We all have been wounded. Last week I blogged on the topic, “We All Have Wounds That Need To Be Healed.” We must face and deal with our wounds in order to be freed from the shame, embarrassment and dysfunction of them. Only then is it possible to become wounded healers as we use our journey of healing to help others.
Today I want to focus on the process of facing our woundedness, so we can experience the healing we need to become wounded healers.
Many years ago while in graduate school I read the book The Wounded Healer, by Henri Nouwen. That book forever changed my life as I was learning to deal with wounds of my life. I recently read a quote from that book that reminded me once again of the importance of recognizing that we all have wounds which continue to shape our lives. Here is the quote:
“Nobody escapes being wounded. We all are wounded people, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. The main question is not ‘How can we hide our wounds?’ so we don’t have to be embarrassed, but ‘How can we put our woundedness in the service of others?’ When our wounds cease to be a source of shame, and become a source of healing, we have become wounded healers.”
In Acts 6, when the first century church was growing by the thousands and social needs were growing as well, a problem developed which the Apostles were asked to resolve.
One group complained that their people in need were not being served. The Apostles listened, then explained why they could not be the answer to the problem: they could not leave what they were called to do in order to do something others were called to do.
Has anyone ever kept you waiting for an appointment? Have you ever experienced someone cutting in front of you in traffic or at the grocery store?
What went through your mind when these things happened? If you are like many people, you reacted with anger or frustration because the person appeared to disrespect you in some way.
There is a saying about parenting: “More is caught than taught by children.” In other words, children learn more from what they see their parents do than from what their parents say.
The same saying applies to leaders. Some leaders command an audience by their eloquence and forceful presence. But these are quickly lost when the leader’s talk does not match the walk. Leaders must tell people what is important and then live it out in their own words.
I am dyslexic and as a result, reading and writing are very tedious for me. I naturally struggle to comprehend what I am reading, and trying to capture my thoughts in writing is a real struggle.
While these are real issues for me, I have lived most of my life trying not to let others see my weaknesses. I tried to appear as I perceived others to be: without weaknesses.
Conflicts are unavoidable, try as you may. They are a natural part of our human existence; therefore, we need to figure out how to best deal with them rather than trying to avoid them.
When conflict exists in a relationship and all you do is try to avoid it, you are only allowing it to get worse. The longer you wait to resolve it when you don’t know what to do, also makes it worse.
Leaders who lead well are leaders who have embraced their real self and are comfortable with who they in Christ. They know they have weaknesses and strengths, they emotionally aware, and they can be honest with themselves and others about who they are.
“It makes sense that people who know themselves and who can relate genuinely to others by avoiding self-protective roles have a better chance of succeeding in leadership, especially today. Leaders who strive to acknowledge all sides of themselves and who allow all sides of themselves to be acknowledged will increase their capacity to lead in difficult times.” Richard H. Ackerman and Pat Maslin-Ostrowski
In my work as a leadership coach to pastors, I have come across many pastors who are overworked, tired, overwhelmed and/or burned out. They have lost the passion, joy, focus and purpose of their call to ministry.
I do not believe God has called any of us to work ourselves to death – in some cases literally so – while neglecting our well-being and that of those we are called to lead. Too many leaders seem to have made a badge of honor out of leading like this.
When leaders allow themselves to be overworked, they rob themselves, others, and God of the best they are able to offer. They resort to leading out of obligation rather than calling. They show up not because they want to, but because they have to. Their leadership skills begin to lose sharpness.
Desires. We all have them. To have desires is to be human. We were created with the ability to have desires. Desires turned to dreams move us to achieve good and great things in life.
A desire is a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen. We have physical, emotional, spiritual and mental desires. Not all desires are good for us; the fulfillment of some desires would negatively impact us and/or those around us. Imagine what would happen if you went through with the desire you felt when a driver cut you off, or when a person cut in line in front of you?