Being a leader? What does that even mean?
Over the last year or so I believe God has been shifting and growing my perspective of leadership. Leadership not only in ministry and in the work place, but also, leadership within my own home.
You see for a very long time I thought that there were two different types of leaders. Leaders who were out front taking charge, you know the ones. The ones who always seem to have all the information and all the answers and direction. And then there were the more background style leaders. The leaders who make sure that no one gets left behind. This leader was perfectly described in a meme that went around a few years back that showed the formation of wolves and that the older and baby wolves were up front and set the pace and then the protectors and so on and so forth and then at the end of the pack were the Alpha leaders making sure everyone was protected and no one was left behind.
Those two styles were how I viewed good leaders. One was not better than the other, it was just that they each had their own redeeming qualities, if you will.
I read a statement recently that said, “Great leaders lead from the inside out.” And it challenged my view of leadership.
I feel like I hear the statement, "You can’t lead on empty," so much that it has almost become cliché. I hear it and I automatically agree with it, but in my mind I just go, "Yeah yeah I’m good though. No problems here. All is good in this neighborhood. (Insert winky face and two thumbs up.)" When, in reality, I’m just simply keeping everything from crumbling down.
Sometimes I don’t even realize it. I’m too close to see the damage that I have done as a leader due to me leaking my junk on those around me.
Faith does not deny a problem's existence, faith denies the problem a place of influence.
You see, being a leader has nothing to do with having our ducks all in a row or having the right answers and directions all the time. That is just unrealistic.
Even Jesus did not have all the answers to the demands of the people himself and he was fully God and fully man. He said in John 5:19 “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He only does what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does."
Jesus only took his cues from God.
When we look at Jesus, even most non-christians can agree that Jesus had some definite leadership qualities. Jesus led all kinds of people and he led well.
All throughout the gospels we see people following Jesus, even when he was trying to withdraw to his core group of people. I don’t know how many times I have read the phrase "they withdrew by themselves to a town… but the crowds learned and followed…" or something along those lines.
And still Jesus waited for his cues from the Father.
Even Jesus was not controlled by the demand of the people only by response to the Father.
Jesus knew the importance of not “leading on empty” better than anyone in the world. But what was it about Jesus that drew people in? That made him a Great leader in every season of his life? (Other than the obvious answer of Him being the Son of God…)
The Lord has been showing me that becoming a great leader is not linked to an experience or calling, rather it’s linked to the overflow we create around us. It’s linked to what we are leaking.
We leak on those we come into contact with… Good or bad.
We have to live a life filled with the Spirit of God in order to lead others into having that experience with the Father. A true right relationship with God.
It is not enough to lead having only had the corporate experience with God. We must first have that closed room, personal time with Jesus and Holy Spirit to effectively lead people in His presence whether we are at work, church, home or the grocery store.
In order to lead well, to lead the way that Jesus did doing only what the Father said, we must be first willing to sit with Jesus. We must be willing to surrender. We must be wiling to give our time to hear and see and know what God is wanting to do. We must surrender our embarrassment when it comes to the who, what, when, where, and why of what God is telling us to do.
When the crowds came to Jesus he did not say, "Ok give me a second I need to pray a long prayer to see what the Father wants to do."
No. Jesus was prayed up long before the crowds ever arrived. He had already invited the Father into His day to day activities. He had spent the time sitting with the Father. And what the crowds were experiencing was simply the overflow of that time with the Father.
Have you ever being in a place where someone walks into the room and all of a sudden everything feels very exhausting, sad, or even angry? Or, or maybe the opposite, someone walks into the room and it feels like the party is just beginning? We call those people thermostats. They can change the “temperature” of the room. Whatever mood that person walks into the room with they leak on the other people in the room thus changing the mood of those in the room.
When we consistently are spending our time sitting with Jesus he begins to leak on us and we in turn get to leak on those around us. It’s in the overflow. That’s how Jesus led. That is what we should be aiming for in every area of our lives. Leading from the overflow.
We are all called to lead one way or another. Some in our work places and some in our homes. Regardless where we lead, how we lead is going to determine who we lead. So let’s lead well. Let’s strive to mirror the One who gave us everything,
My pastor (John Poundstone) has a saying that goes like this,
“Transformed minds transform people. Transformed people transform families and groups.
Transformed families and groups transform cities and transformed cities transform nations.”
