“It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.”
Proverbs 19:2 (NIV)
Such a thin line exists between confidence and arrogance. What do you think of when you contemplate those differences? How can you be confident without being a “know it all”? Is your arrogance actually covering up an insecurity you may have?
Until the past few years, I had worked within the same industry for over 20 years and had seen both very successful as well as very average ways of implementing greatness within a specific discipline. I had worked for small companies and large companies as well as companies that had grown from small to large during my tenure.
Recently I have headed back into this industry. However, I have found that instead of engendering confidence, I have been perceived to be displaying arrogance. I was told that I have been giving the impression that the current way of doing things is wrong and that I know a better way. I realized immediately that this thought rung true. I was bringing to this company with me a confidence and drive to assess and improve my surroundings. Although I did feel like there were some things that were working very well, there were also things that could be streamlined. However, the way in which I was communicating this was not being transmitted appropriately. I needed to find a better way to shine the light of Christ in my communications with others.
I took this feedback to God to see what He had for me to learn. I began to recognize that I sometimes still operate under the false belief that if I fail at something that makes me a failure. Because I was struggling to understand their current operating procedures, I felt like I was failing. Therefore, I was on a quest to adjust their systems and procedures to a way in which I could find success. However, at the core of this, I was actually covering up my own insecurity and my fear of failure. I needed to heed Proverbs 19:2. Instead of slowing down and first seeking to understand before seeking to be understood (Habit #5 per Stephen Covey’s bestseller 7 Habits of Highly Effective People), in the name of helping, I was charging like a bull in a china shop. I was traipsing forward with an overconfidence that was being perceived as arrogance. Scripture backs this concept of listening first in Proverbs 20:20, “Listen to advice and accept instruction and in the end you will be wise.”
My fear of failure was resulting in my inability to listen. In turn, I was being perceived as a problem instead of part of the solution. Andy Stanley said in a podcast on leadership that “Leaders who refuse to listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing helpful to say.”
Each time I take something to God, He is merciful in showing me where I need to continue growing to be more like Him. I am still operating out of a broken filter based on lies that I believe. Sanctification will continue to be a work in process on this side of eternity but there is hope and ongoing growth in His love.
Christian vocalist and speaker Lori Kennedy believes in sharing the gifts and talents in which Christ has blessed her. Authenticity, transparency, and vulnerability are imperative to touching hearts for the Lord. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse from those in authority over her outside of her family of origin, Lori has had to overcome much to fulfill the destiny that God created just for her!
You can find out more about Lori and her ministry, Alpha Omega Ministries, at her website www.lorikennedy.com.