“As an actor, I’m always interested in my characters getting into trouble, because conflict is, you know, the great determiner of someone’s mettle.” -Mary Wiseman
I’ve said before that I have never aspired to be a leader. Over the years I’ve tried to avoid it by giving GOD my ‘reasons’ (excuses). I’m not ready, single, married, not qualified, a woman, too young, too old… any argument to say no to or at least delay the next level of leading. This might be an anomaly in a world where many seem to desire platforms. Since the pandemic has made us all engage virtually, I’ve had to face my fear of doing videos, over and over again. It’s super uncomfortable. God is also using inter-personal conflicts; equipping and confronting leaders; facing myself and my past; and navigating the turbulence of being an African-American female clergywoman…to test and strengthen my METTLE – a person’s ability to cope well with difficulties or to face a demanding situation in a spirited and resilient way. There are a lot of spiritual, mental, and emotional ups and downs, but God assures me that what I’ve been experiencing is preparing me for the future He has in store.
It’s a little comforting to know that I’m not alone in this struggle. Moses, Gideon, Saul, Esther, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, even Mary had questions as to why God was choosing them; how they could do what they were being asked with their glaring deficiencies and challenging circumstances; whether God would really be with them; and when He would finally show up. Some of them questioned and challenged the LORD, others hid in fear. The study above by Forbes.com in 2016 showed that about 40% of the population believes that people generally want to remain in the status quo versus reaching for something better. Why? because just to change oneself is hard without being a leader. Leadership is really difficult, it’s often thankless, and it takes mettle. I guess that’s why they say it’s lonely at the top…or in the front.
A shepherd goes before their sheep into uncharted territory to find green pastures and still waters for them, which is a lonely proposition. They care for the souls of their sheep- their emotional, and mental well being. Shepherds use their rods to correct and their staves for gathering and comfort. They venture first through the valley of the shadow of death. (Psalm 23) Jesus, the Good Shepherd, holds a relationship with His sheep of mutual knowledge and deep communication. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. They hear His voice and follow.. He faces the wolves and is willing to lay down His life for them. (John 10) We as under-shepherds have the assignment to lead like Jesus. We hold this call dearly and in reverence. It requires METTLE.