challenges do you face in being confident in your calling as a leader?