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Avoiding the Gospel of Self Reliance

By April 15, 2019 No Comments

“The gospel of self-reliance is always bad news because it always leads to more anxiety.” – Steve Cuss

Does anxiety get in the way of your ability to be an effective leader? Is your inability to notice when you and those around you are anxious keeping you “stuck” in chronic unhealthy patterns? In Managing Leadership Anxiety, from Leadership Network NEXT/Harper Collins Christian Publishing Book Series, pastor and spiritual growth expert Steve Cuss offers powerful tools to help you move from being managed by anxiety to managing anxiety.

You’ll develop the capacity to notice your anxiety and your group’s anxiety. You will increase your sensitivity to the way groups develop systemic anxiety that keeps them trapped. Your personal self-awareness will increase as you learn how self gets in the way of identifying and addressing issues.

Managing Leadership Anxiety offers valuable principles to those who are hungry to understand the source of the anxiety in themselves and in the people with whom they relate. Readers will be empowered to take back control of their lives and lead in mature and vibrant ways.

The following is an excerpt from Managing Leadership Anxiety: Yours and Theirs

I believe leadership anxiety is generated when we think we need something in any particular moment that we don’t actually need.

When I began as a hospital chaplain, I would get anxious walking into a room because I believed I needed to know what to say or what to do. As much as I believed I needed that, it wasn’t true. As I progressed in my awareness, I was able to walk into a room not knowing what to say, not even knowing what I was walking into, because there was a larger truth at work beyond what I believed. I believed I needed knowledge to be okay; I believed I was required to say just the right thing to make things better. As I dug in deeper, I later learned that I believed I had to appear smart to be okay, so when I didn’t know what to say, I was managing my own feeling of inadequacy rather than connecting with the people in the room.

The greater truth was that God was present in those situations; God was in the room before I walked in, and God would guide me. I did not, in fact, need to know what to say. The more I depended on needing to say the right thing, the less effective I was as a chaplain.I was managing my own anxiety rather than paying attention to God. What is this dynamic, and why did I believe I needed it so strongly? Of course, I write in the past tense, but I still get anxious today in leadership contexts, and much of the time it is because the situation is putting pressure on what I think I need that I do not actually need. The situation is also blocking my capacity to notice and trust God in those moments.

Anxiety shrinks the power of the gospel because it presents a false gospel—one of self-reliance rather than reliance on God. The gospel of self-reliance is always bad news because it always leads to more anxiety. But if I can learn to notice it, eventually name its source and triggers, and move past it, I encounter the actual good news of Jesus, the gospel of grace, which always leads to freedom. The consistent witness of the New Testament is that freedom and life come when we deny, crucify, and are wary of something inside us that shrinks the gospel. What is it inside us that gets in the way?

Order your copy of Managing Leadership Anxiety: Yours and Theirs today.

After growing up in Perth, Western Australia, Steve eventually moved to the United States for where he married his wife Lisa. Together they have two sons and a daughter. He currently serves as Lead Pastor of Discovery Christian Church in Broomfield, Colorado, where he has been since 2005. He holds a Master of Divinity from Emmanuel Christian Seminary and has a varied and accomplished ministry background.

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“Talking about it brings transformation faster than just reading about it. Before MLA was a book it was a class where people interacted, shared stories, tried things, made changes. The video course starts where the book leaves off and gives a group a way to interact with the book together in 12 sessions. It has everything you need including facilitator guide, schedule, templates and pdfs as well as the videos.”

For more information and to sign up, go here.

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Greg Ligon

Author Greg Ligon

Greg Ligon has been with Leadership Network since 1997. He serves several Leadership Community Directors and oversees the organizations publishing partnerships. During his time at LN, he has also directed the Multi-Site Churches Leadership Community, Leadership Training Network and spearheaded strategic services for the organization. Greg is also one of the authors of The Multi-site Church Revolution and A Multi-site Church Road Trip. Prior to joining the LN team, Greg was responsible for creating and directing the United Methodist Campus Ministry at Southern Methodist University in Dallas for seven years. He also served as associate pastor at First United Methodist Church in Waco, Texas. Greg and his wife, Susan, have two sons, Daniel and Andrew.

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