When I moved from Portsmouth to Birmingham in 2007 after my first year of secondary school. I decided that I wanted to make some significant changes to my personality and the way I acted. Growing up in Portsmouth, I was very quiet. I got bullied a lot, and had only a couple of friends. I didn’t carry myself with much confidence, except within my friendship group.
When I moved to Birmingham at the age of 13-14, I decided I wanted to adopt a more extroverted side. (Although I didn’t call it that at the time). I forced myself into a state of confidence in classes like drama and music, whereas before I didn’t. It was a fresh start, and no one knew pre-07-Paul. So I took advantage of that clean-slate, to build a “popular” personality.
During my years at University, God managed to break this down. But lately in my role I have begun to face some difficult questions. Well, they seemed difficult to a 22-year old. If I make a more effective leader, and demonstrate a better example as an extrovert, should I continue to don the mask? Or should I trust that God can use a quiet and reserved personality to lead? Does God want me to step out of my comfort zone, or remain true to myself? Do I need to be more confident in leading the Bible study, or should I adopt a posture of humility (Not that they’re mutually exclusive)? Is my quietness just a manifestation of pride or insecurity? ETC…
I brought it all to God the other day as I wrestled with myself.
He showed me Psalm 71.
Sometimes as Christian leaders we (I) can get so bogged down by which method is more effective. Which strategy works best. Which persona should I lead with. When we forget, our ministry is not about people seeing more of us. But more of Him. Psalm 71, says some amazing things into this situation.
Regardless of whether people think I am an “amazing example” (Ps 71), I will “Praise the Lord”. I will worship, enjoy, love Him. This is my leadership. As I worship Him and as I love Him, as I enjoy Him, people will see the One whom I am pointing to and follow.
If you think you don’t have the skills, personality, looks, clean record, experience (or whatever else) that you think you need to lead others…Look no further than God. Concentrate your efforts to following Him, unreservedly, wholeheartedly and He will do the rest.
Also, sometimes we have to give up the things which encourage us to lean on our own logic, reason, cleverness, reputation etc. For example, if you rely on the books you read to give you the confidence that you are knowledgeable to be a good leader. Then surrender this for a season. If you feel like you need to be dressed in the most attractive outfit, and have your hair just right, to draw people to your God. Then maybe practice wearing the jeans that don’t suit you, or the t-shirt that you hate wearing. If it’s your reputation, maybe it’s a matter of doing the job that everyone looks down on, or hanging out with the outcast that people will disapprove of you doing – but you know Jesus would. This may be the most important step to become the great leader God has called you to be.
Consider Jesus, who did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. But made Himself nothing, humbling Himself. He is our example of the True Naked Leader.