It is so hard to become everything God intends for us to become as His church when the orphaned heart continues to replicate itself. We are supposed to be an extension of Abba as a supernatural family, but, we often can collectively look like a network of group homes and orphanages.
In part one of The Orphaned Heart, we talked about how the orphaned heart manifests through perfectionism and performance anxiety. When a person struggles with orphanism, they are always striving to be loved and accepted and they try to accomplish this through what they do. In that article, we also discussed how the work of Jesus allows us to be healed from the orphaned heart.
However, if we don’t heal and go on about out our lives, we will inevitably beget more orphans. It is common for people who have not been fully delivered from the orphaned heart to assume leadership roles or roles that land them at the forefront. The performance-based existence along with perfectionism tends to make one strive. It is normal to try to deal with rejection or the fear of rejection by gathering the applause of the crowd or needing people to esteem our greatness. Although they may have a calling to what they are doing, they minister or lead with affectation. This creates a cyclical danger of the orphan heart.
The Orphan Spirit
See, when an orphaned heart is the prevailing leader of an organization, the orphan spirit has permission to occupy and influence. That spirit begins to produce strife, division, and competition within an otherwise cohesive system, team or family. Because that leader lives with the feeling that they have to prove themselves, they often require that of the people they lead. Although, I have seen this in various settings, let’s focus on the church.
Understanding The Orphaned Leader
When a person assumes a leadership role without working out the issues of orphanhood and rejection, the results are often catastrophic. Often times, a person who has an orphaned heart wants to be something in order to prove their significance- even if they aren’t supposed to be there. (Or they may assume roles at the wrong time.) It is the reason we see a great deal of well-structured local churches and ministry organizations become ineffective in the places that they are located. An orphan leader does the opposite of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit EMPOWERS and MOBILIZES. The orphaned leader and orphan spirit work together to disempower and demobilize the saints.
An orphaned leader may have exceptional leadership skills because they are often overachievers –especially for validation sake. However, there are normally other presenting behaviors. Let’s discuss some of those below.
Behaviors of an Orphaned Leader
- They use systems of rejection and oppression in their leadership approach. There is constant criticism with very little to no edification.
- Celebrations and moments of recognition are done to support their visibility and improve their reputation.
- They create an atmosphere that provokes rivalry, jealousy, and competition amongst the people they lead. The people are vying for their attention and approval and there is a very small window intentionally created.
- They create heavily micro-managed systems to over-emphasize their governance–even over small tasks.
- They have a hard time developing real relationships due to fear of rejection or assumed rejection by the people they lead. This is sometimes disguised well because of their position.
- They often have very superficial relationships with the people they lead. They keep most people at an arm’s reach unless it is a person that will constantly tell them of their greatness or perpetuate their systems.
- They make people EARN love and affirmation instead of giving it according to God’s revelation.
- They dangle validation and approval after a series of unnecessary test are passed. The reality is they will never give that approval, because they have yet to feel personally approved, validated or accepted.
- They create rules and boundaries to hinder any other kinds of affirming relationships from forming within the group without their approval.
- They feel threatened by people who seem to do well without their validation or approval.
- They have no systems that allow for feedback for their behaviors or processes because it is very difficult for them to receive constructive criticism.
These are just to name a few. These behaviors are rough to grow and thrive under. The result of this kind of leader is to produce after its own kind.
Strife, Competition, Division
This prevailing behavior of the orphan heart we have seen within the Household of Faith for far too long. When you have orphaned leaders, it’s only a matter of time before the house reflects that very thing. People who are called to relate to each other as brothers and sisters begin to engage each other like enemies. When you place people in circumstances where they have to force their way into their calling by various methods of religious hazing, they feel they have no choice but to scratch and claw their way there. Competition ensues. Who can preach the best? Who has the deepest revelation? Who works the most miracles? Who can sing the best? Who can play the best? Who can draw the largest crowd? Who can do the best fundraisers? Who has the best marketing? Who gets to the preferential seat? Everything becomes about the performance and not the process and opportunities for learning. And if a person attempts to resolve themselves of engaging that way, they are made to feel like they don’t care about what they are called to do. In some instances, they are made to feel like they have not done enough to do what God has called them. This environment can cause even a well-meaning person to begin to act out of character. The only thing left is division. This brings factions within the whole Household. Cliques are born. Gossip is rampant. There are whole ideologies created to maintain this separation. All of this happens because an orphaned heart made room for the orphan spirit.
Of course, this gets progressively worse when you move between the macro to micro affects this has on the children of God. While we are busy fighting for validation within the house, we are not being prepared to fight and be present for the wars that we are called to fight in the world.
We have got to be healed or we will render ourselves impotent as the Household of Faith and the Church of the Living God. But… because he is alive, He is the source of our validation and healing. If we are healed, then we can lead from a whole place. We will then be able to replicate sons of Gods instead of reproducing more orphans. God has given us a blueprint of how we are to give and receive affirmation to truly live as sons. Let’s resolve that on the next blog The Orphaned Heart 3.