I’ll never forget my first few days in the Arrow Leadership Program. I wasn’t really sure what I had gotten myself into but I was excited about the journey ahead. I felt honored to be selected to the program and I knew that I needed a personalized and intentional process to help me go to the next level as a leader.
Unfortunately, after the first couple of days my insecurities took over. I began trying to figure out where I fit in the “pecking order” with the other leaders in the class. After careful analysis I didn’t like where I ranked myself. I felt that many of my classmates were smarter than me, others had gifts I longed to have, a majority had more leadership experience, and I perceived many had much greater influence.
Rather than celebrating and learning from my peers, this exercise of comparisons had me wound up and worked up. I convinced myself my participation was a mistake. I sensed that my only recourse was to somehow remove myself from the program before “they” removed me. I decided to share my self-discovery and conclusion with Arrow’s then-President Dr. Carson Pue.
The next day, I approached Carson during our first break. I shared that I believed I didn’t belong in Arrow and suggested I should leave the program. He listened carefully. Then, his response came in three very direct words, “Get over it!” He said nothing else.
Stunned. I scurried back to my seat in disbelief. My mind swirled. What did he mean by “get over it”? Why was he so mean? Didn’t he understand my inner turmoil?
I concluded he must have misunderstood. At our next break, I made my second approach. He listened for a short time and then he again spoke very directly to me. Four short words this time, “Get on with it!”
By this point, I was reeling. I had expected a sympathetic pastoral response. Instead, I received a rebuke. However, this was exactly what I needed.
I did need to “get over it!” I needed to get over my own insecurity and comparisons. I needed to celebrate my peers, learn from them and let them sharpen me. I also had to learn to accept that my identity is ultimately rooted in Christ and not in my perceived rung on the leadership ladder. I also needed to “get on with it!” This meant getting on with being the unique person and leader God was shaping me to be. I needed to pursue God’s call on my life – not someone else’s life.
These tough words were life-changing. Sympathy would have left me the same. In fact, this encounter is a reminder that sometimes sympathy can be completely counter to God’s desired work in a person’s life. I needed someone who would speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) because I needed the freedom that only comes from hearing the truth (John 8:32).
Some important application questions flow from this story:
1. Do you need to “get over it” and “get on with it” about something? Maybe it’s comparing yourself to others? Maybe it’s something else?
2. Do you have godly mentors and peers who will speak the truth in love into your life?
To The Point,
Dr. Steve Brown