Emotionally unhealthy characteristics: Which type are you?

The journey to emotional health can be challenging. Each of us suffer from things that need to be healed. It is nothing to be ashamed off. It is something to recognize and overcome.

In this post I am going to quickly chronicle the types of traits that people have that indicate an unhealthy emotional foundation. You will notice that you may have traits in several categories. I think the more traits you see the more emotional damage you may have. It doesn’t necessarily indicate deep emotional damage, but it can point the way to a deep seated damage that is in your subconscious.

Remember this is just what is SHOWN and not the ROOT cause. As we delve deeper into our emotional health series we will start to talk about root causes and how to overcome them!

Also remember that God doesn’t condemn so we shouldn’t either.

Romans 8:1 says this, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”   If you belong to Jesus there is no more condemnation for you. The Holy Spirit will convict you, but He will not condemn you. Only the devil condemns…

Just for fun I gave the traits relatable names.  They are gender neutral, and not meant to be leaning to one side or the other. These are only meant to show the types of ways we deal with emotional damage.

Also, when you go through these please resist the “Oh that is so and so…” thoughts. Use these as a self reflective model to determine where you are in your emotional journey.

The Tough Guy: This reminds me of all the old New Yorker mobster movies. You know the ones. Everyone would go around and hurt people and then chest bump as if they were on top of the world. Throughout the entire movie they were continually hurting people. They either they ignore the real problem or they don’t want to admit that they have a problem. To admit there is a problem is a weakness to them. You will never see vulnerability from these guys. They are too tough for that. So they will continually hurt people, and act as if they are just fine.

The Hero: This is perfectly seen in the movie The Incredibles. It is a story about Mr. Incredible. He has to be the savior. He has to be the Hero. He desperately needs people to look at him as someone who made a difference. However, he is closed off emotionally. He does not want people to see how weak he really is. The entire movie he pushes everyone important to him away. His excuse? “I have to be strong.” The whole movie he uses his savior complex to hide the fact that he is truly a messed up individual.

The Exploder: Some people are a bomb waiting for a place to go off. You know the type. If they feel threatened, attacked, or in anyway backed in a corner they will go on the offensive. The Exploder is someone who will use their offensive ways to defend. If you bring anything up they go into a verbal assault. The exploder will often hide what they truly feel until they explode then you will discover EXACTLY how they truly feel about you. Often times this damages relationships to a point of being unrepairable.

The Brooder:  Sits around and thinks all the time, but does nothing about it. If they get hurt they brood on it, but never want to talk about it. They will hide their true hurts and feelings deep down were no one can see them. The whole time they will continually brood on the issue, justify their actions while condemning yours, and then secretly become overly critical and judgmental. Often times lacking the courage to speak about the hurts that they have.

The Gossip: Did you ever hear the one about the person who…. The gossip will talk to everyone else about you, but never actually talk to you about the issue. The gossip needs to talk about the issues, but the problem with this is that they are not talking to the right people. Deep inside the gossip is a need to feel superior to the person who hurt them. They use their words to tear another down, and make themselves look like the victim. This produces a sense of justification for their gossip. Over the years I have noticed that those who yell about others being gossips are often the biggest gossips.

The Deflector: It is always someone else’s fault. It is never their fault. To take personal responsibility is hard for this type of person. To admit responsibility is to admit weakness and vulnerability. I have also noticed that many who show this type of personality often times deflect everything and anything that approaches their emotional base. They don’t want to talk about anything, because they feel it makes them vulnerable. The deflector avoids vulnerability at all costs.

The Overly Needy: When an individual needs you to the point that they are utterly dependent on you it creates a problem. If you are overly needy it is generally because you feel that your needs were rarely (if ever met) in the course of your life. The overly needy attach themselves to certain people in order to gain what they feel that is lacking. The overly needy person will often times become very jealous of others. This happens when another takes time from the person that the overly needy is attached to.

The Isolator: When someone faces conflict they become emotionally and physically unavailable. They withdraw from the world. They do not want to deal with the issue. They want to run from the issue. They cannot emotionally handle situations so they run from everyone. They may stop coming to events. They may not come to fellowship or functions. They withdraw because they do not want to to deal with emotional overwhelmingness of life.

