Leading out of Love, not Obligation // 以愛而非責任作領袖
Carmen has been a servant-leader for over 10 years until she started to believe in a lie that leading was her identity. She takes this year to break that lie and embrace the true freedom and identity that God has given her as a child of God and redeemed sinner.
當Carmen開始相信作為領袖是她身份的謊言是，她已經作為事奉領袖超過十年了。她用了這年的時間去打破這個謊言，並欣然接受神給予她的真正自由及身份 – 神的兒女和被救贖的罪人。
When one has been wearing a certain hat for a long time, that hat eventually becomes a part of you. And when it is time to take that hat off, it can be a painful, really tough, even grievous process and decision because of the pride, false security, insecurity and stubbornness that gets in the way. It’s really more of a heart issue than a physical one.
But good news: it is only when you finally take that hat off and look into the mirror that one realizes that hat was never a part of who you are in the first place, it was never part of your identity as a person. The purpose of the hat is as an “accessory,” that is, made for a specific purpose at a specific time.
Lessons, revelations and transformations never come too late or too early … especially those that come from GOD. They are timely… even if it takes over 10 years for one to learn, believe and understand it.
For me, this was the lesson on the “Christian leadership” hat.
From an early age until now, I was nurtured and brought up to lead. Leading meant serving and serving meant leading. I lead children’s Sunday school, vacation Bible School, youth groups, prayer ministry, worship teams, mission trips, a woman’s university small group, young adult fellowships and a PLUS small group.
I guess these years of leading finally hit a point I always told myself I never wanted to be at – burnt out. But even though one often learns from others’ “mistakes”, to truly learn was to experience it for oneself.
So here I am.
After over 10 years of leading a group in ministry or in the church, I came to a point where I couldn’t stop leading. I began to realize that I started to base my identity more on my leadership position and I had begun to lose the heart of serving people. I had gotten to the point where I even became jealous of people who I served with, viewing them as competitors. I began to dread Monday nights when I was about to have small group in my home.
It was as though a healthy habit had turned stale and ugly.
Finally, it was God who stepped in and told me it was time to stop. He brought in other brothers and sisters who spoke to me the truth in love.
But they also spoke words of grace, words I was not used to hearing. Like the other day when I sat across my church pastor and shared with him that it was time for me to step down from a leadership position, he responded to me with words of grace, truth, life, comfort and no guilt nor condemnation.
I knew it was time to take this hat off because for a while, I had bought into a lie, a subtle but penetrating lie that leadership and being a leader was:
- a part of my identity, apart from Christ alone
- a part of my worth and usefulness in the church family, apart from the Cross
- a part of a purpose and inspiration, apart from obedience and love for Jesus himself and those He loves.
Love no longer became my source to serving but serving became an obligation. I grew weary and even jealous of seeing others grow and become leaders themselves.
Don’t misread this, I by no means am saying leading is wrong or not needed, nor am I blaming those who have sown into my life for raising up leaders. We need leaders. I am forever grateful for them, for without them , without the past, I would not be who I am today.
But this is a conviction at this particular period in time of this continuous journey I am on with my God that my prayer for 2014 is to become a person identified with Christ and Christ alone. I pray to live out this true identity as a child of God, a follower of Jesus Christ and a redeemed sinner whether I’m in a leadership position or not.
It wasn’t until I stepped down from a “position” and truly rested in God’s love, embracing my identity as a daughter that I was finally able to receive healing and restoration for my soul.
It was a tough lesson to learn but so freeing because believing and living that lie was so exhausting.
And now the truth has set me free.