Uncertainty, doubt, and clouds of confusion increase when left in the shadows.
Such toxic emotions can shrivel our souls and cripple our leadership capacity if they are not brought into the light. Certainly, getting our hearts naked before God in prayer is one way to do this. Another is to confess them to trusted confidants.
There Are Times I Don’t Know What Do.
Today, I am choosing to trust you with the naked truth. There are times in my leadership that I simply do not know what to do or how to do it.
Taking the helm of Kingdom Way Ministries was one of those times. To do so, I had to leave the people and ministry that I loved. I had served for over 20 years as a Pastor. Pastoring was all I had ever known. It was all I had felt called to do.
About the only thing that was clear to me at that time was that God was calling me to take the heart, skills, and experiences He had crafted in me during those years and use them in a new way. My role would be focused on encouraging and equipping Christian leaders, both in the church and in the marketplace. But I had no clue how to go about doing it.
Since then, many of the clouds that seemed to obscure the clarity I craved have lifted. Yet there are still those days when I’m desperate for more.
What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do?
One such day was at a recent conference I attended. I have attended this particular conference for at least 8 years. Each time, God has spoken to me in palpable ways: enlarging my vision, increasing my passion, and granting me greater clarity in regards to future ministry direction.
I participated again this year, expecting and desperately needing more of the same. I went with an open heart to heart, and I asked Him to speak.
More than half way through the conference, I still had not received the break through communications from heaven that I had longed for. As I stilled my heart before God and sought to sweep out anything that would distract me from hearing, I asked, “Lord, what is it that you want me to hear? Please grant me greater clarity for what You are calling me to do.”
As I waited in silence, this is what I heard Him whispering into my heart…
“Just trust me and do the next thing.”
Is That All You Got?
That’s what I asked too! In return, His quiet answer to my soul was, “Yes, when you have done all that you can to seek me and my will; and when you have listened to godly counsel, yet still don’t know exactly what to do or how to do it, just trust Me and do the next thing. This is pleases Me and is being faithful to My calling for you.”
In response, I said, “All right Lord, just help my heart and emotions to be okay with that!” From there, He helped me to identify what those next things were, and I’m seeking to be faithful. Every time I have done so in the past, God has ALWAYS given me the clarity I needed to fulfill the assignments He’s entrusted me with!
An Unpopular Message.
Among the plethora of today’s leadership teachings, this is an unpopular message. In multiple ways, we are taught to think…
- That leaders should know exactly what to do, when to do it, and who to do it with.
- That leaders are supposed to be problem solvers–the ones with answers, not questions.
- That leaders should be able to confidently and clearly communicate all these things (and much more) at a moment’s notice.
My intention in this post is to expose the darkness of these myths. They are not always true. There is only one leader who can meet that criteria all the time: JESUS! As fallible human beings, uncertainty is a permanent piece of the Mosaic of our lives and leadership.
In fact, I believe that with increased responsibility comes even greater uncertainty. By trusting God and other close friends, counselors or colleagues with these feelings of uncertainty, we can liberate ourselves from false expectations, guilt and needless shame.
As Andy Stanley says, in his book, The Next Generation Leader:
“Don’t pretend. You are not a leader because you know everything. Omniscience is not a prerequisite. But confidence is. Express your uncertainty with confidence. When you do, you will instill confidence in those who have chosen to follow.”
Doing the next thing when you don’t know what to do.
- Take a look at a biblical example of a great leader who modeled what to do when he didn’t know what to do. (2 Chronicles 20:10-29)
- What kinds of uncertainties, doubts, and confusing times are you experiencing in your service / leadership for Christ right now? Have you told God about them? Is there anyone else God is leading you to share these feelings with?
- What is the “next thing” you know God wants you to do? Should it include seeking out some godly counsel, coaching or feedback?
I would love to hear any thoughts or questions you have in response!