Today’s blog is taken from my thoughts of chapter 3, On Being Humble from Leadership Essentials: Shaping Vision, Multiplying Influence & Defining Character as a part of the official gabbingwithgrace.com Book Club. Sorry, I’m behind. In all humility, I’m a loser.
Okay, let me first say, this workbook is SO GOOD. And even if you didn’t ever read my posts on the book or even consider buying it or joining my book club –please go through it yourself! It’s not that I’m not enjoying my little book club here made up of a single member -ahem, myself- but I do think this is a terrific resource for anyone in any leadership position. I am so challenged, convicted & wiser. (Can’t you tell?) On to the dirt…
My first question for you is: are you ambitious?
I guess I’d never thought of myself as an ambitious person until about a year ago when I realized I had dreams & aspirations that I fully plan to go after. Things that for so many years had been buried under fear and self-doubt, self-loathing & failures. Honestly, it really took multiple people saying to me, “Gracee, wake up, your accomplishing things -big things- & you need to be ambitious to use your gifts to make the world a better place.”
“Yeah, yeah,” I’d think. Well, now that I’ve fully embraced my ambitions the age old question has come into play, which is the subject of this chapter: “What should my primary ambition be as a Christian leader?”
If I am truly about advancing Jesus and His Kingdom, then my primary motivation should be ambitious to advance HIS fame and HIS reputation as opposed to pandering after my own self-exaltation and pride of my own (somewhat silly) accomplishments. This is not however a one-time deal. You must, as the book argues, have constant accountability on the condition of your soul due to the highly addictive nature of praise.
I’ve said many times in my blog before I think 90% of the reason why folks like MJ, Britney Spears and others went completely hay wire is because human beings are not meant to be worshiped and if your entire life is lived to receive that worship, well, I think your in big trouble. And someone like me doesn’t need to go anywhere near Britney’s level of public adoration to be corrupted by bad motivations.
The reading of chapter 3 focuses on the biblical character of John who was a great example of deflecting attention away from himself & towards Jesus though he was attracting quite a following himself. I like this because John was a sinner, more normal like us you know?
The book challenged me to examine my life against these signs of unhealthy drivenness. (I.E. being driven is not wrong at all, but being driven by and to the wrong things, is).
1. Am I gratified by the accumulation of accomplishments & constant affirmation?
2. Am I gratified by the symbols which come with accomplishments (bigger office, higher salary, better “toys”, better job position, bigger house, etc.)?
3. Do I posess an uncontrolled pursuit of expansion so that everything I do needs to be bigger and better than the last?
4. Am I slowly having a limited regard for integrity that my ambitions are weeding out the development of my character?
5. Am I showing volcanic anger or an attitude towards others I’m working with that they are despensable?
6. Am I abnormally busy? Have I equated busyness with importance?
Well, I won’t say which ones I struggle with but my best guess is that you could probably figure it out.
The 2nd thing we can learn from John is that he wasn’t prideful.
“We can tell that pride lurks within when we are snubbed, passed over or not recognized for our accomplishments. In such situations we may want to subtly ask, “Do you know who I am?” The very nature of pride is that it can’t remain quiet; it seeks recognition.” ay ay ay.
I struggled with this all last year being in seminary. I wanted to be taken more seriously than my 22 yr. old counterparts who had no ministry experience, whereas I –very important person, Grace Biskie has had years of ministry experience. I wanted to be recognized in class as the one who all ready knew all this stuff & in fact had been trained in “real ministry issues” than the book knowledge we were getting. It was a constant battle of coming to grips with the fact that my ministry experience & my InterVarsity Training doesn’t make me better than anyone else in that Seminary. Bottom line, when I came in to WTS I had my worth all wrapped up in my accomplishments on staff with InterVarsity. Another word for that?
As the book points out, this is a distressing pattern in Christian leadership today where our inflated views of our self produce this grandiosity and addiction to our image. And not even little old nobody me has been able to escape it. How much harder would it be if I had the public platform of someone like Beth Moore or Joyce Meyer? Building in that accountability is key!
Another super convicting part of this chapter for me is the idea that I probably fall under the category of “highly extroverted, self-absorbed performer.” Hows that for eating a piece of humble pie? And since a lot of people tend towards being passive spectators they are particularly vulnerable to sit around and watch narcissistic leaders do whatever they want without accountability. I’m sure we can all think of examples of that. I don’t want to fall into that trap, yall!
The overall gist of this chapter: be vigilant! Pride is at odds with the humility that makes us useful leaders in God’s Kingdom.
Proverbs 4:23 – Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
So, if your with me in this book club, what did you learn or take away from this chapter? I know my butt is officially kicked. I’m even re-examining my blog ~ why do I it? So much to consider…