Just Lead! Week Two

Last week we talked a lot about how leadership is in our blood and considered who would be or are our encouragers and challengers.  We also talked about how fear can keep us from doing and leading as God would have us…that we need to take that fear UP to God for perspective and peace.

This week we’ll look at Chapters 3, 4, & 5 — we’ll talk about insecurity, criticism, and pride. Oh my.  

If you haven’t created an account as contributor, try to do so this week so that your comments aren’t limited in length.  And don’t forget — keep your responses as general as possible since this is an open blog.  I hope you’re being as transparent as possible with yourself and us within those bounds!!

I’m going to come at responding a bit differently this week, hoping that you’ll fill in the gaps with your responses.  I’ll list every question at the end of each chapter and do one personal response either on one particular question or a conglomeration of them. Here we go!

Chapter 3 – The Monster You Are Avoiding

1. Are there voices in your life that drain your security tank? How do you overcome their influence?

2. In her story, Tammy mentioned that insecurity tends to show up when she’s facing an opportunity to grow. When does insecurity rear its head most often in your life?

3. What are the daily routines that you’ve put into place that help you overcome insecurity?

SJ-Insecurity isn’t my biggest issue, but when it comes up I JUST HATE IT. Seems like it creeps in for me is when my environment is foreign/unusual. Just this past Christmas I attended my husband’s company party with him and have never felt so under-dressed in my life. I wanted to leave so badly, but had to swallow that insecurity and stick it out (which is good for me).  I have worn that same outfit in another setting and felt most confident.  Crazy. I chide myself for that weakness of wanting to “please man” instead of just focusing on pleasing God.  

Besides surroundings, I’d say those seasons of exhaustion and high stress are snares for my insecurity as well.  Of course, if I’m feeling stress to begin with, I’m not where I need to be spiritually. Vicious cycle.

LOVED her analogy of “mental piles,” sorting according to encouragement, wisdom, and discard.  Super! And for me (p. 39) this would work because my big downfall is mentally rehashing things, so to figure out how to ponder things LESS is a victory.

Chapter 4 – You’re Not Doing It Right

1. Do you have a tendency to take criticism personally? When do you feel most vulnerable (in your leadership)?

2. Do you fear rejection or failure?

3. What steps can you take to begin to process criticism in a healthy way?

SJ-A much bigger issue for me is taking criticism personally.  I’m a perfectionist, so I naturally avoid failure…though I’m convinced we learn the most from our mistakes. The pattern I seem to follow is that when I’m prepared for criticism, expecting it, I handle it as I should, constructively.  But when I’m in that tired place and criticism comes out of the blue, I turn to a puddle. That mental rehash thing happens, reliving the scene over and over.

SO, I really liked her suggestions to take the focus off myself then remember what is true (p. 53)…then of course PRAY, asking God to focus my mind and heart (p. 55).  And in God-fashion, He gave me the opportunity to put this in practice last week.  Just as I was starting to feel defensive, these very words popped in my head, so I said a quick prayer, asking God to show me what truth there was in what was being said.  I immediately quit feeling defensive and our conversation became much more constructive. HUH.

Chapter 5 – Growing Pains

1. How is pride holding you back from leading effectively?

2. What is the greatest lie that pride repeatedly tries to tell you?

3. What truth do you need to remember to confront that lie?

4. What steps can you take on your journey to seek wisdom?

SJ-Oh, pride. That ugly, ugly thing called pride. Here’s some irony from the inner-workings of my mind. I’ve had seasons where I’ve prided myself for being so humble. (quit laughing!) High school is my most vivid memory.  Of course, at that age, we think we know everything anyway. Must have stayed there in some fashion because it was in Beth Moore’s Breaking Free that I had my BIG AH-HA about pride. It has many faces and shades…and I had (have) a lot of it. 

Motive was mentioned in this lesson that I recall, but it’s when I check my internal motive that God helps me gauge my pride-level. Proverbs 16:2, 1 Corinthians 4:5, and James 4:5 all talk to motive in things we say, do, ask for, want, etc. I frequently ask God to reveal my motive…and His revelations are very humbling!

Her section on mentoring spoke volumes to me. I need to re-read that part many times so that it soaks in my head.  The cool thing is…I have mentors in my life right now, though these relationships were never formalized and the women aren’t the wise, “old” women who know-all and see-all (I visualize that “shaman” in a tent that you can go to for wisdom. I know, they don’t exist).  They’re women like me who also need mentoring and encouragement and accountability.

