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Are You a Jealous Leader?

For me the question isn’t if, but when—and, how will I respond when it happens?

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"Can a leader be jealous of another leader?"

"Can you have a heart after God and still have thoughts like, 'Why does she get that opportunity and I don't?' or 'I would have been so much better at that than her, so why wasn't I asked?'"

"Can a good leader be jealous?"

I was asked these questions yesterday during an online Google Hangout with 465 of our MOPS leaders. What a great question. Raw. Honest. And oh so real.

My answer: If you're alive and breathing, you can be.

Jealousy is real. And as humans, we're going to come face to face with its ugliness. And for me the question isn't will I, but rather, what will I do about it?

I have a friend who talks about sitting in it. This makes my husband laugh, maybe because he envisions a grown person sitting in a pile of mess like a doofus. But isn't that what we do when we recognize jealousy in ourselves, but do nothing about it? Just like we wouldn't let our baby sit around in a yucky diaper, why would we let ourselves ruminate in something so toxic? The Bible refers to jealousy as demonic (James 3:14-16).

For me, jealousy can come from several different places. Sometimes it stirs when I see someone else getting attention or thanks, and I'm not. It also flares when I get passed over for an opportunity in lieu of someone else. I love Carey Nieuwhof's post about how God delights in the things no one else sees, and how that includes when no one else sees me. God created me for a unique purpose, and even when no one else is singing over me, he is (Zephaniah 3:17):

"For the Lord your God is living among you.

He is a mighty savior.

He will take delight in you with gladness.

With his love, he will calm all your fears.

He will rejoice over you with joyful songs."

Sometimes God calls us to be the foundation for someone else, to step behind the scenes without recognition, to move to the back burner so someone else can move to the front.

I love how Nancy Ortberg describes the role of "experienced" leaders. She says we should let others stand on our shoulders of experience so they can see farther and accomplish more than we ever could because of it.

Carey asked three great questions in his post:

  1. Would you be content if no one ever noticed what you did?
  2. Would you be satisfied if no one ever appreciated you?
  3. Would you be good with no one ever acknowledging you?

Great questions, and ones I wish I could reply to with a quick "you bet!" Instead, they make me gulp.

So here's where I am: I'm choosing to sit in it, in the form of Zephaniah 3:17—a verse that reminds me I'm God's girl. One pretty enough, smart enough, and just enough to bring him delight.

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Sherry Surratt

Sherry Surratt is the CEO and President of MOPS International. Connect with her online at or follow her on Twitter at @SherrySurratt.

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Today's Christian Woman
Are You a Jealous Leader?