I would never have thought I would have gotten to this day. The final day was probably the hardest part of the fast. The big challenge is since I knew my fast would be over, I began to have impulses to eat food outside of the fast. I knew that I needed to stay strong to make sure I finished well so it leads to deep states of prayer. It wasn’t until 12:00 on Day 22, that I finally broke my fast.
This 21 day fast had to lead to a lot of great teaching moments about myself and for my leadership. I am not one who likes to discuss my shortcoming and failures to the masses but I believe it was the purpose of this fast to help shape me into the leader that God needs me to be, and the minister the church needs me to be. So with great woundedness to my pride, here are my findings
- I have the tendency to be impulsive in my life. A lot of my impulsiveness comes from my relationship with food. When I was a young pudgy kid in elementary school, I would never bring a lunch to school. In fact, I never ate breakfast either so I would go without food breakfast and lunch, and then when I got home would splurge on food throughout the evening or have a big dinner. It did lead to a rapid weight-loss in my teen years, but it did lead to my impulsiveness with food. For food, it leads to how I live my life whether in a leadership position or in my personal life to buy something because I want it (and it’s on sale).
- What the fast had taught me is that I need to wait. Waiting is hard. But to be a leader you have to wait and seek the Lord for his guidance before making a move. I need to seek wisdom from the Board of Elders before I make any concrete decisions. When it comes to my food choices, I need to be wise about what I impulsively grab. So when I see that Moutain Dew staring at me, when in the check-out. I need to avoid it instead of giving in to its attractive demands.
- Rambo syndrome
- In my earlier ministries, I have been known as a lone ranger. Not because that was my personality, but I have always taken on projects, did them by myself, and had done excellent work. Because of this, I would be complemented by my peers, which I believe, feed into this syndrome. There have been times, where a superior would give me a team to train people how to do my work, in the event I get sick, travel, etc. I would then show these team members how to do the work, and it seemed like they would learn it, but then when I would ask them to do a section for me, they would say they didn’t know if they could do it, or make an excuse which leads to me doing 100% of the work.
- Now, I am realizing that having a “Rambo syndrome.” is not effective. I end up getting frustrated when I am doing things alone and it adds tension to my life when I am spending too much time on projects and/or cleaning up that it takes precious time away from my family. Jesus didn’t do ministry alone, neither should I.
- I’m an extrovert. I love being with people and having community bonding. It annoys my wife sometimes when I come back late at night from teaching at church and be so pumped full of energy when she is exhausted. But there are moments when I doubt, experience conflict, or have high degrees of stress where I begin to self-medicate. I didn’t think I was a stress eater, even though it runs in my family history of emotional eaters which leads to diabetes. but when it came to my initial weight gain in college I could see how a decrease in an active lifestyle connected with my stress eating lead to my unhealthy lifestyle. If my medication is not food, then it is laying in bed napping, or playing games for long periods of time.
- I need to work on positive outlets when I am feeling down. The big thing I need to do is when I am feeling down, I need to go to the Word and to the Lord in prayer. If there is one thing that this fast had taught me, is that when I am in continual and habitual prayer and worship, that even on my down days, I experience high levels of peace and boldness from the Holy Spirit. It makes me think of the prophet Daniel, who was always in a continual state of prayer to the Lord. I believe that was a huge factor when he was thrown into the lion’s den. Some may suggest that he might have been scared because of the circumstances but I believe that is our fears projected on the prophet. I believe he was thrown in boldly knowing that God was going to protect him and grant him justice, which is why he prayed in that pit and continue to pray after he was brought out. Pray hard when you are on the peaks of mountains so that when we are in valleys or pits, we will have a boldness to our prayers that the Lord will give comfort to those who are devoted to His will and ways.
- Lack of communication
- I use to think that my communication skills were great. Trained as an actor and motivation speaker, I am able to communicate clearly the content I am addressing. But when it comes to leadership, it is lacking. I think a lot of my issue stems from the “Rambo syndrome.” I think that if I communicate to others my plans or to motivate them on a project and they mess-up or fail that the criticism and mudslinging are going to be directed at me. If I am going to take the blame, I rather do it myself and be solely responsible for the blame then be blamed for another’s shortcomings. I know that this sounds petty and arrogant, but I have seen many examples in ministry where a director of a ministry get’s blamed for something that a counselor had done and get his name smeared. It pains me that it even happens in the first place due to believers being part of the body that represents Jesus Christ, but that is the reality.
- I had come to the realization that as a leader, I am going to get mud thrown my way, spit on, beaten, criticised and mocked (figuratively; hope not literally). However, Jesus went through all of that and was able to change the world and continues to change lives to this very day. So why am I afraid to carry the same cross that Jesus bore? Just because others could potentially act in an un-Christlike way, doesn’t mean that I should be timid. If I am connected with Christ in all I do, then I should be bold with my leadership and communications. When conflict does arrive, I can then act in the way of Christ through unconditional love, grace, and mercy.