I couldn’t agree more about making the most of every learning opportunity. I’m not a voracious reader of non-fiction type books (I love story), but God is pushing me past my stubbornness to more and more books like this one to show me there is a lot to learn. And, like Jenni, I’m a conference junkie. Something about being with speakers “in person” that inspires me and pushes me to learn. And I loved the “change of place + change of pace = change of perspective” (p. 69).  There is a lot of truth to that. I can get so bogged down in my to-do’s that I need those changes to get that new perspective.

“A heart bent toward continuous growth is one marked by humility.” (p. 70) Amen!


Published by Shelley Linn Johnson

Lover of The Word. And words. Cultivator of curiosity about all things Christ. Lifelong learner who likes inviting others along for the journey. Recovering perfectionist who has only recently realized that rhythms are so much better than stress-inducing must-do's.

3 thoughts on “Just Lead! Week Two

  1. I received your post on Monday. I haven’t responded yet. Been a busy week with mom & dad.

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Like Shelley, insecurity is not something I suffer from all the time but when I am starting something new, like my position as a new manager, I often find myself stymied by the feeling of being unsure. I want everyone to like me that is what I have spent all my life trying to do, make people happy. But in this new role as manager, I find I can’t make everyone happy and that is a challenge for me. I take comfort in knowing that even Jesus faced insecurity and doubt when he was facing the cross. In Luke 22:42 Jesus says, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me: yet not my will, but yours be done”. I am not facing a cross but GOD is still there with me guiding my way, not my will but God’s will be done. My biggest challenge in reading these chapters has been facing criticism. I hate criticism. I hate to face criticism, I hate to hear criticism and often I will avoid criticism. Lucky for me God loves me just like I am. I am a perfectionist in most everything I do, I don’t want to fail or hear that I have not done something well. I am the first one done with assignments, I am the one in the room taking notes at a staff meeting, I am the one go bring all my books to the meeting (does overachiever sound familiar). When faced with criticism I often find myself tongue tied when needing to respond to the situation. When Jenni quoted Theodore Roosevelt in chapter 4 it meant a lot to me. The quote let me know that in the trenches things get dirty but that is when you shine. Jesus never backed away from a challenge or criticism. When looking back over the chapters I have highlighted “Critics are a bit like bleach”, and am glad I can put criticism in piles of importance and relevance. It is reassuring to me to know that God loves me just the way I am. He wants the best for me and he is with me. When I fail he forgives me. When I succeed he is right there with me.

  3. Having a little trouble getting into a rhythm on this blog thing, but I’ve been responding to the questions on my nook intending to copy them here. So here goes.
    Ch 3 Insecurity
    1. I don’t have any security zapping voices in my life right now, but I certainly like the idea of sorting them like laundry. When I face criticism, I do pray about it and ask God to show me any truth in it. That helps me respond to the valid and toss the rest.
    2. I might not have used the words ‘an opportunity to grow.’ But I do face insecurity during times of change, times of upheaval, e.g. children leaving home, parents gone, and such. Times when the ground is shifting under me.
    3. The repetition of God’s promises is my best source of overcoming most things, insecurity among them. It’s like turning the TV channel. When I get started down that destructive path of self talk, agreeing with the enemy, I change the channel and repeat God’s words. I take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. It’s always amazing to me to feel the release of worry, anger, and anxiety when I’m successful in this.
    Ch 4 Criticism
    1. I tend to take criticism personally & play it over and over in my head. As the authors suggest using Gods truths and prayer are my best defense. An offense of seeking feedback from my wise counselors would also be helpfiul for my perspective & growth.
    2. Fear of failure is more commom for me in the church environment, which is quite different than the business environment. The stakes seem higher. I was also more confident in the business world, probably from familiarity.
    3. I think the practice of checking the truth of criticism through asking God in prayer and a wise counselor for their view. I’m not sure if this would stop my replaying the criticism in my head, but at least I’d have an amendment to overlay it with!
    Ch 5 Pride
    2. The biggest lie that pride whispers in my head is that “I can do it on my own” or even worse, that “I should be able to do it on my own.”
    3. I need to remember God’s truths. I need to remember that I don’t have to do it on my own. It’s God working through me that succeeds! There are many scriptures that I can use. “I can do all thinks through Christ who strengthens me.” Or like Philippians 2:3 that Jeanne’s story mentioned.

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