Give Yourself Grace

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Michelle Garland

Michelle Garland currently serves as the North Texas District Kids Director. Before relocating to the Dallas area, she previously served in Kids/Family Ministry for over 12 years in AZ. Michelle’s passionate about the next generation, and about equipping, challenging, and growing the leaders called to serve them .

Leadership can be tricky. Most of us have an idea of what we want our leadership to look like. We have read the books that challenge us, followed the blogs that inspire us, listened to podcasts that grow us, and experienced countless leaders pouring into us over the years.  

Maybe our leadership looks like those that have mirrored it for us. Or maybe we have found our own leadership stride to pursue. Either way - here is the reality. Sometimes we lead well, really well. We are in constant communication with God and the right systems and processes are in place, and everything is going according to plan.  Other times…well, other times we don’t lead so well. Maybe we’re tired. Maybe our team isn’t the “dream team” we desire. Maybe we just got stuck in the rut of programs and systems, that we have lost sight of the leader God has asked us to be. We can’t remember what the original goal was, and what He has called us to do. Maybe we have searched for an excuse about why things are not going well, or blamed others for the reason things are not thriving, and as a result we end up just accepting our leadership as being what it is.  

The challenge is this: don’t stay there. Don’t stay in that place of burnout, excuses, exhaustion, and mediocre leadership. You will end up not leading the way God intended for you to lead. Your ministry will suffer. The teams you lead will suffer, and your calling will not be as fulfilling as it once was. Jesus desires so much more for you, and those you lead need so much more from you.  

But what happens if you find yourself in that place - where you feel like your leadership isn’t currently where it needs to be? How can we get back to when things were going the way we desired? It might seem challenging at first, but it’s really pretty simple.  

When people pursue you as a leader for the same advice, what would you say to them? How would you encourage them to be the leader that God would want them to be? I don’t know about you, but I would tell them, “Give yourself grace.” I would remind them that they’re human. That being a leader doesn’t make them perfect, or having to be better than anyone else (although, those are the expectations we often place on ourselves).  

Being a good leader means being real and authentic, and sometimes that means we don’t always hit the target. Being a good leader means being willing to admit when we have missed the mark, and asking for grace to get back to where we need to be. It takes humility. Many times, admitting we’re not where we should be will be the first step in the right direction.  

As we lead, I think the most important thing for us to remember is that Jesus doesn’t expect our perfection, He desires our obedience. Give grace to yourself. Receive grace like you would want others to.  Ask Christ to help you return to the type of leader He called you to be when you heard His call the first time. 

Leadership definitely takes intentionality. It’s not easy, it’s not always pretty. It takes tough decisions and hard conversations that are not always fun. It takes callused knees from prayer, countless minutes and hours spent diving deeper in God’s word, and consciously engaging in activities that would challenge us to grow. Leadership takes work.  

Thankfully, we’re not designed to lead on our own. Christ’s desire is that we would lead THROUGH Him. That the Holy Spirit would guide us. That our words, actions, and ministries would bring Him glory.  When we are completely dependent on Him, our leadership will be solid.  

God, our desire is to be the kind of leader that you want us to be. But we can’t do it on our own. We shouldn't do it on our own. Help us, guide us, mold us, grow us, and lead us. Be the center of our ministries, and our leadership, and we’ll be quick to give you all the glory. Amen.