One of the hardest things you may have to do over the next few days, weeks and months is to BE the Leader that holds the light and strength for everyone around you.
You have all learned by now that certain people have special spirits, and people are drawn to you for your leadership, your courage and your inner strength. This will happen even more right now, when there are so many searching for answers. In order for you to do that, you need to understand that these experiences will cause you to blossom into the leaders you are meant to become!
In my life, I never had aspirations of being a leader, but God had other plans. The roads I have traveled have taught me many things. So first I will share the messages I learned, and the strength I received along the way. It may seem to someone in pain, or struggling during these difficult times, that Spiritual leaders and mentors don’t “have any problems”; they seem so calm and assured. But as I have walked these 65 years on the road of life, I have come to understand just the opposite is true! Prophets, leaders, messengers and even Shamans have all experienced and struggled just like you…in some cases, maybe more!
The truth in life is not that we should be cushioned from hardship and pampered. In fact, you may know of people who have been sheltered all their life, and their inner spiritual strength or wisdom seems shallow, or even lacking all together.
As I did research for my books on world religions, reading the Bible, the Torah, the Qur’an and the writings of Spiritual Masters from ancient times, I saw an amazing common thread. Each holy texts and writings discuss how hardship brings us courage, humility, compassion and so much more:
“And we will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to those who are patient.” – Qur’an 2:155
“He delivers the afflicted by their affliction and opens their ears by adversity.”–Job 36:15 KJ Bible
“A gem cannot be polished without friction, no man perfected without trials.” — Confucius
“Hardships make us strong. Problems give birth to wisdom. Sorrows cultivate compassion. Those who have suffered the most will become the happiest.” — Daisaku Lkeda founder of Soka Gokkai Buddhism
“Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny.”— C. S. Lewis
The concept of a plain, boring piece of carbon (coal) after extreme heat and incredible pressure, becomes the exquisite and indestructible Diamond is so true! It is the struggle of a butterfly in a cocoon, which strengthens its wings for flight.
Hardship is not a punishment…it is a gift! I have learned, invariably, that my trials were lessons I needed to learn. But each one changed me for the better. In fact, this understanding has been burned into my soul. I believe it so strongly that I never wish someone’s trial be taken away. Instead, I pray for them to have courage and wisdom; using their inner light to guide them through the darkness.
One more important thought. As you feel people drawn to you for council and emotional support, remember to give freely to them, praying always that you will have the words they need to hear at that moment. Your quest for leadership is upon you! I know you will do well, and God will bless you as you share your light with others.
Leadership in Crisis was originally published by International Youth Parliament