I love that all of Freedom in Christ's materials are solidly based on God's Word. The main idea of the course is that healthy leaders lead out of their being not doing. Our being, who we are in Christ, is foundation to all we do. It is out of our being that we do. We need to focus on who we are first. In Christ we have all our significance, acceptance, and security. We do not need to find these things in our leadership. Our character is what makes us a good leader. We will lead like Jesus as we become like Him. If we have the character of Christ we will lead whether we are appointed as leaders or not.
I learned that the people we lead, our people systems, have a body, spirit, and soul. So often we focus only on what is seen - the body - the structures, programs, policies...but it is really what is unseen that needs our attention. The spirit of the people system affects everything. The soul is the emotions, mind and will of the group. These things are all under the surface and make and lead your people. Changing what is seen will never bring change without changing what is unseen.
I was challenged and encouraged by the Biblical truth on anxiety. People are worried, fearful, stressed...anxious and it makes unhealthy leaders and people systems. Chronic anxiety will distort. Anxiety is a lot about the future (what might happen) and it will weigh a person down (Prov. 12:25). We cannot lead effectively if we have anxiety. The answer to anxiety?
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may restore you, cast ALL your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:6-7
(You can read all of 1 Peter 5:6-10 and see how it all goes together.)
God commands us so we should do it and it is possible! (Matt. 6:34, Phil. 4:6) We need to let go and humble ourselves. He is in control and is able. It all depends on Him not us! Throw all our worries and stress to God - and don't take it back. I am not responsible for everything and everyone. God is responsible, others have responsibilities, and I have mine. I am called to forgive, repent, and make amends. The rest is God's. This allows us to be free, rest, and have peace.
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near; DO NOT be anxious about anything, BUT in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:4-7
I know we want to quickly argue this or say, "yeah, but..." This is God's Word, His way for us. We can rejoice in all things because we are rejoicing IN HIM. Our circumstances don't have to dictate us. Why should we worry?! We can give it all to GOD - the Creator of all, all powerful, all knowing, over all, in all, the Beginning and the End... It is a choice for us to give thanks. Keep giving it to God and choosing to be thankful until peace comes. Peace that humans can't understand. It protects us - guarding our thinking and feelings.
I was affirmed how much trust plays into leading. Without trust you will not lead and when there is trust a lot can be done. Trust in a people system brings openness and grace. Our being plus our doing will equal trust (or distrust). Trust takes time but can be ruined in an instant.
I learned about the pitfall for leaders and for people systems. I was surprised and encouraged to learn that good leaders do not make things easy or make things work well. Group pitfalls will happen to even the best leaders. A good leader will always be resisted. Our reaction to pitfalls is what is crucial. Our response can stir everything up or calm everything down. I was really challenged that in Christ we never have to defend ourselves. Don't be reactive, take responsibility, don't argue, respond in grace, love and forgiveness.
I think for me it was all summed up well in this way; because we are IN Christ we may become authentic as leaders which gives us real hope because our leadership will bring God glory, change lives, and will show Jesus to the world. All because Christ is in us we know who we are and we can stop trying to be someone else. We are secure. We are empower by the Holy Spirit in us. Our vulnerability shows strength. Only strong people will have the courage to be open and connect with others. We can do more because of Christ in us. Transformation can happen through our leadership because of love (giving of ourselves) and faith (choosing to trust God). Trust is based on true knowledge of God and His ways. Interestingly, safety and certainty are enemies of faith. Think about that. We need to embrace the cross as leaders not power. Jesus gave up reputation, He allowed people to falsely talk against Him, was excluded and rejected, laid down His weapons, accepted pain. Don't give up because of hardships. Persevere and endure. Our perspective, our point of view, from which we see our circumstances is a choice. Seek God's perspective through His Word and prayer.
Now to live it out...