EVERY LEADER’S BATTLE- “Our Need to be Developed – vs.- Our Need to be Discovered.” 10-27-14

Here’s a message I spoke to a young adult group recently.  These are thoughts that could impact leaders of any age.  IMG_0999

I have learned that most leaders don’t really want to be developed.  We just want to be discovered.

This is a battle that every leader with big dreams will fight.  We have a need to be developed, but a desire to be discovered and the two will be at war.

God gives us dreams and inevitably we will enter a season of waiting (development) where we are tempted to question our value.  We look for the closest position that would validate our dream and assume the role should be ours.  We then assign blame to the people we feel are holding us back.

God may give a legitimate dream or glimpse of future success, but almost never immediate fulfillment.

I’m concerned.  In this instantaneous society we’ve created….  rare is the person that is prepared for this season.

It’s in the dark room where we’re being developed.  It’s in the waiting room where we’re watching others’ names get called before ours.

It’s difficult to sit still.  There’s a dream planted and we wonder when it will happen.  Left waiting long enough, the thought changes to will it happen?

An expectant mother has an ultrasound picture and a due date to cling to.  A fiancé knows “who” and “when” they will marry.  What does a leader with a dream have but a telescope and blurry lens?  There’s something out there, but we can’t see what or how far off it is.

It’s frustrating.

But great stories take time; there is greatness inside of us.  And He’s writing our stories today.

It would be to our benefit to remember that the door to a dream does not open automatically.  God brings great leaders through seasons of development before He allows them to be discovered.   

So here’s the question…
Are we going to PUSH doors open or are we going to let God be a gentleman and OPEN them for us?

Let’s take a look at 3 people in the Bible who fought this battle. 


Big dreams in the area of leadership.
Didn’t have wisdom yet; he needed to be developed.
Desire was to be discovered by his family.
Wanted desperately to be noticed/valued by his brothers.
Hated by most of his family.
Not respected by the people he would eventually lead.

God allowed an unexpected journey.
Long season of waiting, developing, growing, and gaining experience.

Here’s what I’ve learned…..
Joseph didn’t have a dream and wake up to an open door. 

God will sometimes give us dreams about our future that will cause us to wrestle in the waiting…  and the glimpse can provide strength for the journey. Knowing pieces of what is to come can motivate us to keep going.   

When the door to Joseph’s dream finally opened, He didn’t want to be discovered anymore.  As his brothers bowed before him, He hid his identity.

God did great works within Joseph and, therefore, he was a part of saving his family and a nation.

If Joseph would have pushed his way into the leadership role of his family… his impact would have been small.  But when God opened the door, it saved a nation.

When we wait on God to open a door for us…  the impact is always infinitely greater than that of our own efforts. 

  •      MOSES: 

 Destined for greatness from the start.
Miraculously saved.
Raised in the palace.

Then comes the moment when Moses pushed a door open.  The problem was that it was the wrong door.  Moses had a great God-given desire to fight injustice.  When he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave, the desire to fight rose up inside him and he was able to free the slave.  Shortly after, Moses fled into the desert.

Some years later, in the back of the desert, God finds Moses and shows him a door in the form of a burning bush.

Here’s what I’ve learned…
In our desire to be discovered, we tend to think that God opens doors in the palace… in the spotlight; surely not in the back of a desert away from people.  How are we supposed to get a promotion if no one can see us?

Promotions don’t come from people and God knows where to find us.

Moses was out of sight… out of the spotlight.

When God spoke through the burning bush, Moses didn’t say, “YES!  Send me God!  I’ll kill them all!!!!”

That’s what Moses would have said when he was in his younger years and developmental stage.  That was, in fact, his attitude when he knocked down a door in his own power.  And His impact was the freedom of just one person.

But…  when he walked through the door God provided, the result was freedom for over 3 million people.

Moses wasn’t looking to be discovered and God knew where to find him.


Through him would come a great nation.
God makes a promise of a son to Abraham.
Then He makes Abraham wait.  (At least 25 years)
Abraham and Sarah got tired of waiting (being developed) and they pushed a door open….  and it produced a son named Ishmael. 

Eventually, God opened the right door and Isaac was born.

When Abraham pushed open his own door– Ishmael was created.  That’s where we get the Arab nation.
When God opened the door- Isaac was created, which became Israel– God’s people.

These nations have been at war ever since.  Consequences have been far reaching and so has God’s promise.

Here’s what I’ve learned…
God doesn’t abandon us when we push open doors, but neither do the consequences.

When you’re in a season of development and waiting…

Your desire to be discovered will be at war with your need to be developed.
Your desire to push doors open will be at war with your need to wait on God to open them.

Even if people can’t see it yet…

God sees both the greatness in us and the development that needs to take place.
Then He guides us on unexpected journeys with closed doors along the way… Doors that are not ours.
Don’t get distracted or discouraged by the closed doors.

I don’t fully know why God gives us clues to our future then makes us wait.

Maybe it’s to provide resolve for the times when we want to quit.  Maybe it’s a test to see if we will journey with Him no matter what.  What I do know is that every great leader I see has had to wait.  And most of them thought they were done being developed before they actually were.
Why would you and I be any different?

Action Steps…
Be more concerned with who we are becoming than what we will do.
Let God develop us while we’re sitting on the bench.
Don’t push doors open.  Let God open doors for us that no man can shut.

Discovery questions…..
Q:  Where am I at in the battle of discovery vs. development?
Q:  Are there any doors that I’ve been trying to push open?

Ps….  If you use this article as an excuse to be lazy…. you’ve completely misunderstood my intention and might find yourself in a longer season of development than necessary!


  1. Kathy DeWitt · · Reply

    Thank you for the craftsmanship of these words. The message and delivery are a blessing!
    “God makes all things beautiful in his time.” Ecc 3

    1. Thanks Kathy! Your encouragement is always appreciated:)

  2. Great perspective!

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