People, especially leaders, and most especially leaders in the church, are predisposed to not only being in privileged places, but they are just as predisposed to being in that lonely, nowhere, thankless place.
Recently, whilst with a bunch of other pastors, I was reminded that I’m not as good as I think I am, but I’m not as bad as I think I am, either.
A case in point is this: when, as pastors, we are given charge to create change—and, in that, express our leadership—we are destined for rocky days and nights where we will feel isolated, alone, confused about ambivalent responses, and confounded by negative reactions. Some people will see us as ogres; as those who cannot be trusted and as those who hurt them or don’t care, and we won’t have the chances we need to repeal that hurt.
The quest of leadership in taking people in a new direction, to a place envisioned by a leadership committee (and not just the leader), is lonely to the point of it being unfair.
Fortunately, we are in the business of plying our faith. But faith should direct us not only to God, but to people who will love us despite the situation—people who can love us without partiality either way.
A Poem About Loneliness In Leadership
When we come into leadership we know we can’t satisfy all,
We know it’s unreasonable to meet everyone’s needs,
To know the depth of truth that goals, for some, will be way too tall.
We know this, but, we do not know the experience of the specific situation’s pain that is ahead of us, or is just now bearing itself over us. The details can’t be anticipated.
Then in the trial we go to take our place,
As mediator and driver and facilitator too,
We do everything with integrity—the ability to keep face,
But all in all we find ourselves not possibly having a clue.
Prepared to take on the burden, but without a safety valve,
Very soon we feel quite violated in this nowhere, thankless place,
Wise we are if we can sense this and head toward a salve,
Most of all, I guess, we must shore-up our Christ-built base.
Leadership can be lonely,
Let’s not at all kid ourselves,
We need not call on Christ only,
But also utilise our loving Christian cells.
Leadership is a privilege, but it’s also an incredibly lonely, nowhere, thankless place, especially in driving change. There are unpredictable permeations that occur and they floor us. Support we thought we could count on rebounds on us and hurts. What helps most of all is to rally against isolation—to remain connected and loved is the key.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.