I don’t like what I see. I am so afraid of failure. I am afraid of pursuing my dreams because I might not succeed. It seems that I have a tendency to follow everyone else’s dreams so that I will not fail at following my own dreams.
I think most of us struggle with believing that we have what it truly takes or that we are enough. This internal conflict is waging war: will we sacrifice our true self in order to protect our fears? How we flesh out this conflict takes on a different look depending on our personalities and underlying fears.
Called to More
One of the reasons I quit my job in 2016 was because I truly believed God had called me to “more.” I had an idea of what that word “more” meant. It meant bigger. Grander. I quickly realized, however, that what God meant when he said he had “more” for me was related to John 10:10, “The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but I have come that you might have life and have it to the full.” He wants to take us deeper more than he wants to take us wider and bigger (or at least before)!
Deeper! That can be scary. It’s the idea of an iceberg. Most know that you only see 10% of the iceberg, not the 90% that is below the surface, deeper down. But, it’s that deeper that truly affects our decisions, our relationships, and our leadership.
- The hurts we have not unpacked.
- The fears carried over from childhood.
- The beliefs that cemented themselves from poor theology and well-meaning people.
It is always true that what goes on underneath the surface, deeper down, will affect what’s around the actual surface and can take time to deal with. Think about the termites eating the foundation, the sharks feeding under ocean water, the snapping turtles in the lake. Anytime there is something lurking underneath that we aren’t aware of, we could be in danger…it’s just a matter of time.
Deep down I don’t believe I am enough. Good enough. Perfect enough. Right enough. I am a One on the enneagram, which means I am constantly striving for perfection and I always come up short. It’s an exhausting trap. For me, in order to attain some form of perfection, I only want to engage where there will be a guaranteed measure of success.
There are leadership opportunities all around us. We often have the privilege of choosing where to offer our gifts, talents, resources, and abilities. Sometimes others have a vision and they ask us to join them. Sometimes God gives us a vision that he wants us to pursue. I have found that I have this tendency to latch on to other people’s vision so I can guarantee success, because to follow the vision God has given to me has unknown outcomes that might result in failure or may be less than perfect. There is nothing innately wrong with joining other people’s vision except when this is NOT where God has directed or called you.
This is my story. The one that is currently unfolding. In the deeper places with God and in his grace, he shows me that latching on to someone else’s dream or vision is not the problem. The problem is my fears — specifically, my fear of failure and not believing that in Him, I am good enough for whatever he has called me to.
Conquering Our Leader Fears
In order to lead myself well as a leader, I must be willing to dive deeper. I must be willing to truly look at what’s below the surface – that 90% of the iceberg. I must commit to the process of dealing with whatever is deep down there. I have to lead myself well before I can lead others well as Jenni Catron says.
I must truly believe God will speak into the deeper parts. With his loving, kind, father heart, he will remind me that I am his beloved daughter, he has made me exactly as he wanted, and has called me to do great things regardless of how I measure perfection or success.
As a leader, do you know what’s below the surface? Do you know what is really hindering you from pursuing your dreams…the dreams that your incredibly loving and all-knowing Father has put within you?