Insecurity is a heart/identity issue that is uniquely manifested in how we lead others. Every leader struggles with it in some way due to both the demanding nature of leadership and the depraved nature of our own hearts. Leadership drags out our insecurities because leadership is a difficult and public enterprise. As a result, we feel the pressure to have all the answers, to make great decisions, and to generally make those that follow us feel secure.
At its core, insecurity is a sinful response to the reality that the only leader who actually has it all together is actually Jesus. So, what does insecurity look like in the life of a leader? There are many possible manifestations, but for the sake of brevity, I will share a couple of tell-tale signs.
What’s God been teaching you? The same question had slipped out of my own mouth when I sought to point an afflicted friend to Christ. But being on the receiving end of the question, particularly at a time when rational thought took profound effort, I had another perspective. It sounded like inquisition.
I have a friend named Larry. I won’t mention his age, but let’s just say Larry can remember life before the Internet was invented. When you are a young pastor, you need a man like this in your life. Although I was once Larry’s pastor, he often pastored me.
When I left the Bible Belt to take a new church in the Pacific Northwest, Larry gave me his best piece of advice on preaching: “Chad, don’t try to hit a home run every Sunday. Just get a man on base. Week in and week out, just get a man on base. After a while, you’ll start bringing people home.”
On Sunday, I baptized our oldest son Timothy. He also turned 13. I mention the baptism before the birthday because it matters more.
But I don’t want to give the impression that the thirteenth birthday is insignificant. It’s the year that English-speakers move into what we call the “teen years.” We officially have a teenager at home, a soon-to-be eighth grader who is about to overtake me in height (admittedly, not a hard marker to meet!).
Last week, a friend asked me about my biggest fears in parenting during this next phase of life. Here are the three that came to mind.
Big news for our team!
Though The Office is far from real life, Christians often treat their relationships much like Andy and Dwight. You buy me coffee, I make a mental note to get you back next time. I come watch your kids, you feed me dinner. You give me a compliment, I give one right back. “Do not test my politeness,” says Andy.
People who don’t know Jesus are able to say, “thank you” and buy the next dinner. Politeness is not all that difficult. Christians, though, are called to pursue hospitality from an understanding of unity.
A favorite from the archives:
Sometimes, though, I wonder if the Christian confessional is just another attempt to have the appearance of godliness without actually having to be godly. It’s like confessing generic issues in a small group— “Gosh, y’know, I’m just really wanting to follow God’s will for my life, but it’s a struggle. Pray for me, if you don’t mind.” Now, there are definitely times when you need to be a little more vague than even you might prefer—especially if you’re in a place where you’re not sure what’s actually wrong, but you’ve just got a sense that something’s off—but it’s easy to use this kind of thing to give you a pass from actually repenting of anything at all.
It’s like saying “mistakes were made,” or “I’m sorry you felt that way,” which is really just having the appearance of contrition without a contrite heart. And the thing that is so deadly is that most of us wouldn’t even be able to recognize that’s what’s going on. But that’s how pride deceives us, isn’t it?