If you are a leader in the body of Christ, you certainly know how challenging it can be to lead others. When people are opinionated, self-willed and just plain ornery, it is hard to be a leader, isn't it?
However, I have found that the hardest person to lead is myself. I must intentionally lead myself spiritually, emotionally and mentally in order to be the type of person that God can use in the lives of others.
And the truth is, I don't always feel like being "led." I often feel like ventilating and overdoing it and underperforming. I "feel" like overspending and overeating and forgetting to exercise. I would rather spew emotional vomit than use restraint and I would prefer to throw in that infamous towel rather than try, try and try again. I selfishly wish that I could exhibit the emotions of my female flesh rather than the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
But I must lead myself.
I must lead myself toward forgiveness and away from bitterness and pettiness if I want to have a marriage that reflects the love of Christ.
I must lead myself toward healthy eating habits and daily exercise if it is my intent to exhibit youthful energy for serving God as the years roll by. If I want to go on missions trips, serve in the inner city and speak with power, I must physically prepare for it today. I must lead myself into the future.
I must lead myself toward disciplined spending habits and into wise saving patterns so that I am able to live debt-free, to bless others and to give toward Kingdom investment.
I must lead myself into the daily disciplines of Christianity that are so vital in maintaining an active and vibrant faith. I must read the Bible every day, I must spend time praying for others and I must choose worship over whining. I must lead myself to the cross of Jesus Christ every single day.
I must lead myself into dreaming big dreams and believing that the Holy Spirit within me is well able to make it happen! I must not listen to the voices of discouragement and negativity but I must lead myself toward possibility and optimism and hope.
The reason it is more difficult to lead oneself than it is to lead others is because the way we primarily lead others is by teaching and by wisdom. We all know the right thing to do in most situations in life and we all love to give advice. However, the challenging part of the equation is will we actually do it ourselves? Will we apply the wisdom that we so freely give to others to our own set of circumstances?
Will you lead yourself? Will you take your own advice? Will you choose wisdom over willfulness?
You are a leader, my friend, so lead well. And the first person you lead should always be yourself.
Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She has written five books: No More Ordinary, Holy Estrogen!, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart and Defiant Joy! Her most recent book is Refined: Finding Joy in the Midst of the Fire. Her teaching DVD, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart, won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming.
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