Whose life are you living — your own or someone else’s? Does your leadership reflect how God has uniquely crafted you or are you trying to be somebody you are not?
This is one of the greatest challenges we face.
God invites us to ignore the distracting voices around us — regardless of their source — and to pursue wholeheartedly leading out of our God-given life. This is no small task. Just consider the pressures Jesus, Moses, and David faced.
4 essential practices provide essential guidance for us in this journey:
Take Time to Discover Your Integrity
The journey of living your life instead of someone else’s begins when you discover your integrity. This requires recognizing and defining what is important to you.
When helping someone who is struggling with an inner conflict, I often ask, “What is your integrity calling you to do?” Most people hesitate before responding because they have rarely thought deeply about what they believe and value.
The question behind that question is this: “What is important to you?” If you do not take the time to answer that question, other people’s fears, expectations, and agendas will drive you.
For me this means I am the same person on the inside that I am on the outside. It is important to me that people continually experience deep transformation in Christ through New Life and EHS. A commitment to bridge racial, cultural, economic, and gender barriers, as well as the poor are also core values for me.
Listen to Your Inner Rhythm
All creation has a natural rhythm. When we ignore this wonderful gift from God and work too much or push our bodies beyond their limits, everyone around us suffers.
If I neglect my relationship with God, if I go beyond my people limits, if I don’t nurture delight and joy, my soul begins to die. Rhythm has to do with timing — when it is time to engage or disengage, to remain or to transition, to be with people or be apart, to work or to rest, to play or to be serious. Jesus paid attention and honored his rhythms. So must we.
Set Your Boundaries
With whom do you need to set boundaries? The answer is simple: with everyone!
It’s not bad that people want what they want. People will always want things from you — your time, your emotional support, your expertise, your money, your participation. This is normal.
However, the fact that someone wants something from you does not necessarily mean God wants you to provide it. Of course, it is often easier to do what others want, but the question is: What is best in the long run? What is God’s invitation for how I am to live my one, unrepeatable life?
Let Go of Others
To quit living someone else’s life requires not trying to run other people’s lives. It means not overfunctioning – doing for others what they can and should do for themselves. Controlling the lives of others takes time and energy; it also takes the focus off God’s call for your own life.
One of the litmus tests to discern my spiritual growth in letting go is to detect when traces of resentment, frustration, and judgmentalism prevail in my heart.
The miracle is that when you do these things, you enter into the joy of your own beautifully God-given life, where you now carry out your own God-given purpose.
God has used the wisdom of an old Hasidic rabbi named Rabbi Zusya who said, “At the end of your life, God will not ask you: ‘Why were you not Moses or Jeremiah or some other leader you admire?’ He will ask you, ‘Why were you not you!?’”
Adapted from The Emotionally Healthy Woman (Zondervan, chapter 8, by Geri Scazzero with Pete Scazzero). https://www.emotionallyhealthy.org/product-category/eh-woman/