27 min
By: ENC Leaders

Episode 6: Leading in Anxious Times, The Leader’s Emotions

Paying attention to your emotions, experiencing their full weight, and trusting God with them is the first step in the hard work of leadership.

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Show notes:

2:38 – Recapping Episode 5: Leading in Anxious Times (A Series Overview) with Seth Trimmer

  • The Family Systems theory says: “We are responsible for our actions. We stay connected with people. We deal with our anxiety.”
  • This school of thought…
  1. Respects individual freedom. We don’t manipulate people into doing what we want against their will.
  2. Empowers the leader
  3. Allows you to start from wherever you are. You don’t need to be an expert. Just start by taking responsibility for your actions, staying connected with people, and bringing the anxiety in the system to God.
  4. Is very forgiving. If you get it wrong, just acknowledge what you did wrong and start again.
  5. Is foundational. All the best leadership moves and lessons you’ve seen can be used, but this is the foundation.

6:20 – The Leader’s Emotions

  • One important piece of family systems theory is the leader’s emotions.
  • This is important to discuss, because we are all emotional. If you are a human being, you are emotional. We’re just emotional about different things.
  • If we’re going to lead, we need to face the facts about ourselves.

9:05 – Emotionally Healthy Spirituality 

  •  “Allow yourself to experience the full weight of your feelings. Allow them without censoring them. Then you can reflect thoughtfully and decide what to do with them. Trust God to come to you through them. This is the first step in the hard work of discipleship.” – Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Pete Scazzero
  • This is the first step in the hard work of leadership as well.
  • Very often, leaders are the first to deny their emotions. But when we do this, our leadership becomes inauthentic and ineffective because we are not facing our reality—which includes the reality within ourselves.
  • In an attempt to avoid being driven by our emotions, we just deny them.
  • We have fears when it comes to allowing ourselves to feel the full weight of our emotions. But we have to remember God is not threatened by our feelings.

Some practical steps:

  1. Don’t deny your emotions.
  • They’re valid. They exist. 
  • Bring what you feel to God and see what He does with it.
  • When we deny our emotions, we also block God from what He wants to do.
  1.  Don’t be driven by your emotions.
  • They aren’t the whole picture. While they’re valid, you can also take a step back.
  • “It’s fine that I feel this way, but I don’t have to do what my emotions are telling me what to do.”
  • Genesis 4: Cain is angry with Abel. God doesn’t tell him, “Don’t get angry. Don’t have emotions.” God asks, “Why are you angry? Be careful. Sin is crouching at your door.” 
  • Sin was at Cain’s door. What he was about to do, not the fact that he had emotions, was what would show if sin had mastery over him. It’s possible to choose a different outcome, but that comes with acknowledging our emotions.

18:00 – Differentiation

  • Differentiation, according to Murray Bowen, the founder of modern family systems theory: The capacity of a person to “define his or her own life’s goals and values apart from the pressures of those around them.” 
  • Differentiation is the ability to do the right thing, based on what God’s telling me, and apart from the pressures of social media, my family and friends, and my emotions.
  • Differentiation is key to a great leader.

18:55 – Four practical ways to apply what you learned

  1. Pay attention to your emotions.
  • You can do this in silence and solitude, and this season of quarantine is a great time for this.
  • “Name it to tame it” – Our emotions continue to run rampant, because we’re not even admitting them.
  1. Find trusted companions.
  • Find people around you who you can be honest with. 
  1. Move out of your comfort zone.
  • One big piece of being emotionally honest is admitting to what’s really going on.
  • This requires reflection and this also asks us to share with the right people—people who can give you guidance and the loving response you need.
  1. Bring it to God.
  • God restores our soul. (Psalm 23)
  • How emotionally honest are you with God?
  • David was a man after God’s own heart. A big part of this is his emotional honesty with God.

Other resources mentioned in this podcast episode:

  1. Get connected with Pastor Joe’s campus ministry Instagram

The ENC Leadership Podcast is hosted by Joseph Bonifacio.

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