I’ve spent most of the summer this year pondering the topic of leadership. I realized that even if I’m not trying to be a leader, everything I do gets around. The people watching me see an example. Some might imitate, others just remember, and it doesn’t matter if I’m trying.
This is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it’s an amazing chance to show others Christ, a curse because by nature we’re just so sinful. How are we supposed to use all this attention in a positive way? I’ve reasoned the best way to handle it is embracing our call to lead others, no longer ignoring it but taking action to do it well.
Stop for a moment and ponder this. You make more of an impact than you probably realize! Ask, “If everything I do is seen and remembered, do I want to be remembered this way? If I could possibly improve myself, why not?”
It isn’t a matter of changing to make others happy. I’m not changing who I am as an individual because I’m suddenly paranoid of being seen. However, I choose to acknowledge the inevitable attention my actions bring me, and use it to direct souls to the Lord. This isn’t done in a day. You’ve got to prayerfully take a look at your habits, small things that might seem insignificant to you. Start with a thorough examination of conscience, and don’t be too proud to ask others where you can improve.
Which brings me to the actual process of becoming a good leader, not just a person someone’s watching. The truth is that leaders aren’t made in a day, and it’s not easy to be one. A crucial step to growing as a leader is allowing yourself to be led by older, more experienced people first. If you stop now to really think, I’m sure you can come up with five individuals who have changed how you see the world in a positive way. They’re your leaders, if you hadn’t realized yet. Jesus comes into the hearts of people who open themselves up, in order to get His message out to the world.
If we don’t let Him help us find role models, we might very well go astray, and if we’re aspiring to leadership the results could be disastrous. Destroying yourself is bad enough, now imagine bringing down the people who follow you! Ask Him with humility and honesty to show you the good influences in your life, whether you know them in person or not. It could be your next-door neighbor or Mother Teresa, you just need to recognize them and observe what they achieved. Why is this so important? Because when you find your role model, you need to prayerfully look for Christ in each of them, then ask how you can be more Christlike.
Our goal should be becoming Christ in the eyes of others, so that in the end He is the leader! If you want people following you just because of the attention or pride, you’ve got it wrong. Anything admirable in us only exists because Christ worked through us. If there is anything truly admirable in us, it should be Jesus we praise. Make that very clear in your journey! As a starting point I encourage you to find people who introduced you to Him, observing them with the fascination of a child. Then pray about it, asking Him to work through you. Acknowledge that you want to give and not get, and specifically, you want to give Jesus! He is the only thing worth giving! Doing this, you’ll save a life, and even just one life makes everything worth it.
Prayer buddies work. Find a group of people who can be perfectly honest with you, working together to bring out holiness. Another set of eyes is always useful because I can’t see myself from every angle. The mirror only reflects a distorted version of me; the spiritual mirror is even worse because I’m always in denial of my faults. It matters because if I want to use my life to evangelize, I need to try and be better.
It’s not an option to be a leader; someone might admire you right now and you’ll never know. We are all called to be leaders, living as children of light. The tricky part is finding humility and discipline to lead people we love in the right direction. Throughout all this I’d like to bring up a quote from the Little Flower, St Therese: Holiness consists simply in doing God’s will, and being just what God wants us to be.
What does God want you to be, and how can you cooperate more to get there? You’re a living testimony to His love and gift of salvation. Don’t waste this chance to bring others light. Ask God to mold you until you shine, blinding people with Jesus so He’s all they can see!
The world needs more Jesus. Will you help?