I've been pondering the burden of leadership. Let me explain... A lot of people have come through the revolving door of our ministry in the past decade: interns, mission team members, staff. Many others are tied into us through their support. All in all, we have a huge spiderwebbed network of people that are connected to Thrive Africa. And that makes them connected to Niel and I.
While I don't personally stay in touch with every single person in the Thrive spiderweb, I correspond with as many as I can (and as many as want to write back!) and we pray often for our entire extended family.
The past few weeks have unraveled some heartbreaking things that are going on in our family members' lives. It culminated this morning with the news---before 8 AM, mind you---that two people had just lost loved ones.
And it's left my heart feeling heavy.
So I'm wrestling with this whole burden of leadership thing. I know I'm not responsible for people, only to them. I know I can't carry the burdens that others carry in their lives. I know that allowing myself to get "emotionally involved" with even a fraction of the thousands of people that are connected with Thrive is more than I could ever handle. I know that I can't be everyone's fixer, that I can't always have the answer, that I can't always be there for people. I know all of that.
But that still doesn't make it any easier to hear that people I know and love are facing
- the deaths of two family members within 9 months
- sexual abuse at the hands of someone they should've been able to trust
- unceasing physical pain
- emotional scars and hurts that have festered for years
- inexplicable health problems
- a long road ahead due to horribly wrong life decisions
What are your thoughts on the burden of leadership? Where's the line between compassion and an unhealthy taking-it-on-yourself-ness? How much caring is too much, and how much is not enough?