Give me just a little dirt…please?

One thing I admire most in a leader is transparency. I think what this world is looking for is something “real.” It’s a compliment that I value most. I think it’s one reason that my husband and I are successful in our ministry to young adults. My husband’s favorite thing to say is, “I’m not telling you this because I’ve always done it right; it’s because I’ve done it wrong–a lot.”

It’s important for people to know, as leaders, that we make mistakes. We struggle and oh dear heavens, we sin! This is the place you should gasp and throw your hands over your wide open mouths as you go into shock! What? Leaders sin? Shepherds make mistakes? Shutup!! Yes, yes it’s hard to believe, I know…I know–but it’s true. Any leader who tells you differently struggles with LYING!

There’s a well known female figure that shares her past before Jesus and it’s marred and messed up for sure. But now that she’s saved, you never hear her EVER tell about struggling with anger issues, balancing her time etc…it’s as if she’s miraculously zapped into a perfect person. When she does share about things “us flock” get bound by, she uses other people’s examples or her past before Jesus, but what about slip ups she makes now? Doesn’t she have any? Uh…yeah…I’m pretty sure she does.

But baby Christians, or really naive ones will surely think she has it all together and when they can’t seem to pull it together for themselves, it can be very depressing! “Well Miss So and So doesn’t ever seem to have a problem now that she’s saved…she’s preaching to millions and writing books and blah blah blah…what’s wrong with me!?”

Nothing is wrong with you. She doesn’t have it all together. You don’t have to–you can’t! Imperfect people do great things for God. There is no perfect, all together person! I promise you!

Now, there’s another very public female person who is just the opposite. She’s transparent about still messing up, never having it together and struggling–without dishing all the dirt, just some! I’m not saying we should tell the world every evil thought we have, just let those we minister to know that we aren’t perfect. We sin. And yes, even use some examples of mess ups.

It’s all too easy to think we should keep our imperfect lives from those we minister to and lead. By sharing that we actually do argue with our spouse on occasion over ridiculous things, we do lose our cool and yes…holler at our kids, we do think a four letter word when a jerk cuts us off and maybe, just maybe even let it slip out of our mouths, is okay to share when relevant to something we’re teaching (you don’t have to actually tell them the word :)). It doesn’t make us less credible, it makes those listening appreciate the fact that regardless–God still wants to use us and that means that God wants to use them as well.

Never letting those you lead know you’re as big of a chump as the next guy/gal, can even breed pride.

One of my favorite men, other than Jesus—duh you guys do I even have to say that?….is Peter. Peter’s letters were inspired by God but full of “I’m telling you this not because I did it right but because I did it WRONG,” messages. Read for yourself and think back over his time spent with Jesus.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because[a] your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  Resist him, steadfast in the faith…” 1 Peter 5:8-9

Penned with Divine inspiration…said out of experience. Let’s go back…

 “Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. 34 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.”
35 He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. 36 And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.
37 Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
39 Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the same words. 40 And when He returned, He found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him.
41 Then He came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come…” Mark 14:32-41

I think Peter learned his lesson to stay awake…be sober…be vigilant…why? Let’s go back even further…

“Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail…” Luke 22:31

Peter knew well what Satan wanted…to kill steal and destroy. Why? Because he’d made the attempts on him. But Jesus prayed for him that when he returned to him (Jesus knew Peter was going to mess up…key word-return…He loved him and wanted him anyway) he would strengthen the others. Peter would be a leader and he was a schmuck! Peter still messed up on occassion, I believe Paul called him out! Paul…hahaha a whole other story!

Who knew best to stay awake, pay attention, be watchful than a man who didn’t (even though he’d been forwearned) and made a huge mistake of denying Christ three times.

Leaders, it is okay to share your mess ups and mistakes with those you’ve been entrusted to guide without giving super intimate details, unless of course you feel led to.

Those of you sitting under someone, they’re schmucks like Peter… all of us are! 🙂 Don’t put them on a pedastal or when they fall (and they will) it will devastate you and you might even grow bitter. Don’t be naive. Pray for your leaders. Understand they aren’t perfect. They have a big responsibility! Expect mistakes out of them!

What about you? What do you think? What would you like to see more out your leaders?