What do you struggle most with as a leader?
For me, one of the things I struggle with most leading with my husband our ministry here in Peru is discouragement.
God speaks to us, we act, we encourage others, others are initially enthusiastic and then we get tired. We are tempted to be led by how others are feeling instead of looking to God and remembering the vision He has given us. It gets hard. We get discouraged.
Recently, God has spoken to me through Deuteronomy 31. Moses is about to hand his leadership onto Joshua, and he is to lead the unfaithful, emotion-led Israelites into the Promised Land.
When the Israelites were faced with the promised land, God said more or less the same things to Israel and to Joshua through Moses, but with some important differences:
Compare these two passages and see the differences:
To the Israelites: ‘The Lord will deliver them to you, and you must do to them all that I have commanded you. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.’
To Joshua: ‘Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.’
What the people needed to hear was different from what the leader needed to hear in a couple of important ways. The crowd needed to hear that God was with them, that He would never leave them. Joshua need to hear something different to empower him. He need to hear God would go ahead of him as well as with him. And He needed to be told not to be discouraged.
I didn’t even realize discouragement was a key strategy of the enemy in my life until I started reflecting on it. But Moses’ words to Joshua empower me.
I have a role in not being discouraged. I don’t have to just accept it. I can and am encouraged to face it head on. When it rears its lying head, I can look to the Lord and ask Him to remind me of the vision. I can ask Him to bring the breakthrough for the moment. I can seek him for a word to move forward. I don’t have to just accept it or even worse, agree with it.
This post has been a couple of months in the writing. I have had over a month in the last two months without free time to write with Mark being away, but honestly, I think in part I have also been discouraged. I wonder if what I have to say is worth the time it takes to invest in writing a post. I wonder if other things are more important. Perhaps they are sometimes. But I also know that God wants to use my writing, and so isn’t the enemy trying to discourage that just another subtle strategy of his?
Generally I find a post just flows and at the moment, it is not, and that makes me want to give up, but wisdom tells me that the biggest obstacles come just before a breakthrough! So even if this post comes out jagged and hindered, I am choosing to post it – knowing that sometimes just moving forward means one step closer to breakthrough!
I am choosing not to be discouraged because now I know that more often than not, it is the enemy trying to discourage me rather than God trying to slow me down. His promptings to slow down always come in the form of encouragements to seek Him more, not just to give up!
So for those of you who are leaders today:
‘Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.’