Why don’t we lead?
We have the motive, we have the tools, we have the opportunity (sounds like a murder trial!) but time and time again, we allow the opportunities to influence others and make a difference simply slip away. It’s hard to understand. If you’re like me, you pray for these chances and yet, when they come, it’s so easy to shrink back and hide.
Why is that?
I believe that one of the greatest temptations of a leader is not to mis-lead but to not lead at all. It’s so much easier to just lift the oars out of the water and drift along. Let someone else make the tough call. Let them feel the weight of difficult decisions. Let them get all the flack from others.
But God didn’t create you, call you, and train you to just drift along. He created you to lead, to influence, to make a difference in your world. You’ve been given so much. You have so much to offer.
So, why don’t we lead? I think there are (at least) three reasons…
- Lack of knowledge. As much as we’d like to think so, real leaders aren’t born, they’re made. They’ve studied and learned from other leaders. They’ve watched the way others shoulder the burden and they’ve patterned themselves after them. Certainly we can be born with attributes that make leadership easier but make no mistake…the best leaders didn’t just show up. They’ve chosen that path and studied and practiced to make themselves into the leader they’ve become.
- Self-Perception. Many don’t lead because they don’t SEE themselves as leaders. Leaders boldly step into the arena. They seize opportunities to lead and influence because they know who they are and what they’ve been born to do. They don’t need to be told that they’re a leader…they know it in their core. It’s who they are.
- (and this is the big one!) Fear. People hide from leadership because they are scared. They have the knowledge; they know what they’re supposed to do but they arrive at every opportunity to lead and influence only to find themselves confronted with the snarling dragon of fear. There is a healthy fear; the fear of the Lord or the fear of poisonous snakes or of live electrical wires. But this fear isn’t healthy. This fear is paralyzing. It’s cancerous and eats away at your confidence and keeps you from your destiny–from leading and influencing others.
When you and I can begin to tackle and do battle with these three things we can begin to be the leaders and influencers who will change our communities, churches, schools…our world.
You will begin to be a student of leadership. You will take note of the way good and bad leaders go about leading. You will step out and try. You might fail but you will keep at it.
You will begin to see yourself as a leader and boldly step into and seize opportunities to influence others. You will draw your sword and do battle with fear and shame. You will overcome.
You are well-equipped and you are well-loved. You have what it takes. You are ready to lead.