By far the biggest struggle I have faced in making the decision to step into a greater leadership role has been internal. It is a heart cry that I have heard from many others in having conversations with other leaders. We feel inadequate. Why would someone possibly want me in this role? I'm not capable of doing this. That feeling rises up even now that I have started in the role and has left me close to a panic attack on several occasions.
We are so quick to look at our own faults and every little reason that might disqualify us. Others often see attributes in us that we are blinded to. I may not have had the courage to say yes if it wasn't for the voices of those people encouraging me and calling out the leadership they saw. Their words of affirmation and confirmation of my calling boosted me. I return to those conversations in my mind whenever the inadequacy rises within me.
So often we can look at other leaders and think that they have it all together, that they are confident and can't possibly feel inadequate. I am learning more and more how wrong that view is. I love reading and listening to the honest and raw writing and teaching of leaders that I admire. I am recognising more and more how human they are. That sounds strange but I realised how much I have put leaders on a pedestal and separated them in mind. Maybe that is part of why I struggled to accept the title of leader- I didn't class myself in the same league. I absorbed our culture's tendency to do that without being conscious of it. Maybe you have done that same.
The recognition that many leaders feel this sense of inadequacy has developed the idea that there is a benefit to this feeling. If I allow that feeling to paralyse me and stop me moving forward then I miss out on that benefit. That sense of inadequacy can help me to take a healthy look at my weaknesses but only if I work on developing the firm foundation of knowing who I am. I am not perfect. I am not an expert on all things leadership. I have so much to learn. And that is ok. For me as a Christian leader, I recognise that feeling stretched in a role ensures that I pursue God for the answers and the strength. It deepens my dependence on Him to accomplish the work He has for this ministry. As much as I hate this feeling at times, I have come to accept that I don't ever want to feel completely comfortable in a role. That opens the door for limiting God in His work.
A caveat I would add is that feeling inadequate is different to a genuine assessment that a role is beyond your capacity in that season. I had to assess whether it was only fear holding me back or genuine issues with capacity or not being called to the role. Whenever you are faced with an opportunity, take the time to dig through your initial reactions to what is driving them.
One resource that was brought to my attention while I battled the initial waves of inadequacy was Steven Furtick's book "Unqualified". The truth I gained from reading that book confirmed so much of what I had felt God impressing on my heart. If you are like me and face this battle, it may help you like it has helped me.
“Maybe God wants to do something beyond your abilities, and he is far less intimidated by your failures and limits than you are.”
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