I am pretty strong. At least, I think I am. Now, I can’t bench-press 300 pounds or anything crazy like that, but I can beat my 14 year old son in a push-up contest, and I can even give him a piggy-back ride.
The other day I needed to carry a container full of rocks (long story) about 20 yards. I was pretty confident in my own strength, but about 5 yards into my journey I realized my strength was not going to get me through this time. Initially, instead of looking for another source of strength, I tried to complete the task myself. And I realized that when I rely on my own strength, I limit what I can accomplish.
If you find yourself at the end of your strength, as I often do, ask yourself a few questions:
Am I trying to do this alone?
Leaders who consistently work alone will quickly find they have reached a lid in their leadership. You’re not helping your team when you take all of the responsibility (and credit!) yourself. There is no glory in doing life or leadership alone. By inviting others to join you as you carry the load, you exponentially strengthen your team.
Am I trying to do this with my strength already depleted?
I was attempting to carry the rocks at the end of a very long day. I was already physically tired. Had I been rested, I likely would have been able to accomplish what I set out to do. When I am leading from a depleted state, it is impossible to accomplish the same amount as when I am refreshed. Refreshing comes in many forms. I might read a book on leadership, go out to lunch with another leader that I desire to learn from, or even take a day off to spend with my family (or just myself!).
Am I aware of the source of my strength?
1 Peter 4:11b says, “If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides. Then in all things God will be praised through Jesus Christ.” What a relief to read these words and realize that the plan was never for me to do this all myself! In fact, when I try to do it all myself, I am not bringing glory to God in the process.
Pretty much every day I find myself at the end of my own strength. Maybe that’s true for you, too. Are you frustrated that your volunteers aren’t showing up when expected, or not responding to your efforts to communicate with them.? Have you noticed your team’s morale isn’t what it should be? Is your list of “wins” for your team full of things from the past, and lacking in great things that are happening right now?
Take a moment and re-read the verse above, and ask yourself if maybe you’ve just been trying to do things in your own strength.
That day, when I was trying to carry the rocks, I eventually gave in and asked my much-stronger husband to help me. Immediately the weight was lifted from me as he came alongside of me and used his strength instead of mine. And I accomplished more than I could have ever expected to accomplish on my own.