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“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.” —Douglas MacArthur

Do you have a moment that just moves you back a bit in surprise?  This happened to me in regards to President Obama appointing the very first woman to direct the Secret Service.  Now, I am not political in any way, but this selection struck me for several reasons. First, it is my understanding that this agent, Julia Pierson, is a veteran of more than 30 years.

Recall this agency is coming off a scandal involving male Secret Service agents and prostitutes in Columbia last summer.  While the former director was not involved in the scandal he ended up resigning in February of this year. I would be thinking, to walk into that kind of pressure situation as the new leader, “Wow, no thank you!”

While her reported qualifications for leading the Department seem to make her capable, I can only think of what struggles she will have to overcome. Pierson is not only in charge of thousands of employees, but is also tasked with protection; keeping Americans safe at major events, protecting leaders, including the President and his family, and, the one that really surprised me, a leading role in securing the financial system.

The burdens that Pierson will have to face and overcome provide an incredible opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the American people.  Publilius Syrus, a former slave in 1st century BC, said “Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.” The Secret Service has not exactly had a calm sea this past year!

This is a very applicable verse for Pierson and her new appointment “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:1-4

I can only think that through this incredible opportunity to lead the third largest agency in the United States Satan will attack from all aspects leadership roles. I, for one, propose praying for Julia Pierson in these ways:

  • For her leadership to be above reproach
  • To lead with integrity and honor
  • To protect her from people who will challenge in negative ways
  • For the employees of the agency to respect Pierson’s leadership
  • For her to balance the demands of the job with having a life outside of work