I’ve always wanted to play quarterback. Last flag-football season, I finally got my chance. This, I determined, would be my opportunity to prove to the world or, at least, to a few friends from high school that I was always meant to be the star quarterback. Who knows? I could have even gone pro if my high school coaches would have just given me the chance.
Well, my quarterbacking debut didn’t quite turn out like I had hoped. We won only one game the entire season, and I didn’t play in that game. All the games I played in – we lost. So much for going pro.
Being quarterback is not as easy as it looks, and I’m not as good as I think I am.
From the stands, it’s easy to see all the correct decisions to make. I thought for sure that I could do just as good, if not better, than any college or professional quarterback. But what I failed to see is that it’s easy to make the right decision from the stands because there aren’t six-foot-seven 350-pound linemen trying to drive you in the ground as you attempt to make the best decision in three seconds or less. It’s a lot tougher than it looks, even when you’re playing no-contact flag-football.
On a daily basis, leaders, like quarterbacks, are doing their best to make wise decisions, while in the face of tremendous pressure. As young leaders, it’s easy for us to criticize the leaders we follow. We can meet at the local coffee house or tea room and explain exactly how we would do a better job and undermine the role of leaders in our lives. There are, of course, many different ways to lead, and different methods can help with results. But what we may fail to realize is that being a leader is not as easy as it looks.
There is a difference between being a leader and doing what we see leaders do. It’s not just the actions of a leader that make her a leader. It is the quality of her character. In the quiet corners of her personal life, she has disciplined her mind, her body, her soul to show complete devotion to Jesus Christ and to serve others. This makes her the leader she is. Her actions follow her character. It may be easy to manufacture and achieve some temporary results, but no one can fabricate character. Growing character takes time. Being a leader is more about who we are than what we do.
So, my advice to young leaders like myself is to be a good follower. “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you” (Hebrews 13:17). Support the leaders in your life, cultivate a deep devotion to Jesus Christ, and serve others.
You are not as good as you think you are.