I sat across from my friend, Maggie, wondering where my attitude had gone wrong. She was a new Christian, and as she shared God’s work in her life, she bubbled over with joy. Her enthusiasm seemed to put my weariness under a microscope. At the end of our time together, we shared prayer requests. I hesitated to be vulnerable because I didn’t want to squash her zeal. Finally, I decided to confess.
“Maggie, I wish I felt the same way you do,” I said. “I’m spending time with God as I prepare to teach. I’m praying for the women around me. I’m doing His work, but I’m slap worn out. There’s no joy, and this leadership thing just doesn’t seem worth it.”
From Effective to Perfectionistic
As a leader, I’ll bet you’re wired a lot like me. You’re probably highly organized, extremely motivated, and energetic. Those are great characteristics, but the downside of those traits is perfectionism. We work. We say “yes” to everything. We sweat the details. We don’t want to burden anyone else, so we do it ourselves. Before long, we’ve fallen into the pit of perfection.
It’s so easy to cross the line from being an effective leader to being a perfectionistic leader. Although the boundary is thin, I start to realize I’ve crossed the line and fallen into the pit when the details are never quite right. When nobody else can do it as well as I can. When others become obstacles. When I’m constantly grabbing the reigns. When I feel unappreciated. That’s when exhaustion sets in and leadership just doesn’t seem worth it anymore. How do we get to this place where our good intentions have twisted into bad attitude?
That day with Maggie, she nailed the problem. My spiritually young but wise friend looked at me and asked, “When was the last time you spent time with God to just enjoy him?”
In our drive to do all for an audience of One, it’s easy to neglect time with the One we love.
Instead of spending time with God simply for the pleasure of knowing Him, I had only been seeking Him for the perfect completion of my projects. When we’re living in the loving, deep relationship God desires with us, leadership will have joy amidst all the challenges. It’s only when we default to our own works and perfection that we lose the power of God’s perfecting work in our ministry.
Sister in leadership, I want to encourage you today. You weren’t created to be a ministry machine, so kiss perfection good-bye and embrace the joy God has in store for you!
Share in the Comments: How does this tip resonate with you?
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