The Control Freak: They need to exert control in every situation. They truest form of the micromanager. Every aspect of their life must be under their control. They often are very outspoken people who show little to no compassion for others. Their lives have been in such chaos that they need to bring their perception of order to their lives. The control freak struggle just participating. They justify it by saying they are wired to lead, but truth be told they don’t like to be told what to do. They also have a hard time trusting others. So to allow others to be in control is difficult for them.

There are more then these, but I wanted to leave it to a smaller list.

Each of us struggle. Each of us have emotional damage. Each of us deal with a level of unhealthiness. Our job is to recognize them, put them before the Lord, seek counseling, and strive to be the healthiest version of you!!

May your journey to health be filled with victories!

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Health for the hurting.

Dysfunctional is the new normal. Years ago being “dysfunctional” or coming from a “dysfunctional” home was not really the social norm. Now a days being dysfunctional is normal.  It is not unusual to hear another’s story that includes abuse, broken families, or a slew of other childhood baggage.

Ignoring our pain has also become normal.  We all have it. Pain that is.  It is deep in our core. It is lurking around our deepest memories waiting to show it’s ugly head. Instead of working through it we have ignored it.  We have convinced ourselves that we are over a certain pain or situation. However, every time certain situations occur we find out very quickly that thing we convinced ourselves that we were over was only being covered up.

If we are honest with ourselves we would recognize how messed up we really are. Somewhere in our minds we want to truly believe that we are healthy individuals. That our emotions, thoughts, actions, and behaviors all match up in a very positive way. The truth is that they often times do not. We struggle to control our emotions. Our thoughts often times are dark and brooding. So much so that we mask our true thoughts with good actions.

The ravages of sin are apparent. The pain, the hurt, the dead feelings we experience, and the denial of truth. All of it raging in our souls. All of it fighting to overtake us. To make matters worse not only are we fighting our own sin and pain we are also dealing with other peoples pain. We are trying to work through our own junk while others are projecting their junk on us. However, the same can be said of us as well. We project our issues and junk onto others.  In truth, we are damaged and unhealthy in our soul.

We would prefer to cover up our damage instead of finding healing. This is the most heartbreaking news. To hide damage and convince ourselves, and others, that we are really okay, but in reality we are not okay. We need healing in our soul.

Soul Health, also known as emotional health, should be the goal we push towards. To work towards finding healing so that we can operate at the potential that God has placed in us. In reality, if we are not healthy then we will continually sabotage our lives and potential. That has to be one of the hardest things to swallow for me. To know I am full of potential, but I can potentially destroy my ability to obtain it, because of the sickness in my soul.

Emotional health is a word that is used often with no definition. So let me define it for you. Emotional health is not the absence of emotions, but it is your ability to understand the value of your emotions and use them to move your life forward in positive directions. The more emotional health you have, the more self-esteem you have. This means you do not frequently react with knee jerk responses, anxiety or panic to the events that occur in your life.  Instead, you are usually calm and patient with yourself and others. You are an emotionally safe person to be around because you feel emotionally secure.

Emotionally healthy people do not judge or criticize others. This is because they have learned not to judge and criticize themselves. Emotional healthy people are able to erect strong boundaries in their lives and not feel insecure about them.

Emotionally healthy people know the value of relationships and do all they can to grow and maintain them. Emotionally healthy people are able to be vulnerable. Emotionally healthy people are able to maintain emotional security in the face of others unhealthy expressions of their brokenness.

We must push towards emotional health. The greater level of soul health the great our contentment with this life.  The reason many of us are so miserable is because our pain continually drags us down. Let me give you a few things that may help you on your journey towards emotional health.

1. Recognize that you need healing.

The hardest step is admitting that you need help. To admit that we need help is to admit that we are not as whole or as good as we want to believe.  Admitting you need help takes courage (lots of it) and vulnerability. Especially when you realize that everything you are going through is truly caused by your responses. Sure others have a part to play in the issue, but you are the master of your response not them.

