Friday, 21 October 2016

What challenges do you face in leading yourself?


The idea of leading ourselves being the most valuable and most difficult element of our leadership has been resonating with me. The reality is that the only person I can truly seek to control and change is myself. I have spent time this week reflecting on some of those ways that I have been seeking to lead myself in. Today, I want to talk about those areas that continue to challenge and frustrate me. Whenever I contemplate these issues, the verses that Paul wrote in Romans come to mind.

Romans 7:15-20The Message (MSG)
14-16 I can anticipate the response that is coming: “I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also your experience?” Yes. I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.
17-20 But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. 


The biggest ongoing struggle for me is giving in to the pull of distraction and technology, that eats up my time and prevents me from being truly present in many moments of my day. I first wrote about my struggle two years ago and revisited it during last year's Write 31 Days challenge (you can read those here and here.) I know that I am not alone in this struggle and that it is an ever increasing problem in our world. Technology can have so many benefits and brilliant uses in our leadership but can cut down our effectiveness if not managed. I wish I could say that I have this mastered. 

I have been reminded again of the impact of leaving this unchecked when my daughter starts playing with her "phone" while we're at the table so that she can "just check this message quickly" and pretends to finish her meal quickly so she can get back to her "phone." A punch in the gut! Changes that I make usually prove short lasting. I continue to try new strategies to break these patterns of behaviour. Those Romans verses remind me that change in my own strength is not possible. This has to be a spiritual battle for me too. I have to be willing to continue to submit to God and not ignore His promptings during my day to change behaviour. It is in His strength that I can make progress.  

What is it in your own life that feels like a deep dark secret or feels like a battle that continues to rage despite all your best efforts? What are those challenges that you face in trying to lead yourself? Can you relate to my frustration and the truth of self-leadership being the most difficult to achieve? We may all have different issues that we are facing but we are united in being human. It is such a relief to have access to God's grace. My tendency is to beat myself up over my struggles. I sense God looking down at me, not with anger but with love, encouraging me as a father. His love is patient and slow to anger. Do you take your issues to God and ask for His help or does shame hold you back? He is waiting to help. 

I am realising that my part of self-leadership is an honest evaluation of myself, taking steps of obedience about problems that come up, working hard but more importantly, drawing near to God. He performs the transformation within.

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