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WANTED: Broken Leaders

Broken Leaders

God is love, and that love works through men—especially through the whole community of Christians. But the spirit of love is, from all eternity, a love going on between the Father and the Son.[1] —C. S. Lewis


Leaders may aspire for success and positions of influence to fill an emotional or spiritual void, commonly resulting from an intimacy deficit with their biological fathers. Intimacy—an authentic openness to others about your feelings, beliefs, actions, and needs—is an emotion that is aloof for people who may have experienced little to no affection in their childhood or young adult life.  They may not have ever trusted others with their emotions, or they may have been ridiculed, shamed, belittled, or victimized by those closest to them.

I have spoken to hundreds of Christian leaders who have only a few emotionally healthy relationships if any at all. These leaders often recall how the adults in their life rarely thought they were good enough, which often arouses feelings of sadness, anger, shame, or grief. This emotional brokenness can lead to a lifestyle of hiding and posing. Without a healthy self-awareness, leaders may fear rejection if others see their inadequacies.  They limit their exposure to protect their fragile emotions.

Self-awareness is the ability to recognize and understand your emotions, moods, and motives. Effective leaders are aware of how their actions, behaviors, and attitudes affect others around them. When you are aware of your emotions, you can lead with confidence through a God who uses less than perfect vessels. You don’t have to suppress your feelings, but you must be aware of your broken state and can have the right perspective about those inadequacies.  Look closely at Paul’s words for the kinds of leaders God chooses.

God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:27-31).

You don't have to be perfect. You will never be perfect and you don't need to pretend to be. God needs broken leaders to point to the Suffering Savior.

[1]  C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York, Macmillan, 1952), 136.

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