Encouragement for the Insecure Leader

Yana Conner

by Yana Conner


There I was, standing in the front row, crying. The worship team was singing of our God who never fails, but I was wondering if He had failed with me. For the past two years, I had been serving in my dream job at my church as Discipleship Director, but it was starting to get real. That Sunday morning, I woke up to a text from a disgruntled member and was entering week three of being on the receiving end of the silent treatment from another. The wisdom on how to handle such conflicts hadn’t been in any of my seminary textbooks and the gaps in my leadership ability were becoming more apparent as I stood there unsure of my next steps. I began to question whether or not I was really the girl for the job and suggested to God that He pick somebody else.

You’re Not Alone

It’s possible that as you are leading in your home, workplace, church, and friend group that you have made the same suggestion. If so, you’re not alone. I don’t say this because you have me as your insecure and ready-to-commiserate comrade. I say this because of Moses.

In the wilderness, talking to God through a burning bush, Moses made the same suggestion: “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else!” (Exodus 4:13) God had just informed Moses of His plan to deliver the children of Israel out of Egypt, and that He planned to do so through him. Convinced that he was underqualified for the job, Moses began to ask God a series of questions.

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The first: Who am I?

The second: Who are You?

The third: What if the Israelites don’t believe me or listen to my voice?

The last question seems to get closer to the underlying concern in Moses’ questions because after God gave him three miraculous signs to prove to Israel that God had indeed sent him, Moses said this:

“Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” – Exodus 4:10

In the past, I read this exchange between God and Moses and harshly criticized Moses for his insecurity. “Brother, get it together! God is literally talking to you through a bush! If He can talk through a bush, He can talk through you!” However, my heart has softened after looking closely at God’s response. God says:

“Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” – Exodus 4:11-12”

God agreed with Moses’ assessment. He didn’t deny that Moses was slow of speech or lacked eloquence. All those things were true; Moses was indeed inadequate and inexperienced.

What if Your Insecurities are Telling the Truth?

Today, when an insecure leader confesses the places where they feel inadequate, they are often met with responses like:

“Oh girl, you got this!”

“Don’t say that! You’re amazing! You just have to believe in yourself!”

“Friend, that’s just your imposter syndrome talking.”

But what if you actually don’t have it? What if you’re not that amazing? Sure, you have sparks of awesomeness. But let’s be honest, there are days when your less-than-awesome self makes a public appearance. What if your insecurities in leadership aren’t masking impostor syndrome but instead revealing holy self-awareness? What if your insecurities are telling the truth, and like Moses, you are legitimately underqualified?

God’s Remedy for Insecurity

As the creator of all things, including the human mouth, God could’ve easily fixed Moses’ speech problem. He could’ve made Moses miraculously eloquent in an instant. God had just turned a staff into a snake and then back into a staff. He had just made Moses’ hand leprous and then whole again. Surely, He could’ve loosened the man’s tongue! But, He didn’t. God used him as he was. Instead of alleviating Moses of his insecurities with ability, God offered another remedy–Himself. He says, “I will be with you, and I will teach you.”

As an over-functioning perfectionist, I honestly don’t like God’s response. Lord, just fix it! Just change me! Make me the leader I need to be to do what you’ve called me to do well! Perform a miracle in me! Don’t leave me as I am! God hears these cries as He did Moses’ pleas. And His response is the same. Instead of providing a quick-fix remedy, He provides something better–a sustaining relationship with Him.

Could it be God withholds the quick-fix miracle to ensure that our confidence never lies in our ability but always in His?

Could it be God leaves as we are to do an even greater work; a work that can only be done through access to His presence and under His day-to-day direction?

Could it be that the remedy to your insecurities isn’t found in acquiring more competencies to build your self-confidence but instead in living more confidently reliant on Him?

Dependence > Perfection

Beloved, God does not require you to be a perfect leader. Instead, He invites you to be a dependent one. When He called you, He was fully aware of your work history, level of emotional maturity, and leadership gaps. He knows what your mouth can and cannot do. And yet, He still calls you. And yes, what He is calling you to is bigger than you. But do not fret; our God is with you, and He will teach you.

Depend on Him, not yourself. Like Moses, confess freely to Him the areas where you feel strained and incompetent as a leader, and trust Him to lead you to the resources and people you need to grow into the leader your home, church, or friend group requires. And when you’re met with new obstacles or wake up to a disgruntled text, remember God is with you and will teach you how to respond and move forward.

You are not alone. So, don't live like it. Our God delights to help.



Yana Conner is a follower of Jesus Christ who seeks to help others live before the face of God in a broken world as they await His return (Titus 2:11-13). She is a writer and Bible teacher who currently serves as Discipleship Director at Vertical Church, where she creates discipleship communities and preaches regularly. You can learn more about her at yanajenay.com or follow her on IG @yanajenay.