I have learned a lot of things the hard way in life and in ministry. It can be difficult to steward the call on you life when so much around you looks completely opposite of what your end destination is. I know what it is to get antsy in the waiting, to slay the self promotion dragon, to battle insecurity. and I could share at length on all of them…but I wanted to pass on some hard learned tips that will help young leaders navigate that are not often addressed.
Submit. You don’t know everything. I know that is shocking to you because you have had a revelation of your purpose and want to run into your destiny. You want covering…it comes by submission. You will be covered to the degree that you allow yourself to be. That means forsaking your preference for a hot minute to submit to the vision of another Follow them as they follow Christ(1 Cor 11:1). You can’t follow if you don’t submit. When you submit to healthy Godly authorities you reap all the benefits of being a son. Furthermore, you have blind spots, you need leaders that point them out in love and call you up higher.
Be Quiet. Sssssh… This fire has risen up in your bones and you want to scream from the roof tops. You don’t have to tell everyone who you are or what your call is. No one has to know the things you have seen and done in secret or in public. If you humble yourself, he will exalt your exalt you in due time. I know everything is full throttle (that’s not a bad thing) including your opinions. You have so many thoughts, ideas, new approaches running through your mind, you see things clearly not through tainted religious glasses, but as Proverbs 18:2 says “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. Be quiet. Listen. Take it all in. Be thorough…try to understand the approaches, methods, and motivation of others; wait for the moment the Lord gives you the go ahead to speak. Being quiet does not mean being mousey or compromising who you are; when you speak, come with boldness and confidence.
Know you you are. I know, I just said you don’t have to tell everyone who you are and what your call is, that is ALL still true. HOWEVER, sometimes you have to remind yourself of who you are. Have those key scriptures handy when things seem too daunting, read them and declare them over yourself.
If you don’t know who you are, you won’t know who you are not. You are unique and so is your call. You do not have to look like everyone else, talk like everyone else, or fit into a mold. When you know who you are,you won’t compromise or shave off pieces of yourself to come in line with someone’s perception of who you should be. Submission is not you giving away pieces of yourself, you must stay true to who you are and the call that God put on your life There is a freedom that comes in knowing and being able to express who you are in the earth. Your destiny is you coming into who you are, and being free to walk in it.
Know the mission. Proverbs 29:18 tells us “Where there is no vision, people perish”. When you are gifted there are a lot of things that you could do, and do very well with; don’t lose sight of the vision he gave you. Know the mission, continue to submit that vision the Lord, let him add to it, tweak it along the way, but keep it ever before Him. When you know the mission you are not swayed by ups and downs, naysayers or well meaning people that try to change your course to fit their comfort level.
Have boundaries. Have boundaries. Have boundaries. I think boundaries are important…can you tell? Boundaries are the gift that keep on giving! Burnout is high in leaders, not just those in full time ministry. I didn’t have a boundary to my name for most of my time in ministry. I loved Jesus and I loved people so naturally that meant that I should give everyone access to me to my heart…WRONG!!! To say that I learned that lesson the hard way is the understatement of the year. Boundaries keep you safe, they keep you healthy. I thought that I had great boundaries and had learned so much in this area, until a few months ago one of my pastors called me out and said strengthen those to keep the suckers away. The suckers bucked, but man it helped me keep my peace and made me a better leader. Boundaries keep me from giving me to people when the Jesus in me is what they need.
Once you know who you are, set boundaries that keep you free to be that person. Know your limts, don’t compromise who you are, your personality, the things that make you unique. Make your boundary lines known and let people know respectfully when they have crossed them. Being assertive does not make you mean, it keeps you healthy.
I can not stress the importance of boundaries to maintain integrity and the character. I’m all about living free, but be free within your boundaries. Boundaries keep you from stupid situations and stupid decision. Ask Holy Spirit what your boundaries are…He sets your boundary lines in pleasant places. (PS If your breathing then should read the Boundaries book by Dr. Henry Cloud)
Just keep swimming. If you are not moving forward, you are moving backward. Every season looks different, and progress can look very different from one season to the next but keep making progress.Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Gal 6:9 Keep running, don’t quit, don’t give up!! Days are long and nights are short. Opposition comes from all angles even if you have to crawl refuse to back track at all. If you do mess up…keep swimming. If you fail…keep swimming. God isn’t afraid of your failure or your sin. He knew exactly what He was getting into when He called you. Too many people have forsake their destiny because they didn’t get back up. Read the Bible…the Lord was never too afraid of someone’s mistakes to use them.
Rest. You don’t have to do everything. You’re a human being not a human doing. Let God be God…ask Him what things he wants you to do and let Him do the rest. Let Him prioritize your time, let Him set your agenda. Rest in His vastness, His goodness and His timing.
Stay Challenged. Surround yourself with people that are better than you and let them sharpen you. Find a few good mentors that are running in what you want to run in and glean everything that you can from them. Give the leaders in your life free license to push you, pull you, make you stand on your head…whatever you need to do to grow! Fill your life with podcasts, books, leadership teachings that continually build your knowledge base and develop your gifts and character to carry said gifts.
Keep your eye on the prize. Jesus, is the treasure that you’re after, without Him nothing else matters. Your first ministry is to the Lord; your first call is to be His. Don’t let all the demands on your life keep you from growing in relationship with the Lord. Spend time with him…everyday! When you feel chaos internally, get in the presence and return to your first love. The worst place to be is where the Holy Spirit was, walk in communion with Him.