Spiritual Leadership Principle: It doesn’t matter if you are a rising, mid level, or seasoned leader, eventually you will face seasons of loneliness. But in these times, God is able to work on your character and heart. Each leader goes through and is often times in a place that is lonely; you can see this in David’s life.
Passage: 1 Samuel 16
During David’s younger life he was a shepherd boy, which brought a lot of loneliness. He was always tending to the needs of the sheep, fending off wild animals, gathering the strayed, overseeing, and watching their movements. There were times when the young boy David, had to be strong and courageous and kill a fierce animal to save one sheep. Or at times after a fierce animal had taken a sheep, he would have to hunt it down to save the sheep’s life. There were also peaceful times when David would pick up stones and do a little target practice with his slingshot. He would also spend time looking up at the stars, singing and talking to his God.
You might be asking why that would be lonely. Because, tending to sheep was a one man job and was 24/7. He had himself, God, and the sheep, so this brought times of loneliness. You could also say that it was a job that most would not like to do and that when David was tending the sheep there was a lot that God did with and in his life. But during these times he was shaped and tested. He was also being shaped and structured in His image. In a way, God started to build David into a new man. Working on his character, humility, and patience, all because of where David was. God was able to place His own heart in David’s. It was also a job where you might be forgotten by people, which happened with David.
When Samuel went to anoint one of Jesse’s sons he went down the list looking at each one. The first one he thought must be the Lord’s anointed, because of his outward appearance, but was not. After seeing each one of the candidates Samuel still did not have the one that the Lord chose. Samuel said that there must be another brother. Jesse told him that there was one more and that he was tending to the sheep. So David was brought and then anointed by Samuel.
During this time in his life there were a lot of challenges that he faced. One of them was tending to the sheep and another was being forgotten. Tending to the sheep was not the only place where David faced loneliness. Both before and after he was a recognized leader he had times that he was challenged with being lonely. Which brings us to what this principle is about; when you are a leader there will be times of loneliness.
No matter what your position is: a rising leader, a proven leader, or if you are a leader without the title. There are going to be times of loneliness. Through these times God could be testing your heart and obedience. As well as working on your character and patience. So that He may place His heart in you and that you would resemble Christ. Don’t worry or get discouraged if you are going through a lonely time, because God is working in your life as well as molding your heart. God will always be there for you to lift you up and encourage you to keep pressing on.
Lower level managers or title less leaders as well as successful top leaders go through or are often in a lonely place. Leaders struggle with being lonely for a number of reasons. Lets Discuss how this can effect the rising, mid level,and seasoned leader:
Often rising leaders go through some type of preparation time. This time more than others would prepare the person without the business or pressure of being a leader. During this time God as He did with David, works on the person’s character, patience, and puts His image in us. God also works on the leader’s heart and motives.
In this time God tests us in these areas, to better help and prepare us, so that we can be a Godly leader for Him. The working of God during the preparation times can be a lonely time because he often tests us and has us go through things alone. Often during this time He prepares us in the quiet and unrecognized areas until we are ready and it is our time to be recognized.
Mid level leader:
The mid level leader, might be a lower level manager or in the middle of the organization. He might have people below him as well as above him. During this time God has given you the privilege of being recognized as a leader. You might be in a company or church and see where you are and where you want to be, but for a number of reasons you are not able to move up.
For example if you are a manager and would want to move to be a senior manager, there might be a waiting period or you might have to prepare yourself more before taking the next step. Which might lead to being in a lonely plac due to wanting to take the next step but not being able to do so.
David went through this stage during his life. After being anointed he knew at some point we was going to be king. But after being anointed he still had to go back to tend to the sheep and later killed goliath. He had to also run and hide from Saul who was trying to kill him. During this time he was recognized as a leader. You can see this by how many people followed him, which were later called David’s mighty men. During this time David knew he was going to be king, but had to wait for a season until that time came. You can hear some of the struggles and loneliness in some of the psalms he wrote.
As a seasoned or senior leader you have been through the preparation and mid level stage. At this level of leading you might feel that you have no one around you, because of a number of reasons. One of them might be that you have people below you (staff or volunteers) but not as many people or peers beside you, because the farther you go the fewer peers you have. This leads us to the second reason, when you are a seasoned leader you have often outgrown other peers. You look back and see the path that God had laid before you and how it is lined up to where you are at now. You have found what God has placed you here for. You have found your gifts and talents or your hot spot. Then have grown and shaped them, finally you have used them and are successful in them. You have not arrived but are on the path that God intended you to be on. You see others still trying to find, grow, and use their gifts and talents and are still trying to find their path. Seasoned leaders often have lonely times, because being at the top is a lonely place. You are a seasoned leader and because you are, there are seasons of loneliness.
No matter where you are at in your leadership you don’t have to be lonely for long. In this principle you can have both God and other people in your life to ease some of the loneliness of leadership. In fact, in order to be successful you need to be close to both. A leader should not distance themselves so that they are lonely by choice. But they should know that even if you have both God and people in your life their still might be times of loneliness. This principle shows the value of a leader going through lonely times.
* Leadership principle: Being a leader is sometimes lonely, but God will always be with you.