Overcome Fear and Insecurity in Leadership
One of the greatest monsters I wrestle with in leadership is being confident in the calling and gifting God has for me. I battle the usual suspects of insecurity, fear, and playing the comparison game.
At a leadership event, I shared the story of Deborah and the confidence she displayed in her calling. Deborah is one of my favorite leaders from scripture, and I’m continuing to unpack layers of her leadership that fascinate me.
Observations Found in Judges Chapters 4 & 5
- Deborah is Judge of Israel during a time when the Canaanites cruelly oppressed Israel.
- We know she’s married and that she holds court under a palm tree on a hill (sounds like a nice office).
- She gets a command from God for Barak to rally 10,000 men and face the Canaanite army.
- Barak refuses to go unless Deborah goes with him.
- You never see Deborah waiver; she continually reminds Barak of God’s promise to deliver Sisera, the commander of the Canaanite army, into his hands.
- Chapter 5 is their victory song.
I wish the writer of Judges had been a bit more descriptive about the behind-the-scenes relational and emotional dynamics in this story. The writer tells us what happens and the decisions that Deborah made, but doesn’t give us a ton of insight into how she felt or what she was processing through each decision. It’s at this point that I start trying to place myself in her story. How would I have felt? What would I have feared?
4 Keys to Deborah’s Confidence
1. She EARNED INFLUENCE
Deborah was a prophetess and judge of Israel at a time when it was highly unusual for a woman to serve in such positions of leadership. It makes me think she must have had some significant influence to be appointed to these positions. Deborah must have also displayed consistency of character, love for people, sound judgment, etc. in her role as Judge. Barak and the 10,000 leaders were willing to follow her lead because they trusted what she said was God’s command.
2. She displayed INCREDIBLE STRENGTH
I can’t imagine living during Deborah’s time. Israel was weak, defenseless and far from God. I suspect morale was low and hope was barely a flicker. But Deborah had hope and faith in God’s vision. As a result, she summoned the strength to silence the voices of doubt and timidity, and as one author describes, “called the people to battle, leading them out of idolatry and restoring their dignity as God’s chosen ones.”
3. She showed CONSISTENT HUMILITY
It seems it would have been easy to take the credit if we were in her shoes. She could have told Barak, “God told us to lead the army,” but she didn’t. She told Barak that God had called him to lead the army, and at that point, her role was probably unclear. However, she chose to turn the power and the potential glory over to Barak.
I also love that in Judges 5:7, Deborah doesn’t refer to herself as judge, prophetess or leader. She describes herself as “a mother in Israel.” She didn’t need to prove to herself or remind others of her positional power.
4. She was FAITHFULLY OBEDIENT
Deborah drew her confidence from her relationship with God. God gave her the directive for the battle with Sisera, and she didn’t lose sight of this even in the heat of it. Judges 4:14 says “Then Deborah said to Barak, ‘Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has delivered Sisera into your hand. Has not the Lord gone out before you?’” After the battle ended, she and Barak sang a victory song in which they repeatedly thank God.
Practical Reminders for Leading Confidently
Deborah’s story is an excellent reminder of God’s faithfulness through our obedience. Deborah was pursuing God’s glory, not hers. As a result, her influence allowed Israel to experienced peace for 40 years. That’s a remarkable influence!
When we pursue a life of humility, obedience, love and sound judgment it ignites unstoppable strength because our hope and faith is in God. We can lead with confidence knowing that fear and insecurity has no power over us.
Keep leading well.
Jenni Catron and The 4Sight Group
Jenni Catron is the Founder and CEO of The 4Sight Group. Her passion is to equip and inspire leaders to lead from their extraordinary best! Schedule a free coaching call with Jenni.