I have six kids ages 2-23. Four are still at home, and they look to me daily. They are watching me, listening. I often hear my words coming out of their mouths. They follow in my footsteps, and I know my good habits and bad habits may someday be theirs. How do I know? Many times I hear my mom’s words coming out of my mouth. I find myself following in her footsteps in numerous ways.
Remembering this reminds me how much I am a leader. The best leaders aren’t strict rulers but rather part of a greater mission. The best leaders allow themselves to be led.
This wasn’t always the case for me. I was a single mom, and I prayed for a future husband . . . and a godly dad for my son. I met and married a wonderful Christian man, yet I had high expectations. I expected John to have the passion of King David, the practicality of Paul, and lead with the gentleness of Jesus. I expected him to see all of life as a chance to relate Biblical truths and moral lessons to our family. My poor husband!
John was a great provider, and he always spent time with me and the kids, yet when he didn’t step forward and lead our family spiritually as I thought he should. I tried to “help” him along. I grumbled, prodded, and offered—ahem—encouragement. Yet the more I pushed, the more John retreated. When I prayed about John’s “issue,” God turned my pointing finger back on me. God told me I didn’t make a very good personal Holy Spirit for my husband.
I took the hint. I stepped back and kept my mouth shut, and something amazing happened—John stepped forward. One day he asked if we could read the Bible and pray together in the mornings. Of course I answered, “Yes!”
Being a parent is the most important life-role leadership job I’ll ever have—you’ll ever have. If you’re married and your spouse isn’t the spiritual leader you dream of, close your mouth and pray. Trust that God can guide your husband in a better way than you ever could! Also lead your children as well as you can with God as your guide.
Wanting to set a good example for your children is important, but the most important part is keeping your eyes on God and asking Him to lead your path, while also praying for your spouse. Jesus was a servant-leader, not a demanding guide. We’ll do well if we do the same. The best leaders find joy in being led, rather than trying to force their way.