Pray for your leaders. Encourage your leaders. Pour into your leaders. Love your leaders. Sacrifice your time for them. Inconvenience yourself.
I had the privilege of praying with a few friends this morning in my home. I guess you could say I called an intervention on behalf of someone who has spent about a decade pouring into me, mentoring me, and loving me, even when I could be oh-so-yucky in heart. No more accepting surface answers that would allow this friend to change the subject away from herself. It was time for it to be about her. (It was actually past due, but better late than never.)
I called in two other dear friends of hers who are business owners with full schedules, at the last minute, to drop what they were doing on a Friday morning and just shower her with love and prayer. Was it hard? Did I have to pull their teeth and convince them to make it work in their busy schedules? No. Why? Because of the way this friend has poured out and sacrificed and supported those in her life without reserve. They asked no questions. Literally, not one question other than “what’s your address”; they just said yes and showed up. It was time to give back what we had so graciously been given from our dear and loyal friend. This was our opportunity to take the initiative and help carry her burdens without waiting for her to ask.
Take a second to picture the leaders and people of influence in your life. Let their faces sweep through your memory right now. Call to mind the specific times in your life that you know their support had a major impact on your life. Now, when was the last time they reached out to you for support? Told you they needed someone to lean on? Showed the slightest amount of weakness? Are those memories harder to recall than the memories of when they were there for you in times of need? These instances are likely few in number.
I sat at a table of leaders yesterday, all women who are leading the charge in some area or another. Strong, competent, capable women. None of them alluding to the slightest ounce of discontentment in conversation or otherwise. My assumption in these situations is that if they appear so put together, there must not be anything too heavy going on in their lives, because otherwise there would be some evidence of it. WRONG! We started off by praying for each other and soon after each lady started sharing what they could use prayer for, my false assumptions were incinerated.
Death in the family, tragic diagnosis in spouse’s health, financial struggles, loneliness, cancer..
This is a small list of what was shared among these women of faith. I was stunned. I could not have imagined the group sitting around this small table was carrying so much pain. Sometimes we have no choice but to press on, so it can appear we are okay, and it can be easy to fly under the radar with our struggles while the pain goes unnoticed. The very true reality is that we cannot walk these trials alone. Leader or not, there is a pouring in that our souls will ache for when we are in a season of suffering. That is why scripture offers us this little tip…
Share each other’s burdens and in this way obey the law of Christ.
I’ve noticed (this is just my observation) that leaders and people in positions of authority are less likely to reach out. We can try to evaluate why, but I think we have much more important questions to ask ourselves:
Are we willing to be more observant in regard to this?
Will we resolve to help them carry their burdens in an appropriate capacity, no matter how big or small the situation calls for?
This can be a little tricky to approach. What do we do when it is time for a shift in the dynamics in a relationship, and the one who normally is pouring out, needs some pouring in? There is no uniform answer or formula. It is going to require us to use discernment, prayer, and put some of that maturity they’ve modeled for us into practice and maybe, for some of us, a little bit of courage.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7
The last thing we want to do is create another problem for those who are in need of encouragement. If we are not careful a well-meaning but awkward attempt to help could be just that. Another problem. A safe place to start would be to ask yourself some questions about your ideas before jumping the gun. I would encourage you to consider the following:
- Have you prayed for them yet?
- Will this attempt to help preserve their privacy?
- Will this attempt to help cause any kind of inconvenience to them?
- Have you first acknowledged it is not your job to try and fix whatever the situation is?
What can you do today to help give your leaders the ability to continue to lead with joy and help renew their strength? Ask God to show you how it is that you can be a blessing of encouragement to those who have already prayed the same for you. I promise you, they have.
Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.