Lead in spite of, because God's got your back

As a leader, don't you wish that people liked you and respected your every move? I mean, how easy would it be for you if every decision that you made was greeted with applause and compliance? That would be awesome and spare you a few gray hairs and stomach ulcers! But if that were the case - if everyone that you led was okay with where you were leading them - then you would be called a tour guide or entertainment specialist, not leader.

The very definition of being a leader implies that you have to navigate people over difficult terrain because, if left up to their own, those under your direction would wander aimlessly. And these people that you lead will sometimes push back against your vision and decisions, which makes it all the more challenging to lead them.

Let's face it, being a leader is hard. You are never going to be the most popular person in the room and your every move will be second guessed by a number of people. As a result, it is up to you how you choose to deal with opposition. You can initially choose to react in a manner that matches how you feel inside. Usually, this will be akin to molten lava spewing down a mountain toward an unsuspecting village. While this may feel the best at the time, we all know that this is pretty much always counterproductive an disastrous. Those that bear your wrath will never truly follow you.

A second and more God-honoring and wise - yet incredibly difficult - response is to lead in spite of. This means that in sticking with your vision and your strategy you continue to lead with grace in spite of naysayers. If you want a practical application of what this looks like, then read up on the lives of Moses, King David, Daniel, Paul, oh and Jesus, too. These men faced much opposition in their life and ministry, yet they led in spite of it. And they did so because God had entrusted them with leadership and their vision and dreams were not simply their own. 

King David actually put his thoughts and hurts into words when it came to leading in the midst of those who wished him nothing but disaster:
"You Yourself have recorded my wanderings. Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not on Your records? Then my enemies will retreat on the day when I call. This I know: God is for me."  (Psalm 56:8-9)
That last phrase should bring great comfort to all of us: God is for us. He knows all the junk that we go through, He is intimately aware of every struggle that we encounter, and He's tuned in to all the mind-numbing opposition that we face. He has "recorded my wanderings" and "put my tears in (His) bottle", which means that there is nothing that we endure alone. He is with us. He is for us.

So when you struggle and strive and to lead in spite of, and it seems like no one else in the room is on the same page, rest in the fact that God is for you. Mom and dad, God is for you when you have to make difficult decisions regarding your children. Business man and woman, God has your back when your co-workers are taking short-cuts while claiming the glory. Student, God has not forgotten you when other kids at school mock you for your faith and for taking your studies seriously.

And if God is for us, who can be against us?

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