Let me give you a word of caution. Sometimes our soul is so damaged that we cannot see that we are the problem.  If the same issues are happening over and over no matter where you are at then you are the problem. Let that sink in. You are the source of the problem. Once we can accept that we can move on with our healing.

What is revealed can be healed. Recognizing your weak spot is the key to your inner healing. Once you are aware of your need for healing then you can get on with your healing. If we don’t come to a place of recognition of our need for healing then we will never find the healing that we need.

2. Accept that God is the only one who can heal us.

Time doesn’t heal all wounds. God heals all wounds. God uses time. However, we must always remember that it is God who heals and not time. I think this is tough for us to grasp. We hope and pray that time will cover and heal, but all time does is gives us distance from the pain. The greater the distance the more we can ignore it.

God wants you healed more then you do. I think we forget this. God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to die for us. In the crucifixion we can understand that healing is involved in God’s plan for salvation. Not only has God given us access to heaven (ultimate healing), but he also wants us to experience healing (inner healing) in this life. God has sacrificed everything for us.  His desire for us is great then we can comprehend. If God was willing to sacrifice Jesus then we have to know that He is willing to do whatever it takes to bring about our healing.

When we take it out of God’s hands we lose the power needed to find healing. So many of us have the “I can do it” attitude. We think that we don’t need anyone. That God is there as a spectator and not a participator. When we live our life from this perspective then we are left powerless and unable to find healing. God is the creator and sustainer of all life. Through Him we can find healing. God is not a spectator and desires to participate in our lives.

3. Recognize that we have a part in our healing.

God is the healer. There is no greater truth. God expects you and I to take responsibility in the healing process. No one else can do it for you. The greater the degree we own our healing the greater the level of healing we can achieve.

God uses different methods. The interesting thing with Jesus is that you couldn’t pin Him down to a method. He had progressive healing, instant healing, and healed through others. There was consistency in healing, but there was no consistency in the method. Sometimes Jesus spit in people’s eyes and other times He just prayed. The method shifted, but the results (healing) was going to happen.

Our response and ownership of God’s methods can enact or deny our healing. We are naturally rebellious. We don’t want to do anything we haven’t deemed adequate.  We see this best in the story of Naaman. He went to the prophet Elisha with a contagious skin disorder.  Elisha told him to wash in a  certain river. Naaman refused, and was not healed. Then Naaman was c convinced to bath in the river. Naaman was healed. When we  obey God’s ways we will find healing. When we ignore God’s ways we will not find healing.

4. Take practical steps towards that healing.

a. Keep a journal.  One of the most therapeutic methods to find healing is journalling. When I journal I do it prayerfully. Armed with an attitude of prayer I can write my pain and allow my words to intersect with God’s Spirit. This simple act can produce powerful results.

b. Reach out to close friends. You can’t do life alone. We all have to have someone to talk to. I am not saying talk to everyone. That would be unwise. I am saying to find 1 or 2 people that you can trust. If you say “I cannot trust anyone” then that statement should be an indication of how unhealthy you are. We all need to trust someone. We are not an island, but a community.  We all need someone.

c. Don’t be afraid to see a counselor. There is this running fear of counselors. They are trained professionals with the tools we need to move forward. We have to get over our fear and realize God uses doctors. Luke, The Bible writer, was a doctor. If Luke was a doctor, and he wrote a Gospel book, what makes you think God won’t use one now? If you are hitting a wall in your healing then I HIGHLY suggest you see a trained professional.

d. Pray.  Continually stay in contact with the ONE who made you. When we stay in contact with the creator then He can lead the created (us) into the path of healing. With every step we make we have to pray. When choosing friends, doctors, or methods of journaling we need to pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Then pray some more.

Over the next several post I am going to chronicle the difference types of emotionally challenged people. I am also going to help define some ways to overcome each type.

I would love your thoughts! Post a comment! Follow us on Social Media!

Blessings

Jim

Are you a problem finder or a problem solver?

Problems are all around us. You don’t have to look hard to find them. When you go to McDonald’s you can quickly experience what poor customer service is like. That is a problem. Every time I go shopping at Walmart I can never find anyone to help me! That is a problem. When I try to play my Playstation 3 and the system goes out. That is a big problem. No matter what context you are in you can find problems all around you. The world is full of problems. You don’t have to look very hard to find them. This poses a question. Are you an individual known for your ability to discover issues, or are you a leader who is known for being a problem solver.