Leading from the overflow.
Let’s be women who shake up our understanding of leadership and follow Father God’s leading first and always.
Love you ladies,
Daughter of the King!
WRitten By: Alexandria Brown
For more from Alexandria, visit her website at www.alexandriabrown.org.
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Focus… how does such a little word have so much power over where we go?
We live in a fairly rural area and so we like to take the kids on the back roads every once in a while and let them take the wheel. They are both young and so it is still so exciting for them to get unbuckled and hop in daddy’s lap so that they can drive the car. My daughter will drive very slowly and she is focused. She sees the road and she knows where she is going and she is going to get us there. My son… well let me give you some back story.
You see, my son is a great driver when it comes to driving his little 6v pickup truck power wheels around the backyard. He weaves in and out of any objects that are in the way and never hits anything (unless of course it's on purpose. Boys, right?) He stops and backs up like an expert driver, but when he gets behind the wheel of one of our vehicles things change.
He is no longer focused on the road he is driving on or where he is going, actually when he’s driving one of our cars he is focused on anything but the road or safety. LOL Which makes it a very winding and bumpy ride. His focus is not where we all know it should be. His focus is on the buttons in the car. His focus is on that bush or tree that we passed 10 feet ago or how the clouds look in the sky.
He is so confident that daddy is going to correct and steer that he never really bothers to think about where or how we will be getting to our destination.
I think that sometimes I get like that in my walk with God, in my role as a Proverbs 31 woman, wife, mother, friend. I get so focused on distractions and the things that need to be done I forget why I was doing them in the first place. I let the things around me take my attention away from what I am actually supposed to be doing.
I haven’t lost focus, I have shifted it. I have shifted my focus from God’s plans to the distractions along the way. And let me tell you, it has brought stress and exhaustion and no peace. But then in just a moment, Holy Spirit brings a sweet reminder to focus my eyes back on the Peace Giver, the One who knows all my days before there was even one (Psalm 139:16.)
Shift our focus. Such a simple statement can alter the outcome of any circumstance or situation that we are in. And with the right help (Holy Spirit=Helper) it is just that simple.
I have learned that the shifting for me is the simple part, and it takes a conscious effort to KEEP my focus there.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.
It’s not always easy, but it is simple.
The next verse the writer tells us to “…put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
Start doing that. It takes conscious effort. It takes persistence. We are not always going to get it right, but we have to work it.
I had a vocal coach that pounded in my head, “Practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes permanent.” Let’s practice focusing on those things mentioned in Philippians till they become permanent.
Holy Spirit, I ask that you show us today how we can better focus on You and Your plan for our life today in every aspect whether it be in our relationship with Father God, at home, in our marriage/children, friendships, our workplace or any other area of our life. Draw our attention to those things spoken about in Philippians. Help us to practice lifting our eyes to You and drawing nearer. Guide us in focusing on the things that lead us into who You have called each and every one of us to be. Help us to set aside any and all distractions today and come ready to be the “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37) You have called us to be in Your precious name Jesus, Amen.
WRITTEN BY: ALEXANDRIA BROWN
For more from Alexandria, visit her website at www.alexandriabrown.org.
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Identity… that word is used throughout our lives to tell who we are. It describes us and others. There are lots of “labels” nowadays used to identify us. Labels that were once ok are now offensive and hurtful, while other labels that were once hurtful and offensive are celebrated and accepted. Our perspectives changes and shifts those labels as time goes on. Our understanding grows and shrinks. All of that is dependent on our society, the world around us.
But the truth is we were created with a whole and complete identity. Nothing broken. Nothing missing.
I was thinking about this game I played more than once, both in ministry and in corporate life. I don't remember the name, I simply remember the tag phrase we used, “Find The Gold Not The Mold”. Every person taped a piece of paper to their back and walked around the room. The others in the room would write something about that person on the paper. No one knew who wrote what, and it could be anything from “I like the color of your hair” to some God-given profound word of knowledge or encouragement to said person. Inevitably, most if not all had some hidden part of their God-given identity uncovered.
So many times we look at people through that dirty window (shout out to Sherry P’s article) coming to conclusions we have no idea about and judging them, and how many times do we look at ourselves through that same window. Maybe we are stuck in our mistakes, past or present. Maybe we believe that Jesus was so good He was able to save us, but there is no way He could actually use us because we were washed clean, but we're still a little dingy. Or maybe we are doing some good work for God and we are so grateful for what He is doing for us and through us, but we have hit our ceiling, thinking it can’t get any better than this, God has done all He can… (side note God has no ceiling… “nothing is impossible for God”.)
