If you have ever thought leading and mentoring others was all bells, whistles and roses, being called ‘mama’, people carrying your bag/bible and deferring to you, people sowing seeds on a regular and the leader generally being a super star, then keep reading. In this post, I attempt to share with you three not-so-rosey things I have learned in my few short years of leading and mentoring actively, and how I am consciously working to make it ‘rosey’ hehe.
N.B This post was originally published on this blog in March 2021. Enjoy as we bring it back. If you lead in any capacity, draw nearer lol.
Welcome to today’s post hehe.
For the longest time, I have had the absolutely beautiful privilege of leading and mentoring people directly, which really is the BEST kind if you ask me.
To a large extent, I lead and mentor from my slip streams, like this blog here, and I am so thankful for this opportunity to. Next level to this however would be leading and mentoring where you can not only directly impact some other person’s life, but see, feel and experience the impact of it all.
So I have run countless mentoring academies, and have the privilege of leading many other groups and platforms.
I love it.
Love love love love love it.
And really, it has all been borne from a desperate place of wanting to share what I know with the hopes of getting one more person’s life better.
If I have seen and tried something that works for me, the next natural thing for me to do is share it. I literally cannot keep a good thing to myself hehe.
So that’s how it all began. I wasn’t necessarily looking for platforms. I was just looking to bless, serve and help.
It really is super rewarding, while also having its downs, especially for me, who naturally, is a people person.
I say naturally because true and godly leadership will soon teach you to forget everything about who and what you are naturally and live a supernatural life.
Btw, I will be using leadership and mentoring interchangeably. They mean the same thing, in the context of this blog post.
Ok, those lessons now. This is really in no particular order. And just a disclaimer, these are more about the bitter pills, not the ice cream part of it, because both exist. There is REAL PAIN in leadership, and because it can be real lonely, phew, the pain can be even more exponential.
Again, I am sharing these so that, should you have cause to tow leadership paths like mine, you are already well equipped not to make the same mistakes as I did, though I can assure you, there are a lot of other mistakes to make and learn from on the job.
Ok here we go, finally lol
1. People come, People go.
And they don’t always go pretty.
I mean, it would have been super OK for people to come, and then when they are good to go, they leave beautifully. While some do, and one major example for me would be Toyosi
Some leave almost painfully. Infact, sometimes, people are just plain evil. They came closer to have access for sinister reasons, and it is only clear to you after you have been hurt.
Some people’s exits have hurt and shocked me so much I had to really spend time praying for my heart because it got really affected.You start to suspect even the loyal ones in your current season, thinking it is only a matter of time before they show their real colors haha.This stuff is REAL and I have had conversations with leaders, both on my level, and above me, and trust me, it is inevitable.
I recall one that shocked me last year. Her behavior was so surprising that I had to literally block her and all access to me. Then prayed so long for my heart that I didn’t realize how much I had let it affect the current beautiful people in my life. Thankfully, it all lifted and while I know the season with her is over, I have no ill feelings anymore.
Now, what is the best way to handle this? In addition to really cultivating a discerning spirit, I recognize that seasons with people are MOSTLY timed, and I believe God to show me when one with anyone is over, and He does. I do believe that some relationships will be with you for life, or a really long time, like the one I share with my three mentors, Rev Albert Oduwole, Pastor Mildred Kingsley-Okonkwo, and PDDK
But MOST will end after some time.
Now, I have learned to enjoy people in their season, without holding back my love and heart, recognizing that our season is most likely not forever, and that they will leave, sometimes sweetly, like Toyosi when she left the WILD leadership, or in a very unpleasing way, like a few more.
And it is OK.
My heart stays pure because I am not going to Hell for nobody.
Neither should you.
This has really brought me such peace and allowed me truly enjoy the gift of men in my life per time.
2. Love and Detach
Oh I recall where I was seated at home exactly 5 years and 2 months ago when my darling darling mama, Pastor M told me these same words over the phone, as I whined and whinged to her about someone I was desperate for her to receive wisdom and she was hell bent on being foolish.
It was a hard one for me because I loved her and after I gisted mama, she said very sweetly and firmly
Eziaha, you must learn to love and detach.
I thought I understood it then sis, but phew, right in the trenches of even more leadership, I am learning to apply it, and without guilt too.
The truth is, I can’t want a better life for you more than you want for yourself.
Some people are literally going to have to shipwreck first, before they have sense, so it is not my place to stand between them and the wreck.
I can counsel, advice, pray for and step back, detaching without guilt.
