I have often believed that Leadership is not for sissies. As a matter of fact even the strongest most effective leaders will have their moments of shaking in their boots at a certain point with the challenges that lie before them. In my own life, leadership is one of areas that has challenged me and caused me to grow the most.
In Joshua 1 we see the call of Joshua to lead the people of Israel after the death of Moses. As you read the narrative there are several striking observations. Joshua 1:6 says “Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them.“ The call to be “strong and courageous” is repeated two more times, once in verse 2 and a third time in verse 9.
Why did God instruct Joshua to be strong and courageous? Probably because he knew there would be many challenges in taking the land and some of them would strike fear in the heart of Joshua. As Joshua lead the nation to take possession of the land and root out its giants I am convinced there were many things to be afraid of for Joshua. But Joshua found courage in God’s command to him and moved forward in obedience to what he had been called to accomplish.
It has been said that courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to move ahead in spite of fear. I like that because it puts a very human face on courage, and brings it within my grasp. One of the ways I find courage when I am facing a leadership challenge is what I call the rearview mirror. It seems in my ministry life the challenges continue to grow bigger and more complex. When I am facing a new giant that needs to be slain and I find myself afraid, I have found my courage in the rearview mirror.
What is the rearview mirror? It is a spiritual analogy that I have found very helpful. When the road ahead is dark and cloaked in fog, your headlights reflecting back and making it even harder to see, look in the rearview mirror, the mirror of God’s faithfulness through out your life and ministry. When I lack courage (the ability to move ahead in spite of my fears), I look back at all of the times in the past where God has been faithful, where he has provided a solution or a resource and my faith is bolstered. Looking in the rearview mirror is where I often find the “courage” to move ahead with God’s Call and lead His people.
If you find yourself in a leadership challenge and needing courage, take a look in the rearview mirror.
“All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Pastor Rick Dunn
Chief Strategy Officer