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Lonely Leadership

Community’s not just a good idea—it’s essential!

The truth is, only Jesus has me figured out. He made me, gave me my story and sees how it all plays together. Only he can fully sympathize and explain it to me. I've learned to change my expectations of those around me. I appreciate the friends I do have and understand that each plays a significant, yet different, role in my life. But I fight to keep unrealistic expectations at bay.

Lone Ranger. "How are things [in ministry] going?" A gesture of friendship, a new friend knocks at the door to intimacy. But I am hesitant to open the floodgates. My head is stuck several months in advance. I don't want to inundate her with all the sticky details. She wouldn't understand.

A natural part of being a leader is thinking, planning and working months or even years in advance. Influencers generate ideas and forge ahead into new territory. There is inherent alone-ness in this aspect of leadership. It becomes easy to believe the lie that you're the only one—the only one who cares, the only one who knows how to do ministry, the only one who really loves Jesus.

As I processed these feelings with God, and spent time with those serving alongside me, I discovered many people had a passion to serve God. Yes, much of my leadership position requires thinking months ahead. But many others had walked the road before me. The reality is, we're all serving together.

I respond to my friend by sharing some of my feelings of frustration, being overwhelmed, and the need for discernment. She encourages me to persevere, and prays for wisdom. She also blesses me with practical ideas. Even as a leader, I am not alone.

Strong, but Lonely. Someone once said to me "You seem like a very powerful woman." At the time, I was a stay-at-home-mom. The only thing I had control over was naptime, and sometimes, not even that!

As I spoke with him, I realized I carried myself in a way that made it seem like I had my life together. "Fake it till you make it" is helpful in many situations, but it doesn't work when it comes to relationships. Casting the image that you have it all together isolates you.

Perfection doesn't breed intimacy–authenticity does. I began to risk looking weak, immature, and ignorant in many areas of life, including areas of leadership. Being honest about my weaknesses, my needs, and moments of desperation actually draws others near, giving them permission to take their masks off too.

January12, 2012 at 9:42 AM

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