The Crushing Reality of Leadership: How to Move Forward When You Have Been Hurt

The Crushing Reality of Leadership: How to Move Forward When You Have Been Hurt

christian ceo executive coach

Our family enjoys immersing ourselves in nature through walks, hikes, and strolls in local parks. One of our favorite hikes, within a reasonable drive, is located north of Whitesboro on what the locals refer to as 377.

While not particularly difficult, this hike is quite lengthy. It spans 14.2 miles around Lake Texoma, known as the Cross Timbers.

We’ve explored an off-the-beaten-path trail multiple times, leading us through hilly terrain with several switchbacks in an area dubbed the Enchanted Forest. There’s even a sign within this forest that reads “Gnome Crossing,” which we’ve playfully decided adds to its enchantment.

“Enchanted” refers to being filled with great delight or pleasure. And a gnome, in folklore, is a small, magical dwarf said to guard underground treasures.

However, each time we’ve ventured out, we’ve searched for a mysterious gnome in vain. We’ve even considered placing our own gnome along the path for fellow hikers to discover, adding to the sense of enchantment.

Despite the lack of gnome sightings, the Enchanted Forest remains delightful to us. It’s a reminder that sometimes we search for something extraordinary, like a garden gnome, and overlook the mystery, pleasure, delight, and treasures of creation all around us during our hike.

This holds true even on a significant day like Easter Sunday, a day we gather to reflect on the life, love, death, and resurrection of Jesus, often seeking great mysteries and miracles.

The mystery and miracle of today, however, is found in everything pointing to the life of Jesus.

As we gather with our diverse life stories, filled with enchantment, wonder, delight, and hidden treasures of hope and dreams in our hearts, we acknowledge that there are also days when life feels disenchanted. These are stories filled with heartache, hurt, disappointment, and shattered hopes.

Life and leadership, we know, can be both challenging and incredibly fulfilling.

Perhaps you wonder when your miraculous story will unfold, revealing the treasures within your heart.

You may have heard the stories of Jesus…

  • Turning water into wine
  • Showing compassion to a woman betrayed in marriage
  • Healing a sick boy
  • Allowing a lame man to walk
  • Feeding thousands with little food
  • Showing mercy to an adulterer
  • Restoring sight to the blind
  • Casting out demons
  • Bringing Lazarus back from the dead

In all these stories, one truth prevails: Jesus came to give life.

The land of enchantment, miracles, mystery, joy, and grace is closer than we often realize—right here, right now. Moving from faith to faith can bring healing, offering wholeness even in times of disenchantment. Even in times of crushing leadership experiences of hurt and betrayal.

Today, we declare the healing and wholeness of Jesus over our entire beings—body, heart, mind, soul, and will.

Through the cross, we delve into the depths of despair, confronting our pretentiousness and self-righteousness.

Through the cross, we learn about the crushing reality of being a wholehearted leader and how suffering forms endurance, character, and hope.

And it is through the empty tomb that our pain is relieved, ushering in peace and wholeness that surpasses all understanding, a gift bestowed upon us through the life, love, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

We celebrate Jesus Christ throughout the Easter tradition — of his life, love, death, and resurrection—through the sacrament known as the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist in many traditions.


Because in this act of communion, we find enchantment in the eucharist.

In John 6, Jesus declares, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” He speaks of himself as the bread of life, the living bread from heaven. Whoever partakes of this bread shall live forever, for this bread is his flesh, given for the life of the world.

In this discourse, Jesus emphasizes “living bread” five times. During the Passover meal with his disciples, just before his death, he takes bread, saying, “This represents my body, broken for you,” and a cup, saying, “This is my blood, poured out for you.”

“The root word of eucharisteo is charis, meaning “grace.” Jesus took the bread and saw it as grace and gave thanks. He took the bread and knew it to be gift and gave thanks. Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis. But it also holds its derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning “joy.” Charis. Grace. Eucharisteo. Thanksgiving. Chara. Joy.” Theology of Work from Ann Vos Camp

The enchantment you desire will be found in the Eucharist.

The hidden treasure you seek is closer than you think.


Abundant, eternal life, is available now.

Jesus gave himself for “the life of the world,” inviting us to embrace the fullness of his love.

In a world often disenchanted, with barriers around our hearts, we guard these hidden treasures like false gnomes in a forest.

How can we receive them?

“Believe in the one who sent me.” John 6:29

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” II Corinthians 5:21

“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

By opening the eyes of our hearts to the miracle of life and grace, may we be enlightened.

In a world that seeks to blind us to wonder, delight, and miracles, may we take walks and hikes in the land of enchantment, discovering the wonder and delight in the everyday—whether it’s the breath we take, the sunrise, blooming flowers, the presence of other people, and so much more.

As we seek the life Jesus offers, we realize that he points us to the miracle that life and wholeness are all around us and offered to us through his body and blood.

Jesus desires to expand our capacity to receive his love, enabling us to share that love with others.

May you have the courage to believe in the gift of his broken body and his blood poured out for you.

In closing, this past year I have walked to a deeper understanding of forgiveness through my crushing leadership experience, which led me to the Forgiving Forward work with Dr. Bruce Hebel. You can listen to our conversation on this week’s podcast.

How do you move forward when you have been crushed as a leader?

May you lead with your whole heart from a lifestyle of forgiveness in the Eucharist.