Leaders recognize problems, but focus on solutions. I heard it said once that you will be known by the problems you create and the problems you solve. Leaders are problem solvers. Leaders recognize that there are problems. They don’t waste energy or time hunting for them, but they deal with them as they come up.  The leaders focus is on solving the problem and not just finding them. Why is this important? Because there will ALWAYS be problems. We don’t like hearing that problems will always exist.  However, there are a GREAT number of people who thrive on finding problems. Leaders are a different breed they recognize problems, but focus on solutions.

What separates the leaders from the others is very simple. All the leader’s time and energy goes into the solution and not the discovery. You can waste a lot of time and energy being a problem hunter. You can be effective and impact the lives of people by being a problem solver. If I spent all my energy discovering what’s wrong then I would have no energy left to do anything about it. When I am unwilling to do anything about it people will not be willing to follow me as a leader. People will give you room and space to work on it. People will even be able to accept a change in direction or a refocusing on the issue. People will not be so forgiving if they perceive you don’t care. Problem solvers care about impact. Impact come when my time and focus is on the solution.

Critical people focus on locating what is wrong, and rarely (If ever) mention what is right within the organization. Leading an organization has been an interesting journey. I have had the pleasure to engage with some of the most fascinating people. Their personalities have ranged from dominate to passive, submissive to controlling, constructive to critical, or humble to proud. I have had the pleasure to engage with so many wonderful people. What I have noticed to be true is that the more critical a person is the more problems they seem to find. Rarely will you hear these individuals mention the good things that are happening. The focus is always on what is wrong. If they are jaded in the criticism then they will believe they are right and their idea is the best idea. This can be dangerous. A person who is convinced that they are right will fight hard to make you KNOW that they are right. This person has the potential to cause more problems and make the problems that are present worse than they should be.

To the leader a problem represents a challenge to grow and be innovative. It is easier to be frustrated then it is to be innovative. When things don’t go the way we think they should we become frustrated. Frustration is not always a bad thing. The greatest inventions known to man were invented because people were frustrated with the way things were. A church or an organization that isn’t innovating isn’t experiencing growth.

To the leader a problem isn’t a problem. To the leader problems are challenges to help you get better at what you do. To the leader problems are challenges to push the limits of your creativity. To the leader problems are invitations into doing something new. This should be an exciting time of growth. It can be scary and cause anxiety, but the end results outweigh the initial feelings. Keep pressing.

To the critical individual a problem represents something that has to be fixed by someone else.  I cannot begin to tell you how often I am told that I need to fix the problem. It is assumed that because I am the guy in change that I have to fix every problem or be involved in everything. The truth is as a leader I have to trust those who lead along side of me. If leaders are appointed to places of leadership then they are given a sacred trust that they are competent enough to use wisdom when handling issues.

A critical individual doesn’t see it this way. They see everything that is wrong with a place. They believe that everything that is wrong is the result of someone else. They never believe that they could be part of the problem. This leads them to the conclusion that everyone else has to implement their idea, because the leader isn’t competent enough to do the job.  This is a sad place to be in. This means that there is no real trust. Without trust you cannot truly lead.

You shouldn’t strive to be both. I have had people tell me that they are both a problem solver and a problem finder. I chuckle every time I hear this. I don’t think it works that way. Leaders are discerning enough to notice a problem, but they wise enough not to go looking for them. Leaders work hard to create systems that hopefully take care of problems before they start. Obviously problems arise. However, leaders don’t waste the time or energy looking for everything that is wrong with an organization. If you are someone who is a problem hunter then I would ask you to allow God to check your heart. I am convinced that people who seek out problems are prone to be people who are emotionally unhealthy with a bend towards critical judgmental ways.

