Stepping Out of Doubt
By Doris Swift
Is God calling you into leadership? That burning desire to emerge like a Deborah, to lead a brigade of world changers between carpools and laundry?
The adrenaline is exciting isn’t it? Until that dreaded D-word threatens to snuff it out: Doubt. Why do we bow down to this five letter word? So often we allow doubt, insecurities, and the world’s standards to determine our abilities. We disqualify ourselves based on personality type, or past failures. Let me tell you, iron fists are overrated and everyone has swept a skeleton or two from their closet. The Bible is filled with examples of leaders chosen by God who were far from perfect.
Perhaps you are a leader, and that once-burning desire is burning out. Those daily challenges and difficulties have drained your energy, leaving you feeling inadequate. It’s time to refresh and flourish in what God is calling you to accomplish for His glory.
An Open Door to Leadership
In 1981, I was a single mom in need of a job. I accepted a teller position at a local bank, the hours were good and the pay decent. A leadership role seemed far beyond my reach, and to be honest, the thought intimidated me.
A few years later, married with two children, I was transferred to a new office. My manager saw potential in me, encouraging me to learn and grow. When a leadership position became available, I went for it and I got it. Over the remainder of my 29-year career, I received the greatest satisfaction through encouraging others to learn and grow as I did. After that door closed, God transitioned me from a leadership role in banking to a leadership role in Women’s Ministry.
Where is God Calling You to Lead?
Perhaps you feel trapped in a dead-end job, or discouraged by life’s detours. We can be assured of this: when we seek God’s face and His will, no experience will ever be wasted. God will use us as leaders in many different capacities. He may have us leading homeschool groups, bible studies, in the workplace, playgroups, outreach activities, meal teams. You may be called to lead an existing ministry, or start a new one.
Whatever the circumstance, don’t miss the present while looking to the future. That dead-end job? Look closer: the road cuts through, and He has a plan. There is a reason He has you where you are right now. Our purpose is not only for our tomorrow; it’s a powerful part of our today. Our ministry is wherever we are, woven into the tapestry of God’s amazing plan. Still doubting? Let’s dispel these myths:
The Iron Fist Myth
There’s a rumor going around, perhaps you’ve heard it: effective leaders rule with an iron fist. That’s simply not true. The worldview says kindness doesn’t cut it, only strong personalities are cut out to be leaders. Let’s back it up and remember, God has created each one of us uniquely, and though our leadership styles may differ, it’s His call that determines our calling.
The Confidence Myth
Self-confidence, self-esteem, self-worth. What common thread do we see? As leaders, we’ve got to get over all the self-talk and stay in step with the faith-walk. When we make it all about us, our confidence will waver. This is key: our confidence, esteem, and worth doesn’t come from the world or ourselves, it comes from God. Be confident in His calling on your life. Be confident through Christ.
Listen to God’s Truth
God sees us beyond our doubts and looks upon the heart. He strategically places opportunities and people in our lives to encourage us throughout our journey. Listen for His voice of truth. He opens doors and He will close a few, too. Trust Him. When God calls us into leadership, we cannot allow others to discourage us. The enemy will attempt to thwart God’s plans for us, whispering lies of doubt and defeat, like we can’t do it, we don’t have what it takes, and we don’t have the right personality. Let’s be wary of labeling, and mindful of the gifts God has given.
James Moncrief, Licensed Pastoral Counselor, and Certified Temperament Specialist, offers these insights:
“In our experience with temperament counseling, we see that leadership cannot be limited by a pre-disposed notion that only highly disciplined extroverts can lead successfully…The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit teaches us all things. So before you discount whether you have what it takes to be a leader based on your own strength and talents, just remember, God has a habit of using the weaker things of the world to confound the wise. Walking in the Spirit provides us the resources necessary to become effective leaders according to our own unique design.”
Three Tips for Effective Leadership
1. Be prayerful. This is critically important for any leader. When we make prayer a priority, we’ve accomplished much. You might think this obvious, but you’d be surprised how often leaders focus on tasks and lose focus on prayer. Pray with and for your team; lifting each member up by name. “Prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective,” James 5:16b (NIV).
2. Be accountable. Meet regularly with an accountability partner to keep your motives pure, and your walk on track. Pray for God to bring the right person who can be an encourager, yet who is able to offer biblical correction when necessary. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another,” Proverbs 27:17 (NIV).
3. Be humble. The world would have us to believe we’ve earned our position and deserve all the glory. We walk a dangerous high-wire, when allowing pride to lead instead of the Holy Spirit. Consistently examine motives and intentions to be sure the purpose always points to glorifying God and unselfish love towards others. Effective leaders get that it’s not about us. It’s about God and what He wants to accomplish through us. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Phil. 2:3-4).
Leadership isn’t about being in charge, it’s about drawing out the gifts and abilities of the individuals we have been put in charge of. This can be co-workers, our kids, our community groups, our neighbors. For followers of Christ, leadership is not about directorship, it’s about discipleship.
Don’t allow doubt to snuff out your calling, courageously walk in it. God will equip you, He will be with you, and He is the one who qualifies you.
Are you ready to be the leader God is calling you to be?