The problem with that is that we end up trying to put the God who created the universe in a box controlled by our past. Essentially telling Him what He can and can’t do and with whom He can and cannot do it with.
We have a saying in our church, “Without God we can’t, and without us He won’t.”
I remember hearing a dear friend preach one time about “Moving From Sinner To Saint” and it really challenged the way that I viewed myself. I began searching to see if what he had said could be truth. The Bible says,
And since we are His true children, we qualify to share all His treasures, for indeed, we are heirs of God Himself. And since we are joined to Christ, we also inherit all that He is and all that He has. (Rom. 8:17a).
I’m just gonna be real for a second… after reading that I’m like ok yeah I am a sister of Christ. Maybe the black-sheep of the family, but I’m in. But the truth is that is not it at all! That is not who I was created to be nor how Abba sees me, or you.
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun…(2 Cor. 5:7).
God doesn’t see our “mold.” I’m not saying that He doesn’t know what we have done, of course He does. He is God. But God does not label us by what we have done in the past. We are a new creation that He loves remember.
My dear, children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves. (1 John 3:18-20 TPT emphasis added)
God’s love is a powerful thing. In Romans it tells us that nothing in all creation is stronger than God's love. So it would make sense that the way to overcome the lies about who we are is to experience God’s love and then share it with others. After all, aren’t those the greatest commandments, to love God and love others?
In order to truly love God we need to love and cherish His creation. All of His creation. You are His “very good” creation.
Sometimes we need a little help finding our gold. We are too busy focusing on our broken pieces that we miss stepping back and seeing the beautiful creation that God has created.
I hope you will take a minute today to do a couple of things...
One, ask God. Ask God to show you yourself through His eyes. And when He does, because He will, receive it. Write it down and reference it regularly, speak it over yourself until you start to believe it.
And two, start to speak gold into peoples lives. It doesn’t have to be profound. It could simply be that “Your hair is on point” or “I love your smile” or anything else the Holy Spirit reveals to you. Find and pull out that “gold” in others and you will start to find that it is easier to accept the gold that has been in you all along.
And when we do that we will be able to more fully accept those little words, “Without God we can’t, and without us He won’t.”
So let’s start walking in the full identity that God has given to each of us and watch His kingdom come to earth.
I love you ladies! See you on the community.
WRITTEN BY: ALEXANDRIA BROWN
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JOY… Have you ever looked at that word and just wondered what is it? Is it the appearance of happiness in ones life? Is it giddiness? Laughter? Smiling? What is it about that word that causes us to crave it so desperately? To see it in others when we ourselves don’t have it?
In James 1:2 (TPT)
My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties, see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can!
Joy is a response. Joy is not something that we make up. Joy to me does not seem to happen by chance or be our natural human default. After all there are few times in my life when I have met or can claim that I have responded with joy immediately when things seem to be going in the dumps. Joy doesn’t mean that everything is fine and dandy.
Joy is a choice to respond to our circumstances knowing and trusting that God works in all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
So many times I have talked and seen people beaten up by that statement… Joy is a choice.
If you really trust God, then choose joy. We see it on t-shirts and coffee mugs. I have seen and heard and even been that person that that said or thought, in not so many words, "it’s your fault you are miserable because you are not choosing joy." And I remember every one of those people I listened to saying that "that did not make them feel better." It did not make a light bulb go on in their head as if to say, "duh, why haven’t I done that before." Instead they left feeling more and more defeated. Feeling even more of a failure than before and thinking that they just must not be good enough.
You know what I realized? I was wrong.
Joy is a choice to respond. Yes. But, it is not in response to our circumstances. It’s not created by our sheer will or desire. It is our response to draw close to our Father.
Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and joy are in His dwelling place.
1Chronicles 16:27(NIV) [emphasis added]
I use to believe that to choose joy you just needed to fake it till you make it. I would tell that to those around me. But I have come to realize that true joy, the kind of joy that shifts our circumstances and difficulties to invaluable opportunities to experience God’s presence can only be done by getting close to our Daddy.
