With leadership comes discouragement.
In fact, let me be so bold as to say that if you never experience times of discouragement, you most likely are not taking many risks. Or you don’t care that much. But if you don’t care, you most likely are not reading this blog.
Discouragement is just part of leading.
You will hit walls when you don’t know what to do. Your group will go through times that make you want to give up. People will disappoint you. And you will disappoint yourself.
What do you do with this?
Let me suggest a few things that I’ve learned about discouragement through the years of leading.
First, beware of the temptation to ignore the reality of what you are facing.
Avoid the tendency to ignore your discouragement. Some will tell you to have faith, to get back in touch with the vision, to claim God’s promises and to act as if there is not a problem. When we do this, we are not dealing with reality. God knows where you are on the journey and wants to meet you in your discouragement.
Second, learn to be honest about what you are discouraged about.
Really honest. Take it to God. Share it with a friend, a pastor or a coach. God’s leaders are “wounded healers” and you don’t have to pretend to be more than you are.
In the midst of this honesty, the third step is to ask God what he wants to do in you.
The situation that is causing your discouragement is not a problem to be fixed. It’s an opportunity for you to meet God in a new way. What is God saying to you in the midst of the discouragement?
The fourth action may the hardest: wait.
Be still. Make room in your life for the Spirit to transform you. Every time discouragement has hit me, my natural tendency is to get over it and get back to doing what I know to do. But when I finally wise up and slow down, I sense God working deep within my soul in a new way.
Fifth, act in faith.
Grab the vision. Walk in hope of a new future. Claim God’s promises. Fight. But know this. You will fight in a different way because you have pressed through the discouragement.