When I was in a very painful season of differentiation during 2006 and 2007, I developed a set of questions that I wrote in my journal and returned to over and over again. They became an anchor for me as I regularly and prayerfully brought them to God during my morning prayer time, asking Him for wisdom and power to deeply change me. I mark that season as a crucible – painful, severe, purifying, yet liberating. Without doubt, it was a turning point in my 30 years of growing into a more effective pastor. And they formed the foundation of The Emotionally Healthy Leader book that I wrote eight years later.
When I accidentally rediscovered them in an old journal recently, I was taken aback at how carefully I had crafted the questions for myself, and how they had become so much a part of me after that two-year period.
I offer them to you for your prayerful consideration in this podcast. I trust a few may apply to your situation today. Here they are:
- What is success for me as the Lead Pastor? What is God’s unique shape for me?
- Feelings aside, what is best in the long-term for NLF?
- What might I be avoiding? Am I staying with the “uncomfortable” in order to get to the goals I believe God has for NLF?
- How much of my avoidance of difficult issues is driven by a need to be liked?
- Am I doing anything that soothes my anxiety but betrays my integrity?
- Am I making room for the space and time I need to provide overall leadership and guard the values and vision?
- Am I staying focused on the small items and steps that will get me to the goals I believe God has given me for NLF? Am I distracted by other things?
- What are the next concrete steps in light of my goals? How long will each of these steps take? Have I taken out my calendar and looked at what I will need to say ‘no’ to so this can happen?
- What does it mean for NLF to operate out of a higher-level of integrity in this next season?
- Am I creating a life in God that is truly a gift to others? Or am I creating a life that externally proves my worth and value?
Is this important? When we fail to grow in our differentiation, our ministry slowly declines, our community is diminished, the wrong people end up exercising leadership, and we perpetuate immaturity. Differentiation may be hard. But not differentiating is even harder.