I haven’t been practicing what I know works and that is a failure of leadership. To lead is to do what you want others to do. Leading is not telling others what to do but then you don’t practice it yourself. And if we do not practice what we teach it sends a message that we do not believe what we are teaching.
I catch myself failing to apply my own instruction from God’s Word or from personal experience, time to time. I’m giving my youth leaders and students things to practice and then I find myself not even doing them when the opportunities arise.
For instance, when life is busy and overwhelming, I advise people to slow down and get with God. It’s something that my parent’s have taught me and something I’ve learned over the years of reading. In the midst of a busy life, Jesus makes time to pray to His father and find affirmation to continue on. Instead of trying to do everything on my to do list by my own strength, I need to seek God who is wiser and in control of my life. Today, my wife reminded me to do what I have always instructed her to do. So, I did it. And I feel refreshed.
I like what Ecclesiastes 10:10 says, “Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed.” The pulpit commentary adds, “Wisdom teaches how to conduct matters to a successful termination; for instance, it prompts the worker to sharpen his tool instead of trying to accomplish his task by an exertion of mere brute strength.”
What is the wise thing to do? Get busy with the tasks at hand and hurrying on your own power, neglecting time from your true source of power and wisdom…Of course not. The answer is sharpening the axe. Prepare oneself to do hard work and complete tasks through the power and wisdom of God. By holding off on tasks and being in prayer, studying scripture and cooperating with the Holy Spirit, I am launching myself into life with greater, sharper, power and wisdom. Otherwise, you may feel like you are doing all the work on your own and getting nowhere fast, at least, that’s how I feel when I don’t slow down and let God pour into me.
I love this parable from Tim Elmore’s book Habitudes, Images that Form Leadership Habits and Attitudes.