There seems to be an unwritten theory that leaders must have it all figured out. I know I’ve placed many leaders I’ve admired on pedestals of my own making, only to realize later that my expectations were too high. In my eagerness to follow them, I have often presumed that their plans and goals reach further than they actually do, and sometimes I’ve been disappointed as a result. And people have more than likely been disappointed when they expected too much out of me as well.

It’s easy for me to look at my own deficiencies and shortcomings, but I fail to remember now and again that others have limitations too.

As I was working at my desk the other day, I realized I had gotten lost in thought. I glanced up at the shelf in front of my desk and noticed some notes I’ve written to myself. It seems I need to be reminded of a few things very often. In different seasons of life, the notes have changed. But there are almost always needed reminders.

I thought I’d let you in on my current set of quoted reminders to myself.

  • “What other people think of me is none of my business.” Eleanor Roosevelt (You’ve probably heard of her. She was the wife of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.)

  • “Criticism is the cost of influence. The more influential you are, the more critics you get.” Rick Warren (Pastor of Saddleback Church in California and author of the book, “The Purpose Driven Life.”)

  • “You get to choose your pain in life: the pain of growth/change or the pain of regret.” Chip Judd (Counselor and teacher with Real Life Ministries and a pastor at Seacoast Church in South Carolina.)

  • “God doesn’t expect us to give what we don’t have; He wants us to give what we do have. Jodi Ruch (Pastor’s wife at Emmanuel Christian Center and a good friend of mine.)

  • “If we have the audacity to ask, he has the ability to respond.” Jessica Bakken (College student and friend – wise beyond her years.)

As leaders, we need to encourage each other and build each other in the faith. We need to acknowledge when someone has done a good job around us and show gratitude for great effort or accomplishment. But we also need to watch for the ones who need a little bit of propping up, those who might feel low about their project or situation.

Exaggerated Expectations meme

And we need to monitor ourselves to make sure we’re propped up, too. Sometimes it’s easier to watch out for everyone else’s well-being rather than our own. We have to make sure that we are staying plugged in
to our own personal relationship with God, or we will soon find that we have nothing left to give to others.

Write yourself a note to remind you. It works for me.