Any solution is better than no solution.  You will deal with problems for the rest of your life.  Don’t be discouraged by this. Realize that it is an opportunity to grow. It is an opportunity to shine. Every problem has a solution. Any solution is better than no solution. I would rather have someone come to me with a bad idea instead of no idea. This shows me two things. #1 It shows me that they took the time and effort to think through the issue. #2 It shows me that they may not have the experience or knowledge to overcome the problem, but they gave it what they had! Both reasons supper encourage me. It tells me that the person in front of me WANTS to be a leader. They want to make the organization better. That they had the courage to step out of their comfort zone and try. That is the makings of a leader who desires to be developed. I will give my time freely to people who deeper desire to grow and are teachable.

Strive towards emotional health. This is huge for me. I am someone devoted to being emotionally healthy. For example, If I give some solutions to a problem and the solutions are not taken then I won’t be offended. The best idea wins, and I don’t always have the best idea. I am ok with that. I don’t hold people emotionally hostage if they don’t use my idea. That is being emotional healthy.

This may sound harsh, but people who are prone to be over emotional, critical, easily offended, or judgmental are not fit to lead.  True leadership must come from a place of humility and emotional health.

I don’t expect people to be perfect. I do expect people to push to be healthy. I said in a previous post that Jesus would rather you be healed then lead damaged. That truth still stands. We are all broken people tasked with doing a job that is way too big for us. Thank God we have Him! He guides us, heals us, and helps us reach our potential! Lead well my friends. Lead well.

If you are reading this then there is a strong possibility you are a leader. Strive to be a Problem solver. Your impact in the world will be a whole lot bigger.

The Influence of a Leader….

When we think of leaders our thoughts often drift to the dominate type A eutrapenqorial leader. You know the type. The ones who have the strength of will, competence, and seemingly bottomless pit of courage to move forward. The person who can be offensive, aggressive, and dominate. The person who people naturally follow because of their level of confidence and command for people’s attention. Even though this description fits a lot of leaders it is not the only type of leader. A little more shocking is that being this type of person doesn’t automatically make you a leader. Sometimes being a type A can come off as an overbearing individual that some people try to stay away from.  Leadership isn’t about a type. It is about Influence.

“Leadership is influence. Nothing more and nothing less. The true measure of leadership is influence.” That was a quote shared by John C. Maxwell years ago. At the time I first read this I didn’t really believe it. I thought leadership was more then that. I thought that I needed to be the type A leader to truly be the leader. I am not a strong type A leader, but I am a leader. Over the last few months I have come to a place in my life where I see the truth of how leadership is nothing more and nothing less then influencing another person to follow you.

Influence defined is the ability to have an effect on the development, behavior, or character of another person. Henry Blackaby says, “Leadership influence is moving people off their agenda and onto God’s Agenda.”  That is the heart of any spiritual leader. To influence people in such a positive way that they can leave their own agenda and move onto God’s agenda for their lives.

The currency of influence is trust. The more people trust you the more influence you will have and the more people will allow you to lead them. When you lose influence you lose the right to lead people. If you cannot influence people you will find that you are a leader in name only and not in reality. According to John Maxwell positional leadership is the lowest level of leadership. Sadly, many of our current leaders never make it past this level of leadership. They are continually stuck in this level because of pride or just plain immaturity.

Losing trust is easy. People can forgive a lot of things, but there are a couple things people have trouble overlooking. Especially if they are a regular part of your life. If you are a person who is prone to being critical, judgmental, incompetent, uncaring, demanding, defensive, condescending, and lacks compassion then you are a person who will find it hard to gain influence. You could contain all the above qualities or just some of them. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. If you are a person who comes off as a jerk then your level of leadership will always remain in the lower levels. The only ones you will have any influence with are the ones you are closest with. This can be dangerous. An immature leader can look at their close friends and say they are a leader, but in reality they fail to lead on a greater level.

Let me be balanced here for a moment. Everyone of us is prone to the above list. Everyone of us has to work through our hurts, pains, and fears or we will allow the above list to rule our lives. However, if you are a person who has the above list in your life regularly then you may have a few people you will influence, but the likelihood of having a greater impact is very small. Remember, Jesus is about impact (Transforming people’s lives). Our immaturity and pride can serverly limit what God can do through us. He wants you to lead at greater levels. He needs you to work leading yourself before he will allow you to lead others effectively. It all boils down to a question. Can people trust you? Gaining trust is hard. Losing it is very easy.

