Ever met someone that you had an immediate visceral reaction to? It may be that you are immediately drawn to them or repelled by them but they have not done anything that deserves either response. It happens to all of us but as Spiritual Leaders we know that we can’t let these reactions affect the way we do our ministry. But it does doesn’t it. We put on our game face and try to act as if everything is perfectly normal. So what’s really happening here?
When we find ourselves being emotionally moved and we don’t know why then there is usually something deeper and more profound going on in us. This person has touched an area of our hearts that bypasses our reasoning and goes directly to our emotions. It has little to do with them and a whole lot to do with us. Why do we even care about these undefined emotions? Because when this happens you have just stumbled upon the golden door into the inner workings of your life.
It is exactly these inner undefined parts that cause us the most trouble in leadership. When we don’t understand why we respond why we do we are doomed to continue to act on these emotions or (which is almost as bad) we stuff them and act like nothing us wrong. It is a major reason why leaders fall into inappropriate relationships. They are attracted to someone without recognizing that this attractions is coming from some unhealed wound or unmet need and before they know it they are caught in a devastating involvement.
So what should we do? Here are some practical suggestions when you recognize that your emotional response to someone (or something) is out of balance.
Monitor your heart: If you haven’t any practice identifying your feelings this can be very difficult. You may need to practice by getting very simplistic. Write out these six emotions: Happy, Sad, Angry, Anxious, Tender, Afraid, and then every ½ hour throughout the day identify the one that you are feeling at that moment. This will get you into the habit of identifying your feelings.
Develop an inner conversation with God concerning your feelings. The prayer could go something like this: “Lord, I am feeling __________ when I am around this person or situation. I ask you to show me why. What is it in me that is responding this way and what does this reveal about state of my heart. Give me the ability to this person or circumstance through new untainted eyes so I can be your servant.
Be in the continual process of healing: We all are broken and hurting. One of the quotes that has been most meaningful in my journey is:
If we run away from these wounds we are running into hidden snares and deep pitfalls that will hamper if not destroy our ministries - and our lives. Humility is a core competency of a Spiritual Leader and it evidenced by our willingness to recognize the road signs that tell us to slow down there is construction work ahead.
If there is ever anything we at TWRC can do to assist you it would be our honor and passion to do so. Just drop us a line or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org