Confidence is a tricky thing. We want to be confident but not prideful. Meek but not a push over.
At one point, I was leading (5) Bible studies, mentoring about 15 girls and getting a degree in mechanical engineering. And, I felt absolutely confident through it all.
Fast forward a couple years and all of that was gone. Not just the Bible studies but my confidence. It didn’t matter how many Bible studies I had led in the past or how many people I had led to Christ – I felt unworthy and ill-equipped to lead anyone or anything.
I say all of that to let you know – I have been on both sides.
If confidence (as a leader) is your issue, you’re probably afraid of something. And, if you’re afraid, you’re probably not trusting God. And, I don’t say that without deep, deep compassion because “trusting God” sounds simple when our distrust of God can have many layers.
I’ll try to give some examples:
“I’M AFRAID I WON’T BE AS GOOD OF A LEADER AS SOMEONE ELSE.”
So, this is a comparison game. And, whether you “win” or “lose”, you’ll end up discontent. Comparison leads to division, selfish ambition and flares up insecurity.
If this is you, you might not be trusting God that you are already secure and that you have already won (because of Christ).
You also may need to trust God that building your own kingdom is not as fulfilling as building God’s kingdom. Sometimes, the hardest thing is just trusting God that His ways are better.
James 3:14-18 — “But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.”
Matthew 16:26 — “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?”
“I’M AFRAID THEY WON’T LIKE ME.”
Our opinions of people are fluid, almost always changing. That is why we cannot put our hope or self-worth in what other people think of us, whether good or bad.
If this is you, you might not be trusting God that He already approves of you and that that is enough. Trusting Him that your identity is secure no matter if everyone turned on you (like they did on Jesus).
Galatians 1:10 — “I am not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.”
John 2:23-25 — “Because of the miraculous signs Jesus did in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration, many began to trust in Him. But Jesus didn’t trust them because He knew human nature. No one needed to tell Him what mankind is really like.”
“I’M AFRAID I’M GONNA SCREW UP.”
All you hyper-perfectionists out there – I’m with you. This one can be exceptionally hard for us.
But, this fear is putting too much power in your hands. You are not trusting that God is sovereign, that He can make good out of bad and, most of all, that He intends good (not harm) for you.
Discipleship is about both parties, not just the person being discipled. Being a leader is about your growth, too. When you screw up, you need to point yourself to Christ and, if you are able, letting a disciple see those failures is one of the best gifts you can give them (and yourself). Hearing yourself say Truth is not only for the listener but for yourself as well.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 — “Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and trouble that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Matthew 6:34 — “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
“I’M AFRAID THEY’LL SEE THE REAL ME AND THEY’LL REJECT ME.”
We have such high standards for Christians. And, we have even higher standards for leaders. But, we’re all just people.
Romans 3:23 – Every person falls short of perfection. If you keep the “real you” hidden, it will only make it easier to believe lies about yourself.
If this is you, you may need to trust God that you are already fully known and fully loved and there is nothing (not even yourself) that can separate you from that love.
Whether people reject you or not, you can be steady because of Christ. But, I will say – most people are relieved to hear someone be vulnerable and genuine.
Romans 8:35-39 — Can anything separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in all of creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Psalm 56:11 — “I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?”
My prayer for leaders is my prayer for all people —
God, please, help us to have a healthy view of ourselves, to not view ourselves more highly than we ought to and to not see ourselves as less than we really are. Help us to find security in You. Help us to love people but not get self-worth from them. Help us to believe that you intend good for us and not harm. And, help us to believe that we are fully known and fully loved. May those be the places that we get confidence from.