Standing by and watching them wreck, then, as God leads me, help them build again, or believe that all the seeds I sowed earlier, another mentor will continue from where I stopped.
I am under no obligation to listen to you detail the shipwreck, and take you under my wings again as closely as before.
And that is not me being mean ooo.
That’s just what leadership teaches you.
I am not ElShaddai. I cannot be all things to all men. I am thankful for the small part I play in your life, as given by God, and I have learned to trust Him to take care of His children, however He chooses to, while I stay on my lane, content.
I am sure some of us have seen leaders take a hard stance against someone and think they are wicked.
Well, let me just say that there are MANY things you only get when in that level of leadership.
Outside of that, most good godly leaders already know and are not trying to please you anyways. So they make their decisions, as led by God, and stick to it.
While this was a hard lesson to practice in the past, today, I give God praise that it is easier.
Gosh, I will do my best to help, love you like a sister, pray for you like an intercessor, but know when to detach, without guilt and with joy, if you insist on foolishness.
Leading and mentoring like so brings so much peace to me, and you too.
3. Loyalty is to the VISION and not ME
Now, I have a super super strong personality and can easily take over anywhere I lead. This means that most things start to revolve around me.
Phew, This is super dangerous especially if the context is a Christian one. You want to lead people to JESUS and not you.
He alone is the STAR and we are not here to build a following, or amass loyalists.
“For when you divide yourselves up in groups—a “Paul group” and an “Apollos group” —you’re acting like people without the Spirit’s influence. Who is Apollos, really? Or who is Paul? Aren’t we both just servants through whom you believed our message? Aren’t each of us doing the ministry the Lord has assigned to us? I planted the church, and Apollos came and cared for it, but it was God who caused it to grow.”
1 Corinthians 3:4-6 TPT
I once led somewhere, and when I left, it shook to its core.
It broke my heart.
I didn’t feel important.
I felt like I failed. So people were there because of Eziaha?
I don’t even want to be anywhere because of myself. My personal goal is JESUS and that should be the goal of every leader, so make the VISION all about Him so well that if I as the leader chooses to become stupid, they leave me and keep following Jesus.
EZIAHA RANT COMING UP haha
This is why people criticize our Christianity, because people stay loyal to PEOPLE and not JESUS, so you see a Pastor completely mess up, and yet you have people supporting publicly.
While I believe in Grace and forgiveness, I believe in consequences too.
If for instance, we have a man of God convicted for teen and child abuse, if you are a member and you love Him, it is OK to still show grace please, but don’t come online and say nonsense. If your sister was among those sexually abused, I doubt you will still be stupid like that.
Sorry, I just had to go there because I once blocked someone for such stupidity, and she wasn’t even directly talking to me. I even had to go and ask Rev the meaning of LOYALTY cos I am seeing plain FOOLISHNESS being pedaled as LOYALTY and he too said we need to be LOYAL to JESUS and the GOSPEL not men.
Christian leadership is a high calling, so if I am here to be a celebrity, popular and liked, then it is not for me. I am DESPERATE about taking every spotlight possible away from me.
I am comfortable slipping into the sidelines.I don’t care for honor from men.
Now, will all these follow me as a good leader and mentor?
I honor my pastors and leaders, but I am LOYAL unflinchingly to Jesus. I cannot NOT honor them; the onus is now for the leader to appropriate honor well, because like I once heard AJS say, the praises of men can be a weapon of mass destruction, and people can honor you to your grave, especially in Africa.
This one ehn, God has had to deal with me very personally and I am still on the journey.
This is one major lesson for us all in leadership to learn.
The glory is very attractive and people will want to do anything for you, but be careful not to take the place of Jesus in their lives.
How this plays out very practically would be (at least for me)
Delegating and completely stepping back
Deliberately staying silent in someone’s life when it gets too much
Blocking access to me for some time from some people who are trying to make me a crutch
And MOST IMPORTANTLY, teach them SOUND DOCTRINE and BUILD THEM UP SPIRITUALLY.
A mature Christian understands the place of honor, both to men and her leaders, and doesn’t mix both up.
If they are LOYAL to Jesus and are spiritually mature, they are WAYYYY BETTER to lead.
But if all I have are YES MEN, who are my fans and call me MAMA all day, I am treading on very dangerous waters.
OK, gotta stop here. There is more but I gotta go.
Maybe I will do a part 2 later
Which of them best resonated with you?
Share in the comments and let us learn.
God bless you.
And cheers, to your best life, leading and being led