Leadership in a Culture of Cowardice (part five)

The self-defined leader chooses to interpret “crises” as precious opportunities to be developed to maturity in Christ and to develop mature disciples around her.

Friedman is clear: the leader’s capacity to contain her own reactivity to the trepidation of others, to avoid becoming polarized, and to self-regulate while staying connected to those who behave as if in distress is key to both the leader’s differentiation and to catalyzing maturity in the culture.

Think this through, Christian leader:

  1. How are you growing in governing your own emotional reactivity? Ask your spouse, your kids, your staff and elders: what evidence do they see of your growth in controlling your reactions when those around you are out-of-control themselves?
  2. When individuals or groups are locked in opposition, are you becoming better at “getting altitude”, above the fray, and remaining curious? Are you getting better at living in the tension, without knee-jerking yourself to one side or the other, primarily to exit the anxiety of the issue being, as yet, unresolved?
  3. When you react with frustration and anger to the low-tolerance frustration and antagonism of the immature in your ministry context, you’ve put yourself in exactly the same soup! The key is to manage yourself when in conflict and to stay in relationship with those who prefer to attack, blame, and remain irresponsible for their own being and destiny.

I am in such a situation right now. Attacked and maligned by someone who believes they’ve been harmed by me, it’s been crucially important to govern my own emotional reactivity, and, as best I can, and keep communication open. I continually get to remind myself about who I am in Christ, and that my destiny and well-being rests securely in God’s hands—as it is has my entire lifet.

Non-anxious.

19 togethernessIt takes stamina to continually define oneself to those who lack self-regulation. Sadly, that kind of stamina is not developed within a culture of cowardice.

That kind of stamina is not promoted in an education system that presses for togetherness over against the self-differentiation that is natural when honest competition and healthy individuation is endorsed.

Friedman noted almost twenty years ago that most of us are leading chronically anxious emotional dwarfs.

Too often, our churches have become hideouts for the immature.

Sad.

We could be the most powerful, clear, selfless, and confident people on the planet.

God-defined people with a non-anxious presence.