Leading Your Family When You Have No More Strength


What do you do, as the leader of your family, when you feel your strength is gone?  When you feel like what was once in your control, is now out of your control.  When you used to be able to solve any challenge or any issue, but now challenges and issues keep mounting at a pace you feel you cannot keep up with?

I am not who I used to be…

My 38th birthday is nearing, and I didn’t believe the hype of “older” friends and family who said they began to “feel” older after 30, after 35, or when nearing 40.  Now I am feeling like it wasn’t hype at all.  Yes, I can still go out play ball pretty much when I want, I can play in the yard or at the park with my kids without any issues, but I do admit I do not feel as strong as I used to.

Leading your family in battle…

I am not speaking physically as much as I am mentally and emotionally.  At one point I felt like I was always in control physically, mentally, and definitely emotionally.  I could win those battles easily.  Fast forward to today, and sometimes I feel I do not have the strength fight some of the battles I face.  I’ve been in plenty of “battles”, had many victories and many defeats, but something is different now.  I have worn down to a degree, over the years.

Tested, worn, but not done…

With all that said, what do I do?  I cannot quit.  I will not quit.  My family needs me.  My wife, those 3 “little” people that have my initials all need me.  My parents, (birth & in-laws), and siblings need me.  The families in our homeschooling group need me, the kids I teach at church need me, the kids at the school I work need me.  I need me!

Learning and leading is not a solo act…

It is no joke when you are expected to be the leader, while you are learning to be a leader.  And your shortcomings as a leader directly impact those you love the most, those who need you the most.  I thought I was alone in this area, until I read a post by my friend and fellow husband/dad, Eric Payne, on his blog Makes Me Wanna Holler.  In the post Eric said he felt like he “had just come out of a ‘winter’ that lasted four years.”  At times while reading his post, I felt I was reading something I could have written!

Where do I get the strength?

It was a relief and source of encouragement to me.  To know someone else out there has been broken down, but even so kept at it, regained strength, and is moving forward with hope.  That is what I plan to do, to get better, not worse.  To become stronger through all of this, whatever ‘this’ is.  My greatest source of encouragement is I believe God’s plans for me are the same.  While I was reading this morning, here is what I read:

“those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”  Isaiah 40:31

Moving forward…

As I move forward, there are a few things which will help my journey.  They can help you too.  Be encouraged, be renewed, and be everything you intend to be.  For you, for your families, and all of us who need you.

  1. Stop, look, and listen.  Sometimes the “noise” gets so loud that you become distracted.  Occasionally you need to just stop what you are doing.  Take an honest look at where you are, and listen to the truth.  Sometimes we deceive ourselves.  When you are faced with truth, you must act on it.
  2. Simplify your life.  From technology distractions advancements to the hundreds of activities available for your family, things can get complicated.  You and your kids do not have to be involved in everything.  Be more involved with spending real quality time together.
  3. Scale down.  During this “Great Recession” a word most have come to know is downsizing.  Downsizing has led to many families scaling down their lifestyles.  Sometimes we need to do the same.  We cannot be everything for everybody.  Get rid of extra baggage, commitments, and sometimes relationships.
  4. Remember why.  Why do you do what you do?  What excites you?  Things may have changed over the years, or you may have become distracted.  Refocus on what is most important and keep it at the front of your mind.
  5. Quit voicing concerns and start thanking.  The broken record of what you are facing must not only be stopped, but thrown out.  After all, we listen to music digitally nowadays!  Seriously, I’m not saying be in denial, but you don’t have to be on repeat either.  Acknowledge what you are facing, pray, seek help, and start being thankful for the resolution.  It will come.

Just like I realized in reading Eric’s post, I am not the only one.  You may be in that four-year “winter” as well, or heading into it.  Begin to face whatever it is head on.  Do the things I’ve listed above, start your journey to renew your strength, and be a better leader for your family.

Question:  Have you experienced a similar time when you feel your strength was failing, and everything seemed to be a huge struggle?  Please share your experience in the comment section below.

photo credit: Official U.S. Navy Imagery via photopin cc

Jan 14, 2013