In my experience in ministering to and coaching the high school age group so far, I’ve noticed that their leadership potential can be paralyzed via one common belief: “I can’t.”
Even little things like trying a new ball handling drill. If the athlete has experienced failure with a similar drill or with that hand, she can often respond with the classic, “I can’t.”
Now, of course there are other negative beliefs that can paralyze high school kids and yes, that challenge isn’t just in high school kids. As adults, we can either hide it better or learn to grow from it.
The “I can’t” can stem from a lot of things, but what I’ll focus on here is the idea that “I can’t because of my failures of the past.”
The sad irony of this is that God embraces our brokenness from our failures before Him because of our humility. In the Bible, there are almost countless examples of tremendous leaders who influentially followed God and brought others to Him who had done some pretty messed up stuff.
Take for example, Peter. This past Saturday, with our 30+ Central New York athlete leaders coming together over BBQ, bubble ball competitions (hints the sweet picture here), and a Building Trust training discussion, we took some time to talk about Peter.
Peter was that disciple who had a lot of love and passion for this guy he followed around for 3 years, Jesus Christ. His passion in my opinion was his greatest strength and his greatest weakness. The passion was seen by the disappointment and despair he felt when he was watching his Lord taken to be put to death. Peter’s dream for Jesus to reign on Earth with them was being demolished right before his eyes. And although Peter passionately urged Jesus he would never deny Him, he did so in Jesus’ darkest hour (three times to be exact). See Matthew 26 for more.
That’s just one example of Peter’s failures. Of course there’s the losing his faith while he was walking on the water to Jesus, arrogantly (I think) requesting to stay with Jesus and Moses and Elijah on the mountaintop, falling asleep the night of Jesus’ darkest hour when Jesus asked him to pray, etc. But Peter amazingly didn’t wallow in self-pity in a corner after all of that. He ended up becoming one of the forerunners of the early Church and did incredible things for God and people. For me, I think I know a lot of The Why.
The humility he had from his failures allowed him to yearn for and receive Christ’s love and forgiveness for him. This caused Peter to be transformed and crazy excited to follow Him and bring His love as far and wide and deep as he could. He ended up being killed for his beliefs and fought to the end of his life.
So, as leaders, our motivation to lead and love comes from the grace, love, and forgiveness we continue to receive from God. Not only despite our failures, but through our failures God gives us the love and strength to be leaders for good. For peace. For His Kingdom to be more on Earth as it is in Heaven today.
So, make it a great Monday!
P.S. For a deeper overview of God’s grace and love to and through Peter, check out this podcast.