One of our greatest leadership challenges is to lead ourselves through challenging times. Recently we discussed the challenge a leader faces when her role does not align with her calling.

Another challenge is to lead ourselves when the period of time between God’s promises and the fulfillment of those promises is lengthier than we would like. Many of us know that we are called to a place of greater responsibility than we hold right now. Perhaps we have received a word from God that was confirmed in some way (e.g. through a prophetic word). Perhaps it is part of our desired career path or a natural desire to serve others through a leadership position.

Regardless of how that “I know I have been called to something greater” feeling materializes, it can easily turn to disappointment and despair if it takes a while for our dreams to be realized. In our hearts and in our minds, we know that God’s timing is perfect. How often have we heard “He may not come when we want Him but He’s right on time”? (How many of us would be happy if we never heard it again? ) Yet, it can be tempting just through the passage of time alone—not to mention the obstacles along the way—to give up on our dreams or let the wait change us for the worse, or both.

One of the most well known instances in the Bible of a dream deferred is the story of Joseph. As told in the book of Genesis, Joseph had two dreams at the age of 17 that were interpreted to mean that his brothers would bow down to him. They were already jealous that Joseph was the favored son of their father. Those dreams caused the brothers to throw Joseph into a pit and leave him there.

Even so, Joseph went from being left for dead by his brothers to saving his brothers from death, and from being set in a pit to being “set over all the land of Egypt.” How did Joseph make such an improbable journey?

Among other things, he understood that the favor of God is more important than the favor of man, he did not take shortcuts in order to get to his destiny more quickly and he did not get bitter or resentful during the delay. We will explore each of these mindsets and more in greater detail in upcoming blog posts.

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.