In today’s post we’ll talk about step 3 of 12 in the Leadership Journey. If you’ve missed any of the previous posts, we recommend reading those before getting started with step 3.
Along the way you’ll find questions to think through, journal about, and pray over. The path to leadership always runs first through self-awareness. We’d encourage you to utilize these questions as a guide.
A new journey usually starts off when we are in an environment that we are not completely comfortable with and something is wrong and something needs to be done…something needs to change!
Let’s start with Moses’ moment of “holy discontent”, when something is wrong and something needs to change!
I will no longer settle for the status quo!
Exodus 2:11 – One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people.
Notice it started with what he saw.
For years I’ve said that vision is seeing what could and should be.
It shouldn’t be this way, something needs to change!
A journey demands our attention and engagement;
Vision is an essential means for focusing attention on what matters most.
To give a vision our full engagement it has to be rooted in your past. It has to address the future. And it has to deal with today’s realities. If the vision doesn’t represent your values, who you are and what you stand for, it will be hard for you to have sustained movement towards seeing it achieved.
Do you remember your moment of “it shouldn’t be this way” in your life or your organization? What needed to change?
That vision is essential for focusing your attention on what matters most.
But notice where Moses’ attention went:
Exodus 2:12– Looking this way and that and seeing no one
Moses begins to worry.
How worried were you about what other people would think if you brought about the change you just described?
Then we read that Moses saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. Moses knew it shouldn’t be this way, it “welled up” a passion in him that he couldn’t control. That passion led him to do something that he was not authorized to do.
He killed the Egyptian
Moses’ motivation may have been right, but his actions were wrong. He didn’t stop and give the vision the attention and engagement it deserved…he wanted a quick fix. His passion and zeal for “what could and should be” was greater than his discipline and self-control.
Often we as leaders can fall prey to using our holy discontent to take actions we regret and later attempt to hide. Are there examples from your leadership of actions you took that you now regret?
God calls us not to take hasty action but to wait patiently for his timing. If your vision is significant it is going to take more than a moment to see if fulfilled. The question to ask yourself in the waiting is this: Do you have the skills and character right now to see the vision fulfilled? If you don’t then refusing to wait on God’s timing for your call will only make things worse.
In the case of Moses his hasty actions ultimately caused him to have to leave Egypt for years.He went from being the prince of Egypt with a vision of a better future to a “nobody” herding sheep in the middle of nowhere. Can you imagine the questions, the doubts, and the humility that was thrust upon him?
he goal of “the wilderness” is to sift us, to reduce us, and to strip us down to…
Deuteronomy 8:2 Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.
We asked this question of you earlier:
If your vision is significant do you have the leadership skills and character to see it achieved?
The wilderness is often the place God works to strengthen our skills, our character and our resolve to fulfill His vision.
A wilderness experience is the greatest gift a potential leader can be given.
The wilderness is often a place to practice, to be prepared.
Exodus 2:16-17 Now a priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came to draw water and fill the troughs to water their father’s flock. Some shepherds came along and drove them away, but Moses got up and came to their rescue and watered their flock.
Before Moses could rescue and lead 600,000 he was given a chance to practice it with 7 women.
I’ve dealt with so many leaders who “jumped over” or “rushed out” of their Midian opportunity because it didn’t seem significant.
Zechariah 4:10- “Who dares despise the day of small things
We despise small things, often because we think we are above them!
In Egypt he was educated in principles; in Midian he was able to put them into practice. Egypt could instruct; Midian could develop and refine him.
God used Midian to prepare Moses to know what life was like in the desert, which would come in handy since he would spend the next 40 years wandering around there.
God was preparing Moses to be a leader/shepherd of men, so for forty years he got to practice by leading sheep. Forty years of leading sheep in the Sinai area, think of the knowledge he gained which would later be useful as he led the nation of Israel in that same wilderness.
The long years he would spend in the desert were not wasted years; they were a time of maturity and reflection. He needed the discipline of physical toil and the lessons the life of a shepherd conveys.
God was preparing him to be the kind of person who could deal with the impatience and bellyaching of a newly liberated people. He was preparing him to be someone who knew what it was like to depend on the work of God and walk deeply with Him. He was working to give Moses the courage to walk into the court of the most powerful man in the known world and say “Let my people go.”
He was becoming a leader, and he thought he was just herding sheep.
What’s been your desert experience? How has that formed you into the leader you are today?