We were talking and I could feel that familiar tension spreading throughout my heart and mind...the desire to look right and spiritual and like I have my act together warring with my desire for honesty and transparency.
Usually the desire to be seen as competent and spiritual wins, but that day, almost before I realized it, I quickly slipped out my confession of inadequacy. I was ready to brush past it and move on with the conversation. It was almost an aside, really. But she paused me, and the words she said and look in her eyes that came next essentially said...
"I'm so relieved to hear that. Me too."
In that moment, I was reminded of the power of going first. There is a releasing and freeing that takes place when we are willing to be the first one to be humble.
And for a moment I'm going to speak to leaders: those of us who formally or informally guide, disciple, teach, or lead other believers. There is a special power when we will be the first ones to step out in humility and admit struggle or need or failure or insufficiency.
So I'm asking you and I'm asking myself, when was the last time you said... "I'm sorry..." "I was wrong..." "Please forgive me for..." "I need help..." "Please pray for me..." "I've haven't been doing what I know I should..." "It's been awhile since I..." "I've gotten out of the habit of..." "This is an area I'm a struggling in..." "My heart has been wrong in this area..." "This area is hard for me..."
And we need to say these things simply and leave them there. We don't need to give reasons and stories and lessons or even a sermon on how we know we're wrong. Instead, we need to admit our struggles and leave it there.
Leave the door open for them to say "me too".
Leave the door open for them to encourage and bless us.
Leave the door open for them to breathe in the freedom that comes from realizing that no one is perfect.
Be the one to start the conversation of humility.
Be the one to open the door to free others up to speak their own struggles.
Be the one honest enough to show your own imperfections.
Be the one bold enough to go first in admitting weakness and being humble.
Humility is such a precious gift that we can give to those we lead and serve.