Navigating the Swamp of People’s Expectations // PART TWO



You Cannot Lead without Conflict Whether you cause it or step into it, it comes with the territory!

This reality is one more reason why leadership can be a lonely business.


To that end, navigating the swarming currents of competing opinions and expectations is impossible without courage. Courage gives you the ability to withstand the push and pull of the crowd. It empowers you to make an unpopular decision. Courage is essential if you want to stand non-anxiously when a power broker challenges your agenda.

So, if courage is such a major game changer, how can you grow your own reservoir of courage?

Start here: I would argue that courage is more than internal fortitude that some people have and others don’t. It is a muscle grown by practice and nurtured by the well of personal security filled with God's perspective on who you are.


Think of it like this. If you as an adult, were to be attacked by a two-year-old throwing a tantrum, it might be awkward. It might even leave a temporary scratch. But, it wouldn’t really threaten you physically or emotionally. You might even laugh about it in the privacy of other adults. That’s what it’s like to live in the deep awareness of who God says you are. When others around you don’t get their way, want to challenge your decisions, or even want to vent their feelings, the brick wall of God’s perspective stands as a shield on your behalf.

The confidence that flows from living for the Audience of One, creates courage to stand before the opinions of the many.

The more you learn to live and lead out of the confidence of all God says is true of you, the more resilience you will find to withstand the conflict created by others. If you haven’t spend time recently digging into what God says about every follower of Christ, it’s time to listen afresh and let God speak to the deep places of your soul—the deep springs out of which godly courageous leadership flows.


After all, you are…

  • Chosen by God

  • A royal priest

  • A child of God

  • Fearfully and wonderfully made

  • Seated at the right hand of the Father in heavenly places

  • An heir of God

  • One in whom God takes delight

  • Someone God believed was worth dying for

  • A temple of the living God

  • And, the list goes on.


I know you are surrounded be people who want you to align yourself with their agendas. You have people who are all too comfortable sharing competing opinions. And, I know that somedays that aspect of leadership will wear you out.

I have been in leadership roles for over 40 years. I’ve had to wade through those murky waters more times than I can count. I haven’t always done a great job at it either. So I write this as a fellow swamp swimmer.


More than any other single aid for navigating the swamp of other people’s expectations I have learned this.


I need to life my eyes up. I need to look away from the gaze of people and their expressions of approval or disapproval and look to the gaze of the One who’s opinion trumps everything and everyone. When I do that, I sleep well at night.

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© 2020 by Gary Mayes