Exploring leadership through a reflective lens
Wrestling with Identity and Security in Leadership
Am I really a leader? And if I am, do I want to be? These questions have been on my mind for the past few months, well, actually years if I’m honest. Even though I have consistently found myself in various leadership positions, and others have affirmed it in me, I still doubt if I am who it seems I am. Have you ever had similar feelings? We may not like to admit it, but we are not as alone as we may think we are. Many leaders in the Bible also struggled with these questions, particularly ones like Moses and Gideon.
When God spoke to Moses out of a perpetually burning bush, and called him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses was quick to respond, “Who am I?” (Ex. 3:11). Moses had taken stock of who he was, and by his calculations, he was not the most knowledgeable or skilled choice, so God should choose someone else to lead.
God came to Gideon through the angel of the Lord, giving him the task of delivering the Israelites from the Midianites. Gideon, like Moses, says, “How can I…? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family” (Jdg. 6:15). Gideon’s self-assessment left him unequal to the task of leadership.
Both Moses and Gideon did not see themselves as leaders, and tried to get out of God’s call to leadership.
But how did God respond? “I AM” (Ex. 3:14) and “I will be with you” (Jdg. 6:16). Moses and Gideon had gotten it wrong. It wasn’t about who they were, what they knew, or where they came from. It was about who God was, and accepting God’s call on their lives as leaders.
Although I have a long way to go, and I anticipate it will be a lifelong struggle, I think I am finally starting to see myself as a leader. As I learn and develop, my eyes are opened to aspects of leadership I perform intuitively. I see fruit (Jn. 15) and I receive affirmation from others. As much as I still sometimes want to say to God, “Please send someone else,” as Moses did (Ex. 4:13), I also know that it is my responsibility to develop and use my gifts to build up the church (Eph. 4:11-13). I didn’t choose this calling, but I see it on my life.
I am realizing that if my confidence and identity as a leader come only from my own knowledge, abilities, and skills, I will always be on shaky ground. I will rely on myself, and experience feelings of inadequacy and insecurity, leading to fear and an attempt to control. I must continue to look to the God who has called and appointed me for my security. I can trust God to be with me and to equip me as a leader, just as God promised Moses and Gideon. Are you with me?
Questions for Reflection
- How do you relate to leaders like Moses and Gideon?
- Where do you find your security and identity as a leader?
- Why not spend a moment in prayer and hear what God is saying to you in your leadership?
Tami lives in Canada and works for the Christian charity Operation Mobilisation. She recently finished studies in Adult Education, and enjoys conversations about feminism and tea.
*Image taken by Tami Zacharias