Wouldn’t it be great if our leadership role aligned with our calling? Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. There are (and will be) times when a leadership assignment doesn’t seem to match our calling as a leader.

Think about David. He was anointed by God to be king, but it took years before he finally occupied the throne. Some Bible commentators estimate that it took as long as 15 years.

When our role no longer aligns with our calling, we can be tempted to be more focused on getting to alignment than on serving our leader. We can become so preoccupied with our own outcomes that we are less concerned with influencing others to good outcomes.

This disconnect represents one of our greatest leadership challenges: leading ourselves through challenging times.

David may have had his issues as a king on the throne, but as a king who had been anointed but not yet appointed, he displayed some great characteristics. During the 15 years when his role did not match his calling, David served King Saul to the best of his ability (before he was forced to flee). He influenced people (his mighty men of valor) to good outcomes, and he remained true to God’s values and his own (e.g. protecting rather than killing King Saul when he had the chance).

There have been times when my role and my calling have fallen out of alignment. Most of the time, it’s been the natural result of outgrowing the role and being ready for a new assignment. What has served me well until God brought me a new assignment is being a good steward over my current assignment, ignoring the urge to look over the fence to see if the grass was greener on the other side and behaving as if I was going to be in the role for the long haul.

Admittedly, there have been times when I’ve whined a bit before following my own advice. But those times have only reinforced the value of being a good steward, focusing on the job at hand and taking the long-term view. These are keys to leading ourselves through the challenge of performing a role that is not aligned with our calling.

Greg Wallace is the Chief Operating Officer for HRock Church in Pasadena, Calif. He loves teaching and helping others pursue their life’s passion. He is passionate about developing leaders, building organizations and helping people and groups thrive in the midst of change.