The Blog of Chris McAlister
For kids it’s the same as adults.
We can experience security in our identity. But struggles in our mission and our relationships will grow us. (Being able to separate these concepts as we process life is fundamental to healthy development.)
I don’t want my kids to struggle in relationship to me and knowing who they are.
But their struggles in athletics, hobbies, friendships, and school will grow them.
I don’t need to protect my kids from struggle in mission and relationships.
Leadership is caught more than it’s taught.
As you build a team of people to make the climb you will have to consistently give encouragement, energy, and motivation to them.
The way you encourage, energize, and motivate may look differently from how I do it. Let the inspiration flow through you to others.
And at this point much of leadership training stops. And that really sucks.
Because while what I just said is true…it’s the fruit of your leadership.
The root of your leadership is consistently positioning yourself to be inspired. At the end of the day your greatest responsibility is to engage your team with a full and overflowing heart.
Learning to inspire yourself is a critical skill to truly be a leader of leaders or build a team.
Pay attention to activities or exchanges that can give you a quick shot of energy or fast recharge.
Attempt to do something at least once a week that is more of a slow recharge.
What would your team catch from you? Passion, initiative, and inspiration OR….
When you’re building a team most of the resistance you will face will work against you bringing your whole heart or full engagement to the enterprise.
At the core of bringing full engagement is a lie: YOU ARE NOT ENOUGH.
And when you believe you aren’t enough you will be tempted to passively resign or aggressively prove which will block the FLOW OF OVERFLOWING YOUR LEADERSHIP OUT OF WHO YOU ARE.
The true you, in Jesus, has all you need to engage leading your team even when you don’t have the answers or feel a little off rhythm. (Scripture says you have been given everything you need for life and godliness.)
I’m sharing this with you because I believe it is easy to believe something false about yourself. We all struggle the same in principle even if the application of the struggle looks different.
Driving home after speaking one Sunday I said to the Lord, “I feel like that was complete crap. What do you want to say to me?” And while I would have loved to hear, “Chris you smoked it bro. Walk into the house knowing you killed it!” Instead I heard the gentle whisper, “Trust me.” That is really the core. I trust. I trust God used it. I trust I should keep climbing. I trust I am enough.
Climb and build. You are enough. Don’t passively resign today or aggressively prove.
I want to be your friend.
But for some I might feel like your enemy.
I have a burden…for you. I know you can experience healing on the run. So many that write about living from a place of internal security are cloistered away in a monastery or don’t face the demands of providing for a young family.
Everything I have learned about living from a secure identity has been in the midst of the demands of providing for and raising a young family.
And I’m aiming to paint such a clear picture of leading from a secure identity that when leaders are leading from an insecure place others will know it. It’s not my aim to make leadership harder on you but easier. And when you learn to lead from the overflow of who you are EVERYTHING about your leadership changes.
So for all of you leaders that want to stay broken consider this an advance apology.
I’m doing all I can so you can no longer…
- Send your team members home in a funk because of dysfunctional leadership
- Emphasize the fruit of excellence and ignore the root of learning to relax in God’s love
- Jerk the organization into your newest idea as you hype yourself that this new thing is way to do it
- Power up and shame team members into adjusting to your dysfunction
But if you learn how to experience the security of your identity then you’ll be able to…
- Lead without faking it even when you don’t have the answers
- No longer feel like a fraud
- Honestly process your doubts and fears with Jesus modeling for others an authentic spirituality in Jesus
- Attract a healthy team who help you enjoy the pursuit of the mission as much if not more than the destination
I’m zeroed in…you with me?
Guest post from Bret:
“What happens when the most important part of a man’s identity, the beam supporting the other
unstable matter, is no longer there?”
This question was asked by a journalist profiling a once-prominent professional basketball player who
is struggling to come to grips with post-retirement life. At the peak of his career this athlete set the
cultural standard for the next generation of basketball stars. The unstable nature of his character was
well-documented, but as long as he produced on the court, basketball would support him; the trusty
beam holding up the unstable matter.
But, as the journalist insightfully asked, what happens when the beam is no longer there?
You are unstable matter. You alone cannot stand. Invariably, you will lean on something to define your
place in this world. The thing around which you center your identity will become the foundation of your
life. What happens when the rug is pulled out from under you, when the beam is no longer there?
1. In an abrupt sweep, the foundation is whisked from beneath your feet. You crash and burn, left
to pick up the pieces, searching for answers and something to help you back up.
2. You feel the foundation start to crack. You panic, scrambling for the next foothold or plugging
holes for a short-term solution. If you can just buy a little more time things will straighten out.
There is a third option. You can center your identity around a beam that is forever stable; one that
will never leave you nor forsake you; one that will continue to hold you up as you move in and out of
different roles and through the changing seasons of life.
God is the only being that can stand alone, simply as “I AM.” Everyone else centers on something else. “I
am God’s worthy son/daughter,” is the best option.
What beam is holding you up? If you aren’t sure, take an account of all the things you consider
important. Now consider what would happen if each of those was whisked away like a rug out from
under your feet. What would happen to you? Would you panic? Would you crash and burn?
The thing around which you center your identity becomes the foundation of your life. Lean against a
beam that is forever stable. Center yourself around the only I AM.
Shame won’t help you transform into wholeness.
Church can be a delivery system for truth. And…
A church might help you learn who you are and who God is.
Often a church will promote acceptance through proper behavior.
A church might celebrate the uniqueness of your mission.
Often a church will only celebrate building a machine with robots in their appointed roles.
A church might be a safe place to doubt and struggle.
Often a church will reinforce hiding by emphasizing perfection of the journey over direction.
There are a lot of great churches out there.
And sometimes you have to leave church to find faith.
But don’t give up on the journey. There’s too much potential discovery ahead of you. Who you are and who God is can become very clear in your life.
Too many are “being” discipled into “doing” dysfunctional.
There’s a trend that has developed that actually works against building a healthy identity.
That trend is to tell men, “The answer to your fear/insecurity is to produce. You won’t feel secure unless you are producing.”
This attempt to pressure adulthood onto those who linger in adolescence will not work in the long term.
The long term answer is to help them know who they are right now. Help them learn how God builds their identity in the midst of shame and fear.