by, Mandy B. Anderson
I don’t think I’m cut out to be a leader after all …”
Sometimes the reality of our dreams isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Then again, sometimes it’s exactly what it needs to be so we can grow. So we can stretch. Oh the growing pains of personal growth!
Several years ago I dreamed of the day when I could be a leader in an organization. Not just a leader by attitude and mindset, but a leader by title too. I wanted all the shiny objects that went with it – the corner office, the freedom to make decisions, the beautiful business card with the flashy title, and all the responsibilities that went along with it. The only problem was this: my attitude had to grow by leaps and bounds.
You see, back then, I thought that my way was always the best way. I figured that I would know all the answers and make better decisions “if I was in charge.” I often thought to myself, “if only I had the chance to take charge and be the boss – THEN they would see what a great leader I really am!” The sad truth was that my way of thinking was proof that at that season of my life, in that circumstance, I was unteachable.
That’s when God opened the door for me to get a PhD from the School of Hard Knocks. He allowed me to lose everything I owned so He could see if my words of praising Him no matter what matched up with my actions in the valley of loss. He allowed us to experience 6-figures of debt so we could find the tenacity to endure and problem-solve through tough financial setbacks, while trusting God to provide for our every need. He allowed me to face my worst fears of sickness so He could bring me to the end of my prideful self and then begin the process of knitting me back together so that I could be ready to learn first, lead second.
And just over the past few weeks He has reminded me of all of this personal growth from my past so that He could point out that the challenges I am facing right now are nothing more than the growing pains of the next level of personal growth. He is showing me that now that I am a leader by title with the flashy business card and the beautiful office, I still must rely on Him for direction and growth; I still must be humble and willing to grow to the next level.
I wonder what your next level of personal growth is?
All I know is that the growing pains are worth it; they are also a test to see if you will move to the next level or repeat this current stage you find yourself in all over again. So to help us both during this season of next-level growing, let’s keep these truths in mind:
1. In order to grow to the next level, I must TRUST God.
This is true for you, and it is true for me. We must each trust that God is in control and He knows what’s best for us. He is stretching us, not ripping us apart. He is making a way where there is no way, especially when it doesn’t feel like it. Our job is to trust.
2. In order to grow to the next level, I must LET GO of CONTROL.
Ouch. This is a challenge, I won’t lie. Our first instinct when we feel stretched is to stop the stretching and control every tug we feel. However, the sense of safety we feel when we try to control everything is a false safety. We can’t be everything to everyone and we can’t have all the answers to everything. The only person who ever had that figured out was Jesus.
We must let go of control and remember to apply #1 – trust. God will provide everything we need, but our ability to let go of control will determine if we receive God’s provision or not. We can’t receive God’s blessings when our fingers are white-knuckled around controlling every detail of every problem we face.
3. In order to grow to the next level, I must be willing to ADMIT MISTAKES.
We won’t make it to the next level if we don’t own up to our mistakes. You won’t, and I won’t either. That doesn’t mean we become a martyr and drown in self-pity as the reason why everything is going badly in the world. It means we take an honest assessment of our actions, thoughts, and habits and admit when we have made a mistake no matter the reason.
Mistakes are the launching pads for growth. They get a bad rap because people hate to admit when they are wrong, but the truth is nothing gets better without mistakes! They are the perfect opportunity to problem-solve and make improvements.
So, those are the three truths that I have had to come to terms with this week. Yes, all three of them. And I’m willing to bet that some, if not all of them, are tugging at your heart right now too.
Maybe, like me, you’ve learned them before under different circumstances but now the stakes are higher and it’s time to take it to another level. That’s okay – in fact, that’s proof that you ARE a leader. It’s proof that you ARE in the right place. It’s proof that you WILL get there someday.
Don’t give up my fellow Overcomer. Grow through the pain and you’ll be amazed at where you are a year from now…and even five years from now! This too shall pass, and I’m praying that you’ll have moved to the next level of your personal growth when it does.