Sunday at church the sermon was on leadership. It was based on Acts 20:28:
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

The pastor talked about how the positions of leadership that you are in, whether it's over a large corporation...or just a home and family, are given to you by the Holy Spirit. They don't belong to you...they are God's...bought and paid for with his own blood. You are simply the stewards over those gifts and that we all need to strive to be good leaders.

I started thinking about the positions in my life where I am in places of responsibility and leadership. First of all, at work I am often charge nurse. Really, it's not that big of a deal...but even there I can find places to either gain or lose respect. Most importantly, my children came to my mind. They have been the largest (and most challenging, might I add) responsibility I have ever had in my life. Naturally, they're also where I've had the most challenges.

The pastor was talking about the first part of the verse that says, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves...". He reminded us of how it's so important when in a position of leadership that you have to nurture and take care of yourself first. Such as on an airplane when the oxygen masks fall down. They always tell parents to go against their natural first instinct and place the masks on themselves vs. their children. Afterall, if you're child is well-oxygenated and you're not...how can you take care of them and protect them? You can't. It's imperative to take care of yourself and make sure that you're healthy because "if you're sick then you will lead in a sick way." This has always been something that I've known and strove hard for. Sometimes I do better than at other times. But I've always said, "My kids are only going to do as good as I do." I'm always trying to analyze, pray, grow, change, do the best thing. I hope that when it's all said and done that my kids will see the good and not just my downfalls.

He also talked about how a shepard LEADS his sheep, he doesn't drive them. He walks in front and the sheep follow. He isn't behind them nagging or shoving. He sets the example and he is followed. My question has been this... so if I'm leading, why am I not being followed??? Why does at least one of my sheep always feel the need to forge her own path among the dangerous rocks and other dangers? Just like the shepard who will leave the flock to save the one wanderer, I have left to go find her so many times. I bring her back to the fold. I teach her (at least I try to). I try to be a better example to her. I try to watch more closely. But still, she insists on venturing out again.

I'm at a loss as to what to do anymore. I don't want to be like the lifeguard that sees someone drowing and in danger, but has to wait until the victim passes out in order to save them because they won't quit thrashing and doing themselves harm. I don't want to see my children harmed. Plus, they are a reflection of me. Acting a fool out in the world people will look and say "where is the mother? who taught them to act that way?" Well, she is right here! And she hasn't taught them to act that way! And she is struggling to save them from themselves right now.

Lord, I'm not sure what to do...please show me.