It happened again. I met with a colleague and dear friend, the CEO of a neighboring pregnancy center network. Our time together was inspiring. We shared ideas and prayed together. I left her office energized, ready to tackle the world (or at least my part of it).
And then it happened. As I replayed our encouraging conversation in my head, an enemy began to play with my mind. Accusations mingled with my thoughts and, within minutes, dominated them.
Who do I think I am? I can’t do this job. I don’t have what it takes.
My friend (I’ll call her Thora) is a bundle of energy and health. I’m not. I struggle with fatigue and pain.
Thora is bold and has charisma. I’m not and don’t. I hesitate before making a decision. I come off as shy and quiet when people meet me.
Thora has connections with the movers and shakers in her community. I don’t. My community is much larger and despite my efforts I haven’t made in-roads with influencers.
Thora has a great reputation among supporters. They trust her and believe in the solidness of the organization. I am still a newcomer and inherited a mess. I am a weak leader.
Thora’s operational budget is much bigger than mine. She has more staff and is free to focus. I wear hats for at least three other positions. My hands are tied.
Thora has the gift of faith. If God asks her to do something, she says yes and runs that direction. Amazing things happen. I am a skeptic and don’t get the results she does.
Try as I might, I couldn’t cast off the weight of my own inadequacies. And as in the case when in a mental downward spiral, I couldn’t see anything that was good. I decided to reach out to a new friend who is a consultant for pregnancy center directors. I think he was surprised that I asked how he handles it when doubts plague him rather than a question about vision or operations. But he recovered quickly. Masterfully he led me through a few questions that centered on God’s calling rather than my own shortcomings. One statement he made stood out from the rest.
God has called you there, because you have what is needed there for this season.
His words cleared the fog that had settled over me.
As I reflected on his statement, I realized I had lost sight of who I am. One of the top qualities of thriving servant leaders is authenticity—being who you are everywhere you are. But if we forget who we are or wish we were someone else, we really can’t be authentic. We end up being a chameleon, changing color in every setting.
To be authentic, we must remember that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are complex. Who we are cannot be reduced to a sentence or a list of attributes. That being said, I have found taking assessments to be a powerful way to identify the qualities I already know are there. It brings me to greater appreciation. I can marvel at who God made me to be. I can live life intentionally being myself.
It is said that if everyone took assessments for Strengths Finder, Myers-Briggs, and spiritual gifts, only one per cent would have the same collective results. That doesn’t take into account your gender, your ethnicity and culture, your education and life experiences, your talents and skills, or your interests and passions. There really is no one just like you.
I recommend that you invest in yourself. If you haven’t taken assessments like the ones I mentioned, I encourage you to do so. If you have taken them, I encourage you to look at them again. Add to them the other factors that set you apart. Spend time thanking God for who you are.
Where has God called you to lead? Home, school, vocational or workplace ministry, social media, neighborhood, community? God has called you there, because you have what is needed there for this season. To quote from the movie The Lion King, “Remember who you are.” And then as you lead, be who you are.
For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully (Romans 12:5-8 NIV).
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago (Ephesians 2:10 NLT).
Heavenly Father, thank you for your faithful love. When I struggle with doubts, you are there to show me the truth. Thank you for creating me as I am. Help me to appreciate and rejoice in who you have made me to be. Empower me by your Spirit to be the best version of me and to reflect the image of Jesus Christ. Use me to accomplish your purposes as I seek to be an authentic leader. For your Kingdom and glory, in Jesus’ name. Amen.