Leading out of Love, not Obligation // 以愛而非責任作領袖

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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.
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。她用了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兒女罪人。

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.

 

當一個人一直長時間戴著一頂帽子,最後那帽子就會變成你的一部分。而到了要脫下這帽子的時候,那可能會是一個痛苦、艱難、甚至是一個悲痛的過程和抉擇,因為當中會有著驕傲、錯誤的安全感、不足夠的安全感及固執等情感的滲和。這其實是一個心態的問題多於外在的問題。

但好消息是:只有你終於把那頂帽子拿下來的時候,你看著鏡子便會發現它更本不是你的一部份,也不是你個人身份的一部份。帽子的目的是作為一件「裝飾品」,為了特定的目的在特定的時候而造的。

教訓、啟示和改變是永遠不會來得太晚或太早…尤其是從神而來的。它們永遠是及時的…就算你可能需要十年以上的時間去學懂、相信和理解。

對我而言,我的教訓就是「基督徒領袖」的帽子。

我從小就被培育作領袖。作領袖就是事奉,而事奉就是作領袖。我帶領兒童主日學、暑期查經課程、少年小組、禱告事工、敬拜團隊、短宣、大學女生小組、青年團契及PLUS小組。

我想多年來一直地作領袖最終導致一個我一直告訴自己永遠也不想要發生的情況— 精疲力竭。雖然我們常從其他人的「錯誤」中學習,但真正的學習是需要自己親身經歷的。

所以這就是我的情況。

多於十年在事工上或教會帶領小組,我已經不能停下來了。我發現我把自己的領袖身份看得越來越重,而且開始迷失了事奉人們的心。我甚至嫉妒跟我一起事奉的人,把他們當作我的競爭者。我開始害怕每一個星期一晚上的來臨,因為我要在我家帶領小組。

那就像一個健康的習慣變成陳腐和醜陋。

最後,是神介入並告訴我是時候停止了。祂讓弟兄姊妹以愛心對我說實話。

他們也跟我說恩典的話語,這是我並不常聽到的。比如那一天我坐在教會的牧師對面,跟他分享說我是時候放下領袖職位,他以充滿恩典、真理、生命力及安慰的話語回應我,而不是以引起內疚或譴責的說話。

我知道是時候放​​下這頂帽子,因為我已有一段時間相信了一個謊言,一個不明顯但很有滲透力的謊言,讓我覺得領導及作為領袖是:

  • 除了基督以外,我身份的一部份
  • 除了十字架以外,我對教會家庭的價值及貢獻的一部份
  • 除了對耶穌的愛和服從及對耶穌所愛的人以外,目標及靈感的一部份

我事奉的動力不再來源于愛,而事奉也變成了責任。我變得疲乏,甚至在看到其他人成長成為領袖的時候開始嫉妒。

請不要誤解,我並不是說去做領袖是錯的或是不需要的,我也不是在指責在我生命中培育我成為領袖的那些人。我們需要領袖。我永遠感謝他們,因為如果沒有他們、沒有過去的話,我就不是今天的我。

但我有著這個信念,在我跟神這個無間斷的旅程當中的此時此刻,我祈求在2014年我會成為一個把自己的身份單單定位於耶穌基督的一個人。我祈求無論我是不是在領袖的崗位,我也能活出是神的兒女、耶穌基督的跟隨者及被救贖的罪人的真正身份。

直到我從一個「崗位」走下來,全心在神的愛內休息,並欣然接受我是神女兒的身份的時候,我的魂才終於能獲得醫治及修復。

這是艱難的一課。但這一課令我感到釋放,因為相信及活在那個謊言裡實在是太累了。

現在,真理已把我自由釋放了。

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