It’s been five years since transitioning from corporate America into full-time ministry and a non-profit lifestyle. The last five years have been interesting, to say the least. There have been moments where I felt like a conqueror standing on top of a mountain, and there have been moments where I felt like I was in a valley, almost ashamed to show my face. I have experienced success, but I have also experienced failure. Some of the most dangerous and lonely times have come in my seasons of failing.
I remember sitting in my office staring at my goal sheet for Men of Iron in December 2012. It was the end of the year, and I had not accomplished the goals I had set for our organization. It wasn’t just one goal I didn’t accomplish – it was several – financial goals, growth goals, etc. I sat there dumbfounded. I had always gone above and beyond my goals in my previous career. I sat at the top of our team in my previous career. Now, I found myself sitting at the top of an organization trying to come to grips with how I had failed so miserably. I began to isolate myself. I remember thinking, “God, why did you send me here? Is this really what you want me to experience?” I started to believe the lie that I was inadequate to lead Men of Iron and began questioning whether working with churches and men was what I really wanted to do with my life. Fortunately, my wife, family and friends encouraged me to quit feeling sorry myself and to quit relying solely on myself to build Men of Iron. I was reminded that Men of Iron wasn’t my organization or ministry. Men of Iron was a vision from God, and He would make it what He wanted it to be.
Failure is inevitable. Regardless of the type of journey, failure will rear its head and gnash its teeth. Unfortunately, many of us allow our failures to define us. Allowing failure to define our manhood results in isolating ourselves and feeling inadequate. When we isolate and feel inadequate, then more failure resumes. It’s a crazy, dangerous cycle. We’re not the only ones who suffer. Our families, communities and churches all suffer when we allow failure and feelings of inadequacy to define us.
Men – you are adequate to lead effectively! The Bible highlights a truth concerning your ability to lead others. The Holy Spirit will help you when you feel inadequate.
Jesus encourages the people in Luke 12:11-12 when He says, “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”
When failure seems to be rearing its head and gnashing its teeth, do not worry about how you, alone, will defend yourself. Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will teach us at that time what we should do and say. Our families, churches, communities, businesses, careers, money, gifts and talents – they aren’t ours. God has blessed us with all of it. It’s His, and He will teach us how to lead each of them. Stay positive, keep your head up and lead with excellence!
Garret Barbush, Executive Director