Leaders Don’t Give Up When Leading Gets Difficult

“The LORD said to Joshua, ‘Stand up! What are you doing down on your face?’” Joshua 7:10 NIV

The people Joshua was supposed to be leading were not going in the direction he was supposed to be taking them. The Israelites had fallen to the ways of the world, following other gods, and choosing to reject their commitments made to God and to Joshua.

Joshua, in a fit of desperation, tore his clothes and fell on his face before God. In essence, God must have seen into Joshua’s heart (He does that well) and saw that Joshua was ready to quit. God’s word to Joshua: STAND UP! Joshua had an assignment from God and it wasn’t time to give up his post.

When I read this recently it was a great reminder of our calling as leaders. Too many times, I have been tempted to give up when the pressure mounts too heavily, but that’s not how a leader responds to troubled times.

Are you a weary leader? I know the feeling, but I need to remind you that leaders don’t give up when things get difficult…

Sure, critics will arise…
People will resist your leadership…
Some days nothing will seem to go right…
You’ll be over your head many times in your leadership…
Quitting may even seem like the best alternative…
Still, in spite of the circumstances, leaders push through and pursue the vision God has called them to…

If God has called you to a task, don’t let others distract you…don’t let fear or failure get in your way…don’t allow the discomfort or setbacks of leadership keep you down for long. Stand up! Fight the good fight! Complete the task! Give God the glory!

That’s what leaders do!

Have you ever been tempted to lie down on the calling God placed on your life? How did you find the courage to keep going?

Share your story here and let it encourage others.

(For similar encouragement, read THIS POST.)

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 23 Comments

  • Seeking says:

    It seems that at times, I am very anxious to do the work of the ministry. I've been called to the ministry for several years now and I faultered and got back up, faultered and got back up again. At this point in my life, I really can see the "hand of God" leading me in full-time ministry. It's hard when you don't seem to have that enthusiastic encouragement from others in ministry. They seem to be discouraging you from pressing on in what you know God has called you to do. Perhaps it's just their concern because they know what lies ahead. Days are difficult. How I will make money to support myself is a concern but not as much of one as it is for me to teach the gospel. I may be looking at things through rose colored glasses, but I believe that God will provide.

    • ronedmondson says:

      I had some of this when I surrendered to vocational ministry, but really only from a few people. I spent so long in the business world first, that some thought I should stay where I was and support the Kingdom financially. It's scary stepping out by faith. I'm praying for you!

  • michele says:

    very timely for me, standing on the cliff of giving up. being bombarded on all fronts and ready to give in. done all i know to do spiritually, physically and emotionally. what's next?

  • If being an effective leader was easy, it wouldn't mean much to be one. It is easier to give in to the pressures when we are not sure of our God-given purpose. Once we are blessed with our purpose we can stand up to any challenge and stay strong. Great Post!

  • karen says:

    All praise and glory to our God.
    When I get to the point of thinking I can no longer go on with the task set before me, God sends yet another encouragement. He is so faithful and meets all our needs. I thank Him daily for you and for leaders like you.

  • […] Leaders Don’t Give Up When Leading Gets Difficult […]

  • But do I have to go to Nineveh? They don't like me, they'll never listen, …. ____I've got a better idea, Lord. I'll do it my way just this time…____It's conversations like these that we as leaders, dads, husbands have internally that determine our rate of growth and ultimately effectiveness in our calling. If it's a hard decision or choice, it's probably the right one.

  • patriciazell says:

    I imagine the greatest test in leadership is all the drama involved (much like in teaching teenagers)–that drama probably trumps any other leadership challenges. How wonderful it is that we can go to God and ask Him to make good out of the worst drama. I think one thing to remember is that every person wants to be loved and if we make sharing God's absolute love our top priority, the drama and its stress may ease up.

  • My wife and I are currently going through a transition. We believe we are doing what God has called us to do and in the way He has called us to do it. As expected we have come under fire and taken some very hard hits. So much so that we have considered "laying down" until we make our transition. We have been challenged spiritual to be push through the hurt and to give thanks, both verbally and in our prayers, for the trials.
    James 1:2, 4 has taken on a whole new meaning for us in this last month. In remaining thankful God has given us the strength to press on. It still stings, and we still desire for the pain to be gone, but we know God has called us to be thankful and He will justify us. And that thought has gotten us through many down moments!

    • Thanks for sharing this. It helps me have something to pray for you about. I certainly understand that type pressure and criticism. It’s double edged. It strengthens but it also hurts. Praying God continues to strengthen you mightily through your hurts.

  • Paul says:

    Very good reminder, and just what I needed to hear today. Thanks

  • reid klos says:

    I know this is focused mainly on leaders, yet I wanted you to know, Ron, that it's what I needed to hear on a personal level. I'm single, no children and don't have a stated leadership position. I always feel, however, that my profession as a follower of Christ calls me to be one in my everyday life at work, at the gym, in dance class, around my friends, at church, out and about…
    Last night, as I crawled in bed I told God that I was feeling like my life was slipping away. I've noticed I've slacked in some areas, I've even pick up habits that I had once run from. My exact words were, "Father, I think I'm giving up."
    To scroll through the twitter chaos and see your post fills my heart and mind with joy that He inclined His ear to my groaning and answered me through one of my brothers. Thanks man

    • ronedmondson says:

      Oh, but my friend, I think we are all called to be leaders in the circles of life in which God has placed us. We lead in different ways, with different intensities and callings, but we are certainly called to lead others towards the One who sets the stars in place! Keep leading well!

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