I don’t have to look far in my world to find examples of such failed, yet ignorant leadership. My Masters degree is in Communications with a concentration in leadership. We studied failed leadership practices quite a bit as I earned that degree - because there is a lot to be learned from studying how NOT to do things. Very often, one of the root causes of such travesty is the inability of the leader to own up to his or her mistakes and/or bad decisions. The leaders in Israel became so deeply entrenched in their roles as “spiritual” leaders, it was impossible for them to step aside from themselves and take an honest look at what they were doing and what was happening to the people they were leading. And everyone around them became so wrapped up in participating in the sins of the nation they could no longer advise the spiritual leaders wisely. Gulp. I don’t want to become such a leader.
I think who we choose for friends contributes greatly to our leadership abilities. As much as I love to be with the friends and acquaintances of mine who I know are going to tell me everything I am doing is just great - essentially the “yes” men in my life - it is a dangerous trap for me to surround myself with them. I need people like my friend Kim who always tells me like it is - she has made me aware many times of the flaws in my logic and thoughts and helps me think things through before I act. And she lets me mess up (I know I am terrible about returning calls sometimes) yet forgives me and welcomes me back when I realize I have been inconsiderate. I wouldn’t have made it this far without her insight and help.
Rose is another dear one who has endured with me. she is the one friend I have had longer than any other. She is always an angel when I make mistakes and have to grovel out an apology to her. She is yet another straight-shooter who has given me more than one wake-up call when I have headed down the wrong path. I don’t see her as often as I would like and I realize how much I need her strength and endurance and honesty in my life.
My friend and partner Sarah is another important source of honesty and support. She has no qualms about telling me my ideas won’t work - and she doesn’t always do it tactfully which can get me a bit mad - but I get over it and the value of her insight is not lost on me. I appreciate the fact she will be totally honest with me and she has helped prevent me from making a fool of myself many times. Without her calm logic and honesty The Torch might be running in fifty different directions right now, because my ideas and dreams go nuts sometimes. And whenever I start to feel down I know I can send her a text or a message and she will reply, “I am praying for you” along with some other encouragement to remind me of everything we have seen God do and that He is in control.
I am so thankful to have friends who will forgive and forget and reprimand and warn. I appreciate the fact they care enough about me to protect me from myself. I do make mistakes and I think as a leader I must absolutely MUST be able to admit my mistakes, genuinely apologize for them, fix the problems I created, and move on from there. I am very much humbled when I allow the enormity of what God is doing and has already done with The Torch to sink in. I see all my inadequacies and sometimes want to run fast and far in the opposite direction from the one He is calling me to. Without the love, support, honesty, and encouragement of my friends and family I would lack the courage I need to continue to move forward. I am so truly blessed to have them and trust they will help keep me on the straight and narrow.