We live in a world were trust is a precious commodity that is very hard to come by. People have been taken advantage of, hurt, or a slew of other situations. People who put their trust in you is a big step for them. Honor it, protect it, and cherish it. Trust comes and goes quickly. If you show that you care, are compassionate towards people, help people in times of need, are there for people, listen more then you speak, and are willing to humbly receive the gift that people offer you then you will gain their trust. The more consistent you are in caring for people the deeper they trust you. The more they trust you the more influence you gain. The more influence you gain the greater you can lead people.

The goal is leading people to the place God has asked you to bring them. I have heard it said that even an introvert will influence over 100,000 people in the course of their lifetime. So if you are not a type A leader or an extrovert then there is hope. Allow God to give you the courage to speak up. Allow God to mold and shape you into the person you know deep down that you can be. In that place you will learn to lead well.

For you type A leaders there is hope for you as well. You are already dispositioned to lead. Allow God to mature you into a leader after His own heart. Realize, even though people don’t say it, you can be a jerk and very unloving. The reason for this varies from leader to leader. However, the solution is the same. Jesus wants to work in you a great work so that He can work it through you. He wants to mature you in your emotional foundation and develop your gifting. Be humble and allow God to work. Don’t automatically assume you know what is best. Understand that God has people who will speak into your life and cut off the deadness of your heart. It’s a painful work, but a needed one. Leadership is a godly and good goal. One I think the Lord honors.

Let me close with this simple thought. Leadership is a sacred responsibility and not to be taken lightly. We need to strive to be the best leader we can be!

Join the conversation by sharing this blog and commenting your thoughts below.

Are you Leading?

Leadership is a calling. You have to be called by God to be a leader. In the midst of all this mess you will be attacked, accused, talked about, torn down, trashed, and yelled at. If it isn’t a calling then when trouble comes you will walk away from it. Don’t get me wrong. Leadership has some of the greatest experiences I have ever known. The joy of people receiving breakthrough, growth, momentum in their lives, purpose, and so forth. The good outweighs the bad, but if you are not called then at some point you will walk away from it.

Leadership is hard. I don’t say that to sound negative. I say that as a statement of truth. There has been many times that I have wanted to just give up and work an easier job. Think about it this way.  You are leading many personalities who have all sorts of hurts, unforgiveness, pain, and so forth. Take those same people you are leading and try to move them all in the right direction at the same time. It can be VERY challenging. Honestly, it is like herding cats. Just this big mess that you pray end up at the same place together.

So the question becomes, are you a leader?  Are you someone who is called to lead people. This can be in any capacity. You could be the pastor, the small group leader, the team leader, or whatever position you hold. Leadership is not just in the church. Leadership opportunities are all around us.

How do you know you are a leader? How do you know if your not just a person who gets things done and not really leading anyone? I am going to give you a couple of ways in which we can tell if we are really leading people or not. I have a request. I need you to be honest with yourself. It is easy to justify your answers and make yourself seem better then you really are. Great leaders are very honest in their evaluations with themselves. So I ask you to strive to be a great leader. Strive to be brutally honest with yourself. Invite others in who will be honest with you.

Here is a series of questions to test your leadership.

Can you attract a team to you?

If you are the only one doing what you are doing and no one is with you then you are not leading. You may be great at getting the job done. But leadership is about passing on the baton. Leadership is about growing those around you. If it is just you and Jesus then you are not leading. Leadership requires someone to lead.

This brings up a couple of questions. Do you know how to recruit a team? Can you attract a team to you? Are people willing to follow you?  Now I know you may have a great reason why you have not been able to attract team members. The reason isn’t as important as the self evaluation. The first question is ability. You can learn how to recruit. The second and third questions have everything to do with you. If people are unwilling to join you on the team then you have to ask yourself why? Many of us may not like the answers that we find. But it is needed if you hope to be the leader God desires you to be.

Can you keep a team?

