Put yourself in the shoes of a soldier. Your battalion is returning home. As you get closer, smoke rises over the horizon. Your sense of urgency picks up. Something isn't right. Even though you are exhausted from fighting, your pace quickens. You begin to run. Your sword, shield and supplies are weighing you down, but you aren't even thinking about that anymore.
Your eyes focus. Home is on fire. Nothing can stop you now. Adrenaline is through the roof. You are in a dead sprint for home. As you get closer you begin to shout. Shouting the names of your spouse and children that you had left behind. Your mind races with the unimaginable. You race through your ransacked town sprinting toward home.
Bursting through the open doorway, you find no one is home. Your family has been taken by the enemy. If they're lucky, they were killed. The alternative of being alive for your enemy was a far worse fate than death. Emotions take over. Your heart is pounding. You can't even keep up with the questions and fears racing through your mind.
The sounds of weeping are heard all through the city. Men exhausting themselves of all emotion and energy. You drop to your knees. Through tears you can make out the silhouettes of others who are hurting as you are. You weep until you can't weep anymore. Your tears are dry. There's nothing left to give. You suddenly realize how weak and tired you are.
As the questions begin to roll through your mind, it doesn't take long for you to find blame. Someone must be held accountable. You look to your leader. The one who lead you into battle. The enemy attacked from the opposite direction. Someone should have noticed. Scouts, intel, someone should have known. This should never have happened. You should be celebrating with your family right now, but instead you are wondering if they are dead or alive. Your heart is broken. Your life will never be the same.
Your rage turns toward the leader. Anger begins to rise to the surface. Another burst of energy. Others around you have that same look. Everyone seems to be thinking the same thing. Someone has to pay for this. Who made the call? Who is responsible? Who failed our wives and children? Your leader did. Thoughts enter your mind. Thoughts you never thought you would think. Maybe our leader should die to pay for this. I mean, someone has to. And it was his call. He should pay with his life.
This is exactly what King David's soldiers are experiencing in the Old Testament. 1 Samuel 30 tells the story. David is the leader. He is responsible. But it's David's next move that every leader must learn from.
David was now in great danger because all his men were very bitter about losing their sons and daughters, and they began to talk of stoning him. But David found strength in the lord his God. [1 Samuel 30:6 NLT]
The King James translation reads, "David encouraged himself in the Lord his God." There was no one else. No support staff. No other leader. No king. It was just David facing 600 men who wanted him dead. How would he lead through this?
He would encourage himself.
He would lead himself.
We have all been there. Those dark moments of leadership. Nothing is going right. You might even rather be dead than try to lead through your situation. I want to encourage you, leader. There is a way to lead through whatever you are facing.
It won't be easy. It will require the best of you. It will challenge you. It will move you. But it will make you better.
"Leader, Lead Yourself" will be a 5-part blog series exploring what leaders must do to stay healthy. We will explore spiritual, physical, personal, mental and emotional health.
Let's get some work done together. In preparation for this blog series, start thinking about the ways you lead yourself? What are some of your best practices? What resources have you found that transformed how you lead yourself? Share those below in the comments or join the conversation on social media. Looking forward to connecting with you as we work through this crucial topic for leaders together.