Philippians 2:3 NLT

Working with others can be a great experience, but it can also reveal insecurities in ourselves. Ever been part of a group project and worried that the others might make you look bad? We might feel this way when we’re working with people who aren’t really committed to the task and don’t put the effort in, so the final outcome could end up reflecting negatively on us. Or it could be because others in the group might prove to be better at something than we are, and we think that we won’t measure up (it can be especially difficult when we’re thinking about a skill that we’re proud of having).

These feelings reveal that we’re insecure about our abilities and identity in Christ. But Jesus said, ‘You didn’t choose me. I chose you’ (John 15:16 NLT). We already have His love and approval, regardless of what anyone else thinks about us. We are His choice. Paul wrote: ‘Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too’ (v.3-4 NLT).

God often places people around us to teach us something. He might be placing us with less committed people to help us grow our patience or to develop the gift of encouragement. He might put us with skilled people so that we can learn from the way they do things or find fresh inspiration. Rather than feeding our insecurity by focusing on how we’ll compare, let’s think, ‘What can I learn from this person? And if we’re not sure, we can always ask God to show us.

2 Kings 6:8-20; Eph 1:15-23

Onsekerheid in leierskap

Filippense 2:3 NLV

Hier is die dilemma van ‘n onsekere leier: as ander in ‘n werk uitblink, vrees hulle dat dit hulle sal laat sleg lyk. Hulle vrees egter ook dat as die ander persoon die werk sleg doen, dit hulle ook sleg sal laat lyk. Dus probeer hulle alles self doen. Gevolglik behaal hulle nie sukses nie, of hulle sukses is beperk.

Paulus spreek dit as volg aan: ‘Moet niks uit selfsug doen of om daarmee te spog nie. Wees eerder nederig deur van medegelowiges meer te dink as van jouself. Julle moenie net elkeen na sy eie belange omsien nie, maar ook na mekaar se belange’ (verse 3-4 NLV).

Selfversekerde leiers is in staat om in ander mense te glo, omdat hulle in hulself glo. Hulle is nie arrogant nie; hulle ken hulle eie sterk- en swakpunte en respekteer hulself. Wanneer mense goed presteer, voel hulle nie bedreig nie. Hulle gaan uit hul pad om die beste mense bymekaar te bring en hulle op te bou sodat hulle na die beste van hul vermoë kan presteer. Wanneer ‘n selfversekerde leier se span sukses behaal, bring dit vir hulle groot vreugde. Hulle sien dit as die hoogste kompliment wat hulle vir hul leierskapsvaardighede kan kry.

Een skrywer merk op: ‘Die grootste hindernis om op goeie voet met ander mense te wees, is om ongemaklik met jouself te wees.’ Wat moet jy dus doen? 1) Ken jouself. As jy nie van nature daarvan bewus is nie, vra iemand wat jy vertrou om jou drie opvallendste sterk- en swakpunte te noem. Moenie jouself verdedig wanneer jy hulle antwoorde hoor nie. Samel die inligting in en reflekteer daarop. 2) Kry hulp. Jy verdien dit, jy is dit waardig! As jy jou onsekerheid kan oorkom, sal jy ‘n nuwe vlak van seën en prestasie bereik.

Sielskos: 2 Kon 6:8-20; Ef 1:15-23

Insecurity in leadership

Philippians 2:3 NLT

Here’s the dilemma of an insecure leader: If others excel in doing a job, they fear it will make them look bad. But they also fear that if they do the job poorly, they will still look bad. So they try to do everything themselves. As a result, they fail to succeed or their success is limited. Paul addresses it this way: “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too” (vv. 3-4 NLT).

Secure leaders are able to believe in others because they believe in themselves. They aren’t arrogant; they know their own strengths and weaknesses and respect themselves. When their people perform well they don’t feel threatened. They go out of their way to bring the best people together, then build them up so that they will perform at the highest level. When a secure leader’s team succeeds, it brings them great joy. They see that as the highest compliment they can receive for their leadership ability.

One author writes: “Nothing is a greater impediment to being on good terms with others, than being ill at ease with yourself.” So what should you do? (1) Know yourself. If you’re not naturally self aware, ask someone you trust to name your three greatest strengths and weaknesses. Don’t defend yourself when you hear their answers. Gather the information and then reflect on it. (2) Get help. You deserve it, you’re worth it! As you begin to overcome insecurity you will rise to a new level of blessing and achievement.

Soul food: 2 Kings 6:8-20; Eph 1:15-23

Keep improving

Luke 12:48 NIV

Author H. Jackson Brown Jr. quipped, “Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There’s plenty of movement, but you never know if it’s going to be forward, backwards, or sideways.” If you know you have talent and you’ve seen a lot of motion but little concrete results, you may lack self-discipline. Look at last week’s schedule. How much of your time did you devote to regular, disciplined activities? Did you do anything to grow and improve yourself? If you have been putting these things off and telling yourself that you’ll do them later, you need to work on your self-discipline. A nursery in Canada displays this sign on its wall: “The best time to plant a tree is twenty five years ago…The second best time is today.” So starting today – discipline yourself.

Why? Because: (1) There’s a price to pay to reach the next level. American playwright Sidney Howard remarked: “One half of knowing what you want, is knowing what you must give up before you get it.”

(2) Be willing to start with small things. At first your gains will be small, but they will grow. The difference between the gold medal winner and the other contestants, is often just hundredths of a second.

(3) Get into the right environment. Since improvement always requires some degree of risk and failure, pick a place where growth and experimentation are encouraged.

(4) Believe that you can always do it better. Anything you’ve done in a particular way for a given amount of time, can always be done better. So with God’s help, you can keep improving.

Soul food: Isa 42-44; Matt 11:10-19; Ps 107:17-22; Prov 3:21-24

Keep improving

Luke 12:48 NIV

If we want to use our God-given skills to their full advantage in His kingdom, it’s important for us to keep growing and improving them. To do that, we need self-discipline. When we have a natural talent for something and we find it easy, we might forget we need to invest time and effort into improving it. We might also find it boring, especially if it involves some degree of repetition or going back over the basics. That’s why we need to learn to discipline ourselves first.

In Galatians 5:22-23, we can read a list of the fruits if the Spirit – one of which is self-control. If we rely on our own strength, we’ll struggle to stay disciplined. But we have the help of the Holy Spirit. When we allow Him to work within us, He’ll help us to develop our self-control. Here are three reasons why self-control can help us to grow our skills:

1) Improving something often means giving up something else. We may have to give up some of our free time in order to practise and learn, and being disciplined helps us to stay focused and avoid being distracted by other things.

2) We need to take small steps. That can make learning and improving feel like a slow process at times. Self-discipline can help prevent us wanting to give up when we’re not moving forwards as quickly as we’d like.

3) There’s always room for improvement. When we can do something well, it’s tempting to just stop there. Self-discipline helps us refuse to settle for ‘good enough’ and instead keep reaching for the best we can be, so we can be everything God designed us to be.

Isa 42-44; Matt 11:10-19; Ps 107:17-22; Prov 3:21-24