Keeping your team is as important as attracting them. Maybe you have enough influence and charisma to get team members to join you. That is a great step in the right direction. Does your team see a high turnover rate? Almost as if your team is a revolving door?  There is no easy way to say this. It is the leaders fault. Hear me out before you make any snap decisions here. I understand that sometimes life happens and people leave. That is part of life. People get sick, life happens, and people leave. However, it doesn’t happen as often as we like it to. Meaning, we have to take personal responsibility. Sometimes we are too direct. Sometimes we are not direct enough. Sometimes we are misunderstood. Sometimes we are unable to lead people well. Sometimes we just cannot seem to make it work. All the time we are responsible for how we respond to people. So often I have seen people leave teams because the “leader” was more of a dictator who lead by intimidation and defensiveness.

It is hard to hear that though. That I may not be a good leader or that I lead out of my own hurt and pain.  As hard as it is to hear you need to face it. If you are a low level leader who cannot seem to keep anyone Let me encourage you. Leadership can be grown and cultivated within you. If you are a leader who leads out of your hurt then I have a realistic point of you. I would like you to consider a simple fact. You will never be the leader that you know you can be until you find healing your hurts. Why do I say this? Because our hurts, insecurities, and unforgiveness will always put a lid on our leadership. Jesus would rather you be healed then to lead damaged.

Are people truly flourishing?

This is one of the toughest questions I think I heard in a while. Are people truly growing and thriving because of your leadership? This really got me. Are people truly growing as a result of my leadership? If I say yes then I feel like a great leader. Sad thing is that we can justify anything. I may say yes just because I want to believe I am a good leader. If I say maybe then I may be confused. If I cannot say yes or no then I may not know where the people I lead are along on their journey. I may be disconnected and aloof from their needs and how I am creating an environment to meet those needs. Yes I know, Jesus is the only one to meet the needs. However, as a leader are you creating those places where people can engage Jesus? Finally, If I say no then I have to face facts. I am not a good leader and things need to change.

The goal of a leader is to add value to those who follow you. You want people to be better then they were before they followed you. Ask yourself honestly the questions above. Have others speak into your life. Allow people to hold you accountable. Strive to grow personally. Above all else, allow God to direct you in how to lead.

In the next post I am going to share with you how to be a better leader.

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Blessings!

You might be an immature leader if….

I have always been a fan of Jeff Foxworthy. His humor has really had an impact on me over the years. Plus he is a Christian. You can’t get better then that 🙂

Years ago he started a cultural phenomenon. He started a series of jokes that revolved around Rednecks. They were done in a fun and clean way. They spoke some truth in a humorous way that allowed people to both think and laugh about them.

I am passionate about many things. One of those things is leadership. I believe each of us have the capacity to be a good leader. Some of you have the capacity to be a great leader. Truth is that most of us have tendencies to be immature from time to time. Then there are some people who are immature all the time. So in honor of Jeff Foxworthy we are going to take a look at some thoughts on being an immature leader. The following this is not an exhaustive list.

You might be an immature leader if…….

…. You become defensive when people confront you.

…. You ignore the facts of your situations and convince yourself nothing is wrong.

…. You avoid conflict at all costs (The opposite is true as well).

…. You think your ideas are always the best ideas.

…. You blame others for your mistakes or you allow your team to pass blame.

…. You refuse to allow others to speak into your life.

…. You try do everything by yourself (No Delegation).

…. You think the organization is dependent on you.

…. You don’t fully listen to others.

…. You think what you have to get done is more important then the people your leading.

…. You are concerned that people your leading want your job.

Your a leader! Now it is time to grow up and be one! The world needs mature Christian leaders. If you stay immature in your leadership then your impact will be small. Grow up! Grow internally mature! Lead well!

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Blessings!

I compare me to…..

Recently, I had a conversation with a dear friend of mine. Pastor Brian Burgess of Forward Church in Portsmouth Virginia (http://www.forwardchurch.me). The conversation was about the dangers of comparison. I am not talking about comparing shoes. No, I am talking about the comparisons that we make we when we compare ourselves with others.

