Framing Personal Leadership

I would like you to consider a question from the outset of this post. Which of these three categories causes you the most internal struggle? I list them in no particular order of priority.

1. Beliefs

2. Emotions

3. Behaviors

Think about this for a moment. Consider your day, the past week, and the weeks leading up to this moment. Having chosen your category, what is it within that category that causes you the most difficulty? Do you have something in mind now? If not, that is okay. If you do, go ahead and write it down. It could be a word, a phrase, or a sentence. But don’t elaborate just yet.

Chances are you had a hard time isolating one category. If this is the case, than you perhaps sense the interlinking relationships between the three. Yet, you probably did not have too hard of a time thinking of that one thing, whatever its category, that besets you. It causes many of you sleepless nights. You wonder and pray, hoping for relief.

Beliefs, emotions, and behaviors can be a blessing or a havoc-wreaking sledge hammer. What we believe about God, the world around us, ourselves, and others frames our understanding of reality and its relationship to Ultimate Reality. These beliefs generate behaviors, the way we conduct ourselves in society and alone. This conduct is not born merely from how we believe cognitively, but also how we believe affectively, influencing our will. In effect, influencing our choices, rational or otherwise.

It can be easy to believe the best about others and the worst about ourselves. Likewise, the opposite is also true. We often can view ourselves through an idealistic filter and others through a filter tainted by unsympathetic biases. The enemy of our souls and our relationships specializes in crafting lenses for such a purpose which he tempts us to try on to the detriment of all we hold dear.

I believe that a converation about personal leadership should be framed using these three categories in some respect. No doubt, other terms could be added. For example, some folks might suggest thoughts in place of beliefs, but I chose beliefs because I think it, along with behavior and emotions provide root access to the core of who we are as human beings.

Consider Eve who believed the lies of the Serpent, succumbing to the emotion of the opportunity and thus translating her belief in the lie into a catastrophic action. Adam, likewise, shared responsibility as he watched his beautiful bride plunge them into direct rebellion against God. Notice that he did not make an attempt to intervene or protect. Instead, he aided and abetted, sinking his own teeth also into the forbidden fruit.

Beliefs. Emotions. Behaviors. All interlinked. For good or for bad. It’s the stuff of personal leadership. Remember that category and issue you wrote down earlier? Ask yourself now what are your next steps?

God provided for human beings redemption through Jesus Christ. This includes you. It includes me. No matter what you think you have done. Hard to accept sometimes isn’t it? Our emotions cloud the clarity and accuracy of our beliefs and affect our behavior. However, we should “not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2 NRSV; personal pronouns changed from 2nd person singular to 1st person plural). And in so doing, the expression of each person’s will may more closely reflect that of the Father.

Personal leadership. It is about becoming more like Jesus one day, one moment at a time.

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