In this series we’ve been talking about what it looks like to lead in today’s culture. We first said we need to check our own hearts. Then we looked at the need to live out of and lead people within the correct narrative.
Today before we go further out so to speak, I want to talk about going further in.
What I mean is that along with the first battle, the one in our heart, we need to make sure that we fight for those right around us. We need to make sure we take care of the home front so to speak.
The reality is that you are your own first responder. This is true in general of course. For example if there is a medical emergency you are going to respond before the ambulance gets there. If someone breaks into your home you will need to respond long before the police arrive. Do you have a plan? This is true for every area of life.
This starts with some honest evaluation. How are we doing spiritually, emotionally, physically and fiscally?
Am I growing in Christ? Am I in a holy rhythm? Am I actually submitting my desires and life to Jesus? How am I doing emotionally? Am I mentally healthy? Are there things that I need to work through? How am I physically? What kind of shape am I in? (Yes this matters for various reasons and I’ll have a post on just this soon). Are my finances in order? Could I make it a few months if I lost my job? How much am I leveraged? Do I have a budget? A long term plan?
If I’m married – am I providing leadership and financially for my family. (If you are a single man, please read this post about money when you aren’t married). Am I leading in the education of my own children? Get this: It is not the state’s job to educate your kids. You can send them to public school if you want. But you are responsible for the education of you child. You are the their first and main teacher. You set the standards and worldview. You may have to basically do combat in order to fight for a Christian worldview. You may need to study more yourself in order to teach them. You must lead here. Save your family before you try to save the world. They are your first and main disciples. There is perhaps no way to overstate this.
Do I have an emergency plan? I’m not saying be a “prepper” but do you have a plan? Remember again you are your own first responder. How will I protect myself and my family?
The reason these things matter is that if I’m going to lead, and I don’t have these things in order, it’s going to come back to bite me. Or at least it sure could. It doesn’t mean we have to have it all figured out perfectly or live error free. That’s not even sort of realistic. However, we need to handle our business so that we can be more free to lead out in the world.
How do we go about this?
First we need to be honest. We need to stop lying to ourselves. Stop rationalizing. Stop making excuses. Admit where we are coming up short. Take a step to do something about it. Then take another step. Again, we don’t have to be perfect – but we need to be striving forward.
Sometimes being honest means admitting that I need some help or that I’m actually pretty ignorant in a vital area. That’s not always such a bad thing. But what’s bad is pretending that it’s not there. If you don’t know how to handle your money very well get some help. If you don’t know the scriptures well, read them. Study. Dive in.
If you have some emotional issues, just own that. Maybe see a counselor. Maybe find a mentor or spiritual director of some kind. Get some help. Find out why you always get too mad in a certain situation. Pray for God’s help. Ask Him to show you your wounds and heal them.
Again, you don’t have to fix it all first. But be self aware and honest. Do not beat yourself up. That is a colossal waste of time. Believe me I know.
The next step often is to learn more. We need to be educated. We need more than slogans and “help you sleep at night” theology. We need to read. Books, not just online. And not self help. Read history. Read theology. Read sociology. Read long form articles instead of click bait ones. Read dead people. Understand reason and truth. Soak those in. Work to become a learned man.
Don’t try to rush the field all at once. Take practical steps based on priority. Do one right thing. Improve one area of your life. Some of us could start with something like making our bed. Create order around you in at least some small way.
Pick up one spiritual discipline. Read something everyday for example. Do something right and then when you sort of have that down do the next right thing. Pick up one skill. Then pick up one more. You get the idea. It actually will compound quicker than you think.
You can do this and lead at the same time. But the point is the number one thing in life you can change is you and yours. So make sure you are doing that before you start trying to change everything else.