“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger
Stretching, pulling and lifting are the very things that help build strength. Just think about how a bodybuilder or athlete works out to build strength and speed. They push themselves to the limit in order to get better and stronger. Their workouts aren’t easy. They intentionally create difficult challenges for themselves to help them grow in athletic ability.
Being a leader isn’t too different other than the fact that you usually don’t have to create difficult circumstances; they just tend to happen. Leaders are problem solvers. Some of those problems can be simple to resolve but most are much more complex and difficult. Working through difficulty builds strength. Dealing with difficult circumstances is “exercising” your leadership. Here’s a great Old Testament passage that records a difficult situation that couldn’t get much worse:
Then Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel, who had done mighty deeds, killed the two sons of Ariel of Moab. He also went down and killed a lion in the middle of a pit on a snowy day. (2 Samuel 23:20 NASB)
Pastor and author Mark Batterson wrote a book on this very passage called “In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day.” It doesn’t get much worse than that! In a pit is bad, add a lion and that’s worse, now throw in a little snow and that’s about as bad as it can get. As a leader, you’ve probably had days like that. When you think it can’t get any worse… it does. Here’s what I think is so amazing about this passage. This is actually a resume for Benaiah and likely the basis for him being selected to serve as one of King David’s bodyguards. Very difficult circumstances actually strengthened Benaiah and gave him confidence to take on the next big challenge. The same is true for all Christian leaders.
You will face difficult times. These are opportunities to “exercise” your leadership to make you stronger and prepare you for future challenges. Just like it is for athletes, stretching, pulling and lifting are the very things that build strength in you as a leader.
When you are stretched, you increase your agility as a leader. When you have to pull your team along through tough times, you will grow in confidence and be respected. All leaders feel the “weight” of leadership. When we lift more than we thought we ever could, we build character and competence that will prepare us for new challenges ahead.
Be strong and continue to get stronger. Exercise your leadership today as you face the challenges that come your way. Address difficulties with confident faith, boldness and a determination to grow as a leader. Your tenacity will set an example and inspire your team to exercise their leadership skills as well.