So when people say that famous quote “choose joy”, they are only partly right. I was only partly right. Yes, joy is a choice, a choice to get closer to God than you were before. A choice to, despite how we feel and what is going on, to sit in His presence.
The funny thing is when we are going through hard times we often feel overwhelmed, exhausted, feeling like we are weak and can’t overcome, but the Bible tells us that the joy of the Lord is my strength. When we choose to come into Abba’s presence we are filled with His joy which is our strength. Is is then that we can see our difficulties as opportunities to see God do what only He can do.
I love the passage that about the fruit of the Spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
You don’t earn the fruit of the Spirit, but it is evidence of a relationship with our Perfect Daddy. The more time we spend with Him, the more we start to look like Him.
The more He can transform our minds. The more He can open our eyes to see, our ears to hear and give us hearts to understand how He is working all things for the good of those who love Him.
We don’t have to come to God faking it 'til we make it.
It says in Psalms 30:11-12
You turned my wailing into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing Your praises and not be silent, Lord my God, I will praise You forever.
God never asked us to just put a smile on and pretend like we don’t have difficulties. In fact, I believe that when we choose to come to Him right where we are at, in the good, the bad AND the ugly, it is a great gift that we can give to Him. No pretenses, no facade, just us and Him. It is an offering that that only we can give. That’s when He can show off the most.
Joy is not a choice that we make. Godly joy is a gift. A free gift. A gift that can only be received as a byproduct of spending time with our Father.
I want to do one last thing before I sign off today…
I want to apologize on behalf of any one who has ever said to you or made you feel that you are not enough. Anyone who has ever told you that joy is just a choice YOU have to make. I want to repent for those of us who have helped to keep you in the bondage of depression, anxiousness, and fear by our lack of understanding. I ask forgiveness for speaking lies over you and your situations. And I ask, Holy Spirit, that even through this writing, that You do what only You can do. Come and invade Holy Spirit. I invite you into the secret place with the Lord that His presence of strength and joy would fill you and overwhelm your circumstances so that you can see them as opportunities for Daddy to do great and wondrous things in your life.
Please don’t wait… He wants to see you… Yes, you. You are His beloved.
Written by: Alexandria Brown
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In the Bible there is this thing called the Law of interpretation or expositional constancy, it states that when you use a figure as something that figure is always that specific something. For Example; If a seed represents the word of God in one parable it always represents the word of God.
You still there? Hang with me…
When Jesus explains the Parable of the Weeds He give us the interpretation of “the field” being the “world.”
The field is the world and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom.
That is Jesus Himself speaking. So it’s probably safe, even necessary to take Him at His word of the field=the world.
Ok, let’s move on… or back… way back…
In the very beginning GOD created the world, so it would stand to reason that the world was in fact God’s. He owned it so to speak… hold on were going somewhere I promise. After God created the world He then gave dominion or rule of the world to man.
Most of us know the story so I’m just going to breeze by. (If you want to read more reference Genesis 1-3) God gave man rule, man screwed up and ran, and in running (disobedience) man gave their right to rule the world over to Satan. Man was no longer ruler, but slave. Satan at that point became the ruler of the world.
5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to Him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If You worship me, it will all be yours.”
We are not going to go into an Adam & Eve bash party, because honestly, it could have been any of us. Not one of us is exempt from stupid decisions and that is not the point of this post. Lets move on.
Ok, so quick recap;
The world (the field) no longer belonged to God. God gave the world to us humans. Us humans gave away the world to Satan.
All caught up. Here we go!
Here’s the fun part.
Back in our main verse Matthew 13:44 there was a mysterious “man.” This man found something, was SOOOO excited about what he found. Re-hid said something and sold everything…. EVERYTHING all to purchase ONE thing.
Who was this mystery man? I’m so glad you asked!
It was GOD!
Now say it with me…
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
How sweet the name of Jesus. Jesus came back to redeem the world back to God. His plan was to restore the rule of the world back to it’s rightful owner and creator. Jesus was the price.
Wait… It gets better.
So now we know our mystery Man, we know the price He paid, but what did excite Him so much???
What was the Treasure that He found so valuable and precious that He just had to have it?
It was YOU! It was ME!
He treasures YOU so much He was willing to sell the best that He had so that He could have YOU. There were no negotiations. He didn’t look around for the best deal or wait for a sale. He named the price. The HIGHEST price.
Because my dear YOU are His Treasure. I am His Treasure.
