Transitioning From Insecurity To Security
I recently posted about the security of a leader. No doubt, you are aware that a leader requires a great amount of strength to face the many challenges that arise in his or her life. Too often, leaders give up because they lack the strength and resolve to deal with what seems like overwhelming demands. To avoid this pitfall, leaders must ask, “How do I gain enough security to adequately respond to the daily challenges?” and “How do I develop the resolve to keep going forward so people will actually follow me?” Insecure leaders don’t ask these questions. They tend to be either controllers or dictators who cover up their fears. I’ve seen this lead to fear-based defensiveness or a harmful resentment that prevents leaders from dealing with critical issues and fosters unhealthy self-pity or pride.
So, how can a leader make the transition from insecurity to security? This shift cannot happen apart from seeking to live a holy life and being a person of integrity. When you pick up a pen to write you only need the writing end of that pen, but the other end comes with it. I have learned it is impossible to get the right results from doing the wrong things.
For the first 20 years of my ministry my insecurities were a great hindrance to me. I was in bondage. When I was with other leaders not doing as well as me, I could come across as confident and secure. However, when I was with other pastors doing much better than me and experiencing greater ministerial results, I felt inferior, inhibited, intimidated. I was not living in freedom. I found it difficult to be myself in those circumstances. Even though I wanted to be at my best, insecurities and fears crept into my life. I became frustrated and angry with myself. I was less effective than I wanted to be and I was failing to reach my potential as a leader. Something needed to change.
Security comes from having the right centre. I am convinced many leaders fail to thrive because they do not understand their centre. Simply put, our centre is what is most important to us. Insecurity is driven by having the wrong centre. There are many potentially unhealthy centres. Some people are education-centred, or pleasure-centred, or sin-centred, or possession-centred. Early in my ministry, I was possession-centred. In my case, my possession was my church. For others, it’s money. If money is most important to us, we are likely to seek security based on how much money we possess. Yet, if we engage with others who have more capital gains or higher salaries, insecurity and inferiority can arise. I’ve seen how this misguided centre can lead some to depression and even suicide.
So what is the answer? For me, the transition from insecurity to security came through recognizing the importance of being Christ-centred. This centre is constant and unchanging. Other centres fluctuate. We fluctuate. Our emotions and confidence fluctuate. Christ does not fluctuate. But, what does it mean to be Christ-centred? This requires some thought. As I see it, Jesus was not concerned with how others perceived him. Instead, he resolved to be other-centred. He focused on adding value to peoples’ lives through his actions. This realization was impacting for me. I discovered that in order to be Christ-centred, I needed to stop trying to make an impression on people and, instead, start focusing on how I could be an encouragement to them. I began saying and doing whatever was necessary to add value to peoples’ lives. Their best interest became a priority for me. It became my daily focus and pattern. And, I was totally set free. This occurred over 30 years ago and I have never looked back. Now, I don’t feel inferior or superior to anyone. Thoughts and feelings like this don’t register on my radar. Today, I am comfortable with anyone, great or small. People may forget what I say to them, but they are less likely to forget how I prompt them to feel. Astonishingly and at this stage of my life, I sense I am making more of an impression by not trying to impress anyone. I sincerely hope you learn this, too. It’s a truth that sets us free!
May God bless you as you lead!