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Hearing God's Voice in Leadership: Overcoming the Obstacles to Stillness and Solitude

Updated: Aug 17, 2023




It’s tempting as a leader to think we couldn’t possibly have or take time for our own silence, solitude or certainly listening for the voice of God.


It’s counter intuitive.


It reminds me of what a friend who’s a former military commander told me what made him successful in his service.


“I was always tempted to try to outwork everyone else when we were in the field,” he told me.


“Yet, I had to remember my main job as the leader. It was to regularly stop… take inventory. Look around. Make sure we were heading in the right direction. See if we needed to make changes.”


The Busy Leader Lie


If you’re a coach, leader, or entrepreneur, you know that you receive constant messages saying, “You’re too busy and have too much on your mind to spend time in solitude, pause or listen to God.”

  • You’ve got demands.

  • You’ve got responsibilities.

  • You have to-dos.

“Besides,” we tell ourselves (a lie here), “I’m no good at getting still and making room for non-strategic things like stillness, solitude or seeking God in your challenges and priorities of my busy weeks.”


Some years ago, I bought a book with the title that says it all with great irony. It was called “Too Busy Not to Pray.”


The word not almost seems like a mistake. It’s not “too busy to pray.” It’s “too busy NOT to pray.”


The Jesus Challenge for Leaders


Jesus challenged his leaders to get over their purely physical and tit for tat view of life, leadership, and progress. He taught,


“Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.” (Mark 11:23)

And

“So, I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Luke 11:9)

Jesus saw a reality and an important mindset that matters more than any strategy, consultant or hard work could make happen. Spiritual and supernatural.


So why wouldn’t a leader lead by leading in prayer? Seeking God? Setting aside time for hearing whisper and getting leadings?


I share these from my own experience with myself…


1. We are afraid of emptiness.


In a world that promotes productivity and measurable outcomes, the idea of pausing and being still can be uncomfortable. We may feel anxious about confronting our own thoughts and emotions, or they may fear that silence will expose their insecurities or inadequacies.


It’s OK to admit it… and seek stillness anyway.


2. Our busyness is a way to avoid confrontation with our own fears.


Our busyness can be a form of avoidance. We can fill our schedules to the brim as a means of escaping self-reflection, facing unresolved issues, or encountering their own fears and insecurities. Being constantly on the move can cause us to avoid stillness, where introspection and vulnerability may arise.


That’s real… but we can seek stillness anyway.

3. We don’t realize just how much better offer we’d be if we were led ... not just smart.


Of course, we’re smart… but is God smarter?


Does the Creator know what’s coming in the economy better than we do? Might God know who we need to hire next better than we do?


Might God’s business play be better than our busyness plan?


If you got still today… Really still… sometime today and just asked, “God do you want me to know something?” what might happen?


By acknowledging your obstacles, and intentionally creating space for stillness, overcoming fears, and prioritizing your spiritual well-being, might you be a leader who doesn’t just fall into the same traps as those around you… and instead open yourself the transformative power of encountering God in quiet moments such as

  • Clarity,

  • Renewal,

  • Guidance

  • Courage

With you and for you,


Coach Jeff


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