My friends what would this world look like if we started to live like we were bought with a price. How would our everyday lives change? How would that effect our families? Our Marriages? Our co-workers?
Can we do one last thing before you leave?
Can we read this aloud over ourselves?
I am the treasure that God discovered hidden in this world. In God’s excitement He hid me again and His Son gave everything to get enough money to buy the world back just so that He could have me, His Treasure.
God, You are good. I pray that You give each woman a new revelation of the “Treasure” You call her. In this time of remembering Your sacrifice Jesus, let us live in such a way that brings honor and glory to Your Name. The Name above all names. Amen.
Written By: Alexandria Brown
Have you ever tried to plan something, anything, and had to keep changing different things? I’m not talking about the little things like who is sitting where or who is doing what. I’m talking about how life was supposed to look. How your marriage was suppose to be. How you would raise your little (or big family)? And instead of it looking how you picture it, life throws curve balls and the very people or things you were counting on have shifted their stance making your life one crazy hectic rollercoaster that you don’t know how to get off of shifting your life from the good to the bad and ugly…
Life is funny like that sometimes. People are funny. Even our own selves are the culprits sometimes. If only we lived in a world were everyone was perfect one hundred percent of the time doing one hundred percent of what we should. HA! Right. But, then again, how boring would that be. Making mistakes is one of the greatest gifts that we have in this life. Stay with me here… Ok so maybe not the mistake itself, but the gift of reconciliation through and in love that we get when we finally choose to clean up our mess whatever that may look like. That, that is a gift that only a messy life being cleaned up can give.
I have gone through some tough times in my life. Some when I was young, some in my marriage, some in my walk with Jesus, and some from me just plain being stupid. There where times in my life when I wonder what in the world is going on? Why has this happened? Will I survive? How can anyone make it through this? What was I thinking? There were times when I cried. Times when I hurt. Times when I laughed and loved and times when I have never felt so alone. There are times that I would not ever wish on my worst enemy, but even if you offered me all the money in the world I would not trade a single one of the bad times.
I hear ya… “Yeah right Alexandria, everyone has a price.” But the truth is, if you took away even one part of my past or present experiences, I wouldn’t be me. Because it is in the dark places that I found the brightest light. It is when there was no plan B that I was made aware just how much my God loves me. And until you have been to that darkest of places, that LOVE that we just love to talk about is only an idea, a notion that is fleeting and there when we need to comfort someone, or ourselves, with the right words or things. It’s the idea of love that we have, not the undeniable belief and understanding of love that only comes through really experiencing it.
The Bible in numerous places talks about hearts being hardened, and because their hearts were hardened they didn't understand. I believe that those dark moments that we go through in our life can soften our hearts and teach us Love. Real Love. Agape Love. Not because we are standing in the dark, dark in itself does not, cannot teach, but it is the darkness that makes us more aware of the littlest light. We were not created as children of the dark, but children of the light. We crave it, need it even. When we come to that place where we lack light in our life it is up to us to open our eyes and seek it out. We are not going to be perfect. We will stumble, but we must not give up. We must not quit. Keep going. Keep moving. Only then will we receive understanding of that Love that most people talk about. And only when we have experienced that Love can we share it.
You see, when we are walking through our “stuff” God promises that He will never leave us or forsake us that He will be our light. In Romans 8 it talks about nothing in all of creation being as strong as God’s perfect Love for me. I take that to mean literally whatever I come up against in my life, my God’s love for me will get me through it. Just a few verses up it says in verse 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him… I only need to remain in His love for me (John 15:9). In Psalms 139 it says that He knew all of my days before I had one. My life both good and bad has never been a surprise to God. He is not afraid of my mess. Isaiah 30:19-21 says, How gracious He will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, He will answer you….Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” He knows all my good, bad and ugly and still He says ‘Don’t worry, My Love for you is stronger. Just come to Me and I will be there.’ (Alexandria paraphrase version LOL.)
But we have a part to play. Are you ready for it? We have to call. We have to cry for His help, when we do He WILL come. “As soon as He hears.” So my challenge to us is this, call on Him. In the good, the bad and the ugly and watch what He does in your life. It isn’t always easy, but it is simple. Call on Him. Ask Him to show you what He is doing. Ask Him for help and direction and wait expectantly for what He says knowing that His love is enough.
Written by: Alexandria Brown
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