Extraordinarily Selfish

“”For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 19:45) […] They [the disciples] soon learned that servant leadership ultimately means giving up yourself so that others can have the life God desires for them.”
— C.Gene Wilkes, Jesus on Leadership

I’ve done this terribly.

Like many of us, I’ve spent the latter half of this week intentionally diving deep into the story and life of Nelson Mandela, desiring to know who he was, what he was motivated by, how he accomplished what he did, and generally desiring to know what life looked like through his eyes.

What moved me most was simple; a handful of letters he had written to his wife during his 27 year long political imprisonment. What was immediately apparent was that he loved her deeply. What also quickly became apparent was that he detested the fact that in many ways, the movement had to come before his family. He hated that.

But he did it willingly.

That is leadership.

That is why I fail at being a leader. I serve as long as it is convenient or beneficial for me. I serve people all the time, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t lay my life down. I do a little bit, give some encouragement, share some knowledge, but I don’t get all the way in and suffer, cry, and love people with all of me. I don’t give until it hurts consistently. I boast in my freedom and I love it so much it keeps me from pursuing my mission. Yeah, I serve, but I don’t live to do it, my life doesn’t revolve around it, and it isn’t what I’m all about. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t tell you what my life revolves around… Well, I guess that means it revolves around me, doesn’t it? I guess I’m just being selfish.

I’m not discouraged though. I’m excited because all of the difficult discussions I’ve been finding myself in recently are adding up to this moment. Every person that has told me that I’m not where I need to be, that I’m capable of more, that I have so much more to give than I currently am. I’m ready.

7 responses to “Extraordinarily Selfish

  1. You know, I get that. But I do not believe that one can define being a leader. I think it’s a matter of individualism. I figure the best way to know if your a leader is to ask yourself if you have what it takes to be depended on by others. Nelson Mandela was a good leader not because he made sacrifices but because millions of people, including his wife, could depend on him.

    • I completely agree on the dependable part! Reality is: I’m not dependable. Why? Because I value my freedom to do what I want more than I value being a part of a significant movement or mission. I’m terribly undependable…

      • Why is your dependability based on what you value??? It just sounds like you yourself are independent which has nothing to do with what others need from you. I’m sure you can name several people who depend on your presence and guidance. Right? That alone makes you a leader. I feel we make too much of a fuss describing a title based on one definition when we all know the English language has MANY definitions for one word. So you mean to tell me that you don’t in any way match any of the definitions for “leader” or “dependable”??

        leader [ˈliːdə]
        1. a person who rules, guides, or inspires others; head

        (Now go ahead and tell me you don’t fit this definition.)

        de•pend•a•ble (dɪˈpɛn də bəl)
        capable of being depended on; worthy of trust; reliable

        (This one is in your job description. Now whether or not you apply it to ever day life is up to you, but don’t say you’re not dependable.)

        • Hah, sorry. 😅 I guess dependability isn’t really based on what you value. I was just giving a reason I hadn’t been dependable. But really, I don’t know I’m arguing anymore, haha.

          I guess I can really easily paint myself black or white and that’s how this started in the first place. I am a leader, I just want to be a better one, that’s all.

          • I wouldn’t necessarily say arguing and I knew what you meant, I just wanted you to give yourself credit where it’s due.

            I said what I said because, well I guess, I’m tired of people down playing their accomplishments and are quicker to bring forth their flaws rather than embracing them.

            I had to take the opportunity to teach a lil’ bit. Ya know?

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