Unarrived Leading
By Anthony Casperson

Often, the best way to lead and/or teach is by example. So, here I go.

This past Monday, I experienced what was probably the worst panic attack I’ve had in quite a few years. I did all the little tricks I know to help. But nothing would work The non-stop sense of being unable to breathe just kept going. I started to wonder if there was actually something wrong with my oxygen intake, instead of just a panic attack. And that certainly didn’t help the issue.

So, I went to the ER. The nurse at the desk said that it was probably the panic attack and nothing worse. To back up her words, she pointed out the read of my oxygen levels. It showed normal levels. There was proof that breathing wasn’t the actual problem.

After a couple of hours of feeling panic (while still in the waiting room to be seen), I finally began to calm. And I was free to leave without actually seeing any doctor.

The panic attack wasn’t brought about because of any single issue, but rather a whole bunch of small things that could each be handled on their own. It was just the build up of a bunch of things. And as I continued to think about them throughout the rest of the day and the next, I realized that the panic would just keep coming back if I remained contemplating that direction.

So, I tried to think about something else. What to write for today’s blog came to mind. But almost as quickly as that idea came, another thought flooded in.

“How much of a hypocrite are you? Do you really think that you, Mr. Panic Attack, have any right to teach about trusting God in the midst of difficulties when you’ve so recently failed? Can you honestly lead people when you continue to struggle with the same thing, over and over? Especially after that bad of one?”

To be clear before I continue on to my point, those words in the paragraph above are a lie. They are evil words that do not come from God.

Just as I began to listen to that lie, a memory of truth flooded in and solidified into what I want to write about for this blog. When I was in seminary, I had to read a certain book that comes from an odd place, but maintains a true word about leadership in general.

The author of that book had never thought that he could ever be a leader. He didn’t have that certain magnetism that most people want to follow. He wasn’t an expert in anything. As a matter of fact, most people would consider him a nobody. But he was taught something that has stuck with me for over a decade now.

You don’t need to have “arrived” to lead. You just need to be further along the track.

Leading and teaching is less about knowing everything, and more about calling others to follow you as you continue to grow as well. You don’t have to be perfect or have all the answers to help other people. What you do need is a continued life of pressing on and a willingness to encourage others to follow.

It almost sounds biblical. Like Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” The Apostle wasn’t perfect. He still strove to follow the only perfect one. But that didn’t stop him from calling others to follow him along the way.

If you don’t think that you can teach or be a leader in a spiritual sense because you’ve only just come to Jesus, or because you think you need a seminary degree to mentor someone spiritually, or because you keep listening to the lies about being disqualified on account of your continued failings, think again. There are many people out there who can benefit from the things you do know or have worked on. The one caveat is, if we continue to grow spiritually ourselves.

As long as we continue pursuing the perfect Son of God, we’re qualified to lead others at least as far as we’ve gotten. No matter how much or how little we think that is. Though it often proves to be much more valuable than we expect.

And one thing that my experience has taught me is that being honest about our limits with those we lead/teach helps both sides grow. So, my desire in this is to say that if you feel like you have yet to “arrive” at a place to lead or teach others, that assumed requirement is a lie.

Stop listening to it.