A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent. —Douglas MacArthur
Being a leader must be one of those things God instills in people at birth. I spent a lot of year fighting the idea of being a leader. I didn't want the responsibility, the discomfort, the difficulty. Growing up I thought of myself as a follower, going with the flow. But looking back now, I wasn't really a follower, because I didn't really want to go were a lot of other people were going. I wanted to go where God wanted me to go. So I didn't follow other people, but I did follow Him. And He made me a leader...so I'm told.
In high school my mother made me apply for a leadership scholarship, and to try and give me a edge, she made me go to a leadership camp at the college I was going to attend. I didn't want to apply for the scholarship and I hated the camp (a full week of stupid ice breaker exercises. I HATE ICE BREAKERS), and what was worse was that I didn't get the scholarship either. That was my "see, I told you so moment".
But not getting a scholarship didn't make me any less a leader. These days I am mostly okay that people considering me one. I am realizing that God made me that way. I don't want to stand out and draw attention to myself, but I do want to provide confidence in other people; encourage and bring people to a place where they can excel in whatever the task is at hand. I have this thing inside of me that shows up when things need to get done and no one know how to do it (usually including me) or everyone is afraid to do it. I jump in, I take the challenge. Sometimes it's exciting and sometimes it's terrifying, but always I learn something.
Last week I was in NY for a Crisis Incident Stress Management training. I felt WAY out of my league. I was in this class with people who have years of experience in chaplaincy, police work, fire work, pastoral work, etc. Who am I? I just want to learn how to help Internet volunteers care for people who share their crisis and concerns with us. On the last day of training we spent most of the time doing role plays. When it was my team's turn to lead the crisis debrief we were told to pick a team leader. Now, everyone knows that the first person to say "who wants to be the team leader" gets dubbed the team leader, right? So I purposefully kept my mouth shut. But when someone asked the question, the whole team picked me...what?? How did that happen? I know I answered a few questions right earlier but what makes these 6 strangers think I should be our leader?? In the end I was thankful for the experience. I didn't do it all right, and I said some wrong things, but I learned a ton and I will be better at caring for people as a result. And hopefully, I gave a little courage to the next person who didn't think they could do it.
So mom, I guess you were right all along. As I pay off my student loans, I sure wish I had been granted that scholarship!!
Embrace who you are even if it's uncomfortable. God gave you gifts for a reason even if you don't know what that reason is.
-The Real Me