This is How You Know You’re A Leader

Allison Vesterfelt

Through a series of accidents, I was in student leadership in high school.

I never felt much like a leader. The kids in leadership were young life kids, the “rah-rah” game-playing kids. They were the dance-attending kids, the popular kids, the outgoing, sports-playing, quick-on-their-feet kids. They were the debate kids, the well-spoken kids, the shop-at-Abercrombie kids. I was nothing like them. I was the book-reading kid. The unsure-of-herself kid. The slow-to-decide-kid. The wallflower.

*Photo Credit: Oleh Slobodeniuk, Creative Commons

*Photo Credit, Oleh Slobodeniuk, Creative Commons

I didn’t belong. And yet, those four years on student leadership taught me about what it took to be a leader.

They would show me I already was one, whether I liked it or not.

One of my favorite stories from the Bible is the story of Moses.

God comes to Moses and asks him to be a leader to his people. Moses’ response isn’t ideal. It’s not what you’re supposed to say when God himself asks you to do something. But I get it, you know? I understand Moses in this moment. He says, basically, ‘why me, God? Can’t you find someone else? I’m not really very good at this stuff.” They go back and forth for quite awhile before God finally gets angry with Moses.

This is not about you! God tells him. It’s about ME. Stop worrying.

I think the reason I like the story so much is because I feel Moses’ pain. Most of the time, when God calls me to step up and lead, when He calls me to make a decision or take responsibility, I want to say no. I want to say, “Can’t you find someone else?” I’m not really leadership material.”

And yet, I’m starting to think we don’t get to decide if we’re leaders or not.

We just get to choose how we steward the position.

I used to think some people were leaders and some were followers. It was just the way God made us. But lately I’m starting to think I was wrong about that. The world isn’t divided between leaders and followers. The world is full of people who are all called to lead in different areas, at different times, in different ways.

Leadership isn’t about personality or attention or charm.

Leadership is about accountability, responsibility and service. (Tweet This)

God is calling us to lead in our marriages, to lead in our friendships, to lead in our communities, to lead in our workplaces. He’s calling us to lead in our churches, to lead ourselves into new ways of thinking, to better decisions. He’s calling us to lead in our neighborhoods and on airplanes and in elevators.

He’s calling us to lead—calling you to lead—like he called Moses.

And you might be saying, “Really? Why me? Can’t you send someone else?” But that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad leader. In fact, it might mean you’re a great leader.

The best leaders are reluctant leaders. Or, at least, that’s what my friend Thad says, and it really helps me. When I find myself hesitant to take accountability for the story unfolding around me, I remind myself no leader feels totally ready. No leader feels good enough, no leader feels completely prepared.

And yet no leader has to. It’s not about me anyway. So I can stop worrying.

Allison Vesterfelt

Allison Vesterfelt

This is a post by Allison Vesterfelt, one of the Storyline Contributors. Allison is a blogger and the author of Packing Light: Thoughts on Living Life with Less Baggage . You can find out more about her on her website and make sure to follow along on Twitter (@allyvest) for regular updates. To read more of her posts on the Storyline Blog, click here.