I’ll never forget the creepiest class I took at UNCG. I was in a “history of horror films” class that met for three hours every Thursday night. It was a blast, scared me to death, but it was such a blast. Sure, some parts of the class teetered on the “this is too much that I want in my mind,” but with an understanding professor, it ended up being a fantastic experience. The only bad part was, by the time the class had ended at nine, the campus was empty. It was dark and eerie, and after talking about horror, it made for a bad combination. I learned that walking to the bus pickup spot was really creepy alone, but luckily, I made a friend in the class who also went to the bus stop. After Jamal and I decided to go together, the creepy night wasn’t so bad.
It’s funny how much of a difference that made, and the same can be true with many different things as well. It helps to have a workout partner to keep you motivated. Going to the movies is a lot more fun when you can talk about what you just saw over milkshakes (Now I want milkshakes). Playing board games with a group leads to lots of laughter. While these are pretty surface level things, when it comes to more serious matters, we choose to walk alone.
We see it all the time with leaders. People get in positions of power and it goes to their head. Politicians, business owners, and church leaders have all fallen victim to this. There are many factors to this, but I believe that a main factor in many stories of fallen leaders, stems from the fact that they walked alone. They never allowed themselves to be held accountable, they never had people around them navigate decisions, and they never had people ask questions for the choices made. This isn’t something that only leaders in high positions fall in the trap of, each one of us can fall into this same danger. The origin of this danger stems from a root of pride in our lives. Pride comes from a lack of humility and is amplified by compromise. What I want to talk about today is how to avoid this pitfall, as a leader of people as well as a leader of your own life.
The biggest danger of success, is believing it was only accomplished by your own skill. In the professional world, there are many moving parts to accomplish a goal, and when it comes to spiritual leadership and success, the same is true. Like, even more true. The fact is, without God, you would not be able to accomplish anything. You need to remember that your talents and skills, were all put in you by a creative God. I mentioned earlier the dangers of compromise. Compromise begins when you start giving in to the compliments and praise, at the start you give the credit to God, but after time, you don’t give the credit. It seeps in and becomes a part of your mindset. You start to crave the praise, needing it in order to use your gift. It’s a slow burn that can consume your character. We have to stay humble, realizing that it’s only by the holy spirit using you to make it happen.
I get so nervous when leaders don’t have someone that they can confide in. There is never a place you get to, that eliminates the need for accountability in your life. We all need accountability in our lives. We need someone that will be honest with us and speak truth over us. It’s wise to have someone who is older and has walked a similar path to you, as they are going to have insight into how to help you. You need someone to challenge you, not be an encourager of unwise choices. Without accountability, you’re going to fail. We have an enemy that is working overtime to take down your ministry. Why would you refuse to have a trusted person in your life to warn you of pitfalls? We all need accountability, and we need to be willing to listen and accept wise council over our lives.
I’m not a huge sports fan, but I do enjoy soccer sometimes. One of my favorite teams to casually check out, is Liverpool. One of the cool things about this team is their “slogan” that fans have clung to. “You’ll never walk alone,” is their slogan and their anthem song title. I always found that unique because the idea is, if you are a Liverpool supporter, you will never walk alone. It’s a sense of community that is created between fans. This idea is something that all of us, as leaders, need to incorporate. We need to be walking in community. When we do this, we don’t try and figure it all out together. When you are surrounded by individuals pushing you to be better and bringing fresh perspectives, you will always grow. In order to grow, you need to stay humble and stay accountable. Don’t go through life alone, you were made for community and God has put people in your life to help you be wise and grow.
Never walk alone.
About the Author: Joshua Thomas is a writer by day and superhero by night. When he’s not writing and crimefighting, you can find him reading a good book, sipping warm tea, taking pictures, or dreaming. The young writer doesn’t fully know what he’s doing, but is enjoying the journey of it all. You can tweet memes at him on Twitter @joshua_thomas__ or follow his hipster photos and Jack Kerouac musings on Instagram @joshua_thomas__