Pastor Brian had nailed some of the comparisons we make. This started me thinking about the comparisons I make in my own life and how unhealthy they are. Before I get to far into this let me give you an important piece of information. You can read what started the conversation on his blog (http://leadershipgravity.blogspot.com/2015/02/3-things-that-suck-about-comparing.html).

My thoughts started traveling to the ways we compare and how comparison has the ability to seriously stall our potential. The truth is that we all compare ourselves to something, someone, or some ideal. It is natural as breathing. Behind our comparisons could be some troublesome reasons. Things like insecurity, doubt, fear, or even a sense that we are not good enough. All these reasons come from a dark place inside our hearts. An unhealthy place. A place that needs to be placed before Jesus and dealt with.

I know you are thinking that you have tried. You have tried placing it before Jesus, but you can never seem to get over it. So have I. I have tried and tried to put it before Jesus only to pick it back up and hold onto my pain tighter. As I went through the cycle of comparison and the inevitability of having to face my pain I learned something that I believe may help you as it did me.

I struggled, and still do at times, with comparison. I fought it. I prayed against it. I called forth divine healing. I did all the things I had thought would work for me. To my disbelief nothing seemed to “work” for me. Then a thought occurred to me. Maybe it was less a “spiritual” issue and more a thought problem. Then Romans 12:1-2 came to my mind.

Romans 12:1-2 says (NKJV),  “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

I realized that I needed to change my thinking if I had any hope of changing my heart. Then a deeper thought occurred to me. I had to stop the comparison trap that I was stuck in. I was very unhealthy in my comparison. I realized that I was comparing myself to the wrong things. I was comparing myself to my peers, my critics, and all the other little voices that were bombarding me. This thinking is extremely unhealthy.  I am continually reminded of my need for Jesus.

Then I thought, “What if there is a comparison that is healthy?”  As I reflected through this I discovered that there is indeed a type of comparison that is very healthy. Let me give them to you.

  1. Compare yourself to your own potential. 

The greatest pitfall we face is that we compare ourselves to everyone else. We fail to realize that we are comparing our inner struggles to other people’s show. Think about it. People put on masks that they show to people. People become great actors and actresses in the game of life. You are seeing only what people want you to see. Now take that and understand no one knows your struggle. No one knows what it is like to be you. So we compare the intimate knowledge of ourselves to the act that people are giving to us. Know what I discovered? It is exhausting.

The truth is that we should be comparing ourselves to our potential. You and I know, or at least have a vague idea,  of what we are capable of. If I get to know myself on a deeper level. I mean honestly know myself. To know my strengths, my weaknesses, my boundaries, and my limitations then I can truly compare myself to myself. I will know when I am not living up to my own potential. Then I can make the course correction to reach my potential on a daily basis.

2.   Compare your today to your yesterday. 

Yesterday is gone. You are not getting it back. I know you may want to build a time machine and go back to the place where you made all the mistakes in an effort to fix them. Sadly we cannot time travel. However we can live life to the fullest. We can look at yesterdays (Notice I said look at our yesterdays and not live in them) and compare them to our today. I can make every effort to life my life TODAY better then it was yesterday. To do this I can create a daily habit of reflection. At the end of the day I can evaluate how the day went. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Then I can make the conscious decision to make today better then it was yesterday.

3. Compare yourself to Jesus. 

Need I saw more? The number one question we need to ask is “Did I look like Jesus today.”  That simple comparison will help your spiritual maturity like you wouldn’t believe. Because Jesus is perfect we can compare ourselves to him. If I ask that powerful question honestly i can see how far I missed the mark. I can also see how much I have fallen and then I can make a plan on how I can make today a Jesus filled day and allow The Holy Spirit to mold me more and more into the likeness of Christ. It is not an easy journey, but it is a worth it journey.

Unhealthy comparison leads to heartache and pain. Healthy comparison leads to maturity and the fulfillment of your potential. You are the only one who can influence yourself over which you will decide to go with.

Thank you for taking the time to read my rant. My prayer for you today is simple, “Lord I pray that you would give each and everyone of my readers the strength to break the chains of comparison. Let them have the strength to push forward in their healing. Let them come to know You and the power of Your grace. In Jesus Name: Amen!”

Be Blessed!!!