What am I even supposed to be doing? I hear that question asked all the time (sometimes more than I like in my own head). Sometimes, sometimes I am looking for my next big step. And honestly, sometimes it is because I walked into a room and I just flat out forgot what I was supposed to be doing. LOL Anyones else do that or just me?!? Sometimes it is when I think about how to raise my children or lead a ministry or help out at my kids' school.
But one thing always seems to be true, there always seems to be something very looming about that question to me. As if almost immediately after it is brought up there is this dark cloud overhead and things start to get heavy. The weight of everything seems to be a little harder to hold...
Am I doing the right thing? Am I doing the wrong thing?...
I have recently been going through the book “Godmothers” by Lisa Brevere and as we were going through the study Holy Spirit revealed something so powerful to me.
In this quiet moment of study where I sat in my favorite chair soaking in my favorite worship music I began to imagine. I began to ask God to take me deeper. To use me however He saw fit. And I began to pour out my heart and tell Him, whatever it looked like, whatever it sounds like, whatever it felt like I wanted to be His. I wanted Him to use me the way only He knew I was specifically created for... And then the cloud...
What if I am not on the right track... What if I have missed too many doors... What if I don’t have the right kind of education, training or background... What if I wasn’t enough... (FYI-YOU ARE ENOUGH.)
Then in the midst of what was turning into a panic, I felt a calm out of no where and Holy Spirit whispered to me “Sis, I never asked you to do all that. I simply asked you to love Me and love others.”
I am reminded of the toilet paper meme that goes something like this:
Everyone wants to change the world, but no one whats to change the roll. BE THE CHANGE!
And as funny and simple as it is, it also brings great truth with it. So many of us are out there reaching for these massive things. We have grandiose dreams where we accomplish these amazing feats. We want to be the best in our profession. We want to have multiple locations and be the CEO’s and CFO’s, we want to be the next big book author or movie star or music artist. We want to be the one that everyone wants to be and have the things that everyone wants to have and do the things that everyone wants to do. We want to change to world.
Sometimes we just need to change our roll.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I believe in goal setting. I believe in having vision for the future and I absolutely believe that having BIG DREAMS is important in our lives and in the lives around us. I am not for one minute discounting that. Only... I again am reminded of the 2 most important commandments; Love God, and love others.
I wonder if sometimes I lose sight of that in my striving to be on the right path, the right steps, the right career. I don’t want the fear of not being enough or knowing enough or doing enough to paralyze me in my tracks anymore.
Sitting there in my chair that morning Holy Spirit reminded me to not get so distracted with my big picture that I forget to change my roll.
Because the truth is, what good is changing the world if you don’t have someone (God and others) to change it for.
I have this friend who whenever I go to her and I am overwhelmed and don’t know what to do, she simply says “What’s the next right thing?” And I love that because it gives me the freedom to not know all the right answers and the where and the when and the how everything is going to work out. It takes the pressure off and helps to realign and get me moving again even if it is just the next right thing.
So, if in this season you are like me and looking around at all of this crazy thing we call life. Maybe you have the dreams and the goals and the visions and plans God has given you for your life, but you are siting in your favorite chair going, Lord I have no idea how or when or where. I just want to encourage you, we do not have all the answers all the time! And that is ok. (Ssshhhh! Don’t tell my husband and my kids LOL) We were never meant to have them all. We were simply meant to love God and love others.
Do the next right thing and do it with love. We can never and will never go wrong with God’s love. He will guide you if you ask Him and let Him.
Father, I pray that You help Your daughter to imagine and dream with You today and throughout this week. Reveal to her Your plans for her. Plans to prosper her, plans to give her hope and a future. I thank You Father that when she seeks You she find You and You reveal Yourself to her. Help her to see herself the way You see her and remind her to change the roll and put her love on. In Jesus mighty mighty name, Amen.
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; Jeremiah 1:5
WRITTEN BY: ALEXANDRIA BROWN
For more from Alexandria, visit her website at www.alexandriabrown.org.
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When I was a young teenager, I was really into reading these books for teens on spiritual warfare. The books followed the lives of a brother and sister who had spiritual encounters with the occult, the demonic, witchcraft, etc. They were written in a way that showed God always overcomes evil and the importance of the Armor of God, however, they scared me to death. So much of the book was written to help the readers see that the occult is nothing to delve into while the brother and sister and the power of God didn't overcome evil until the climax of the book - as every good suspense book is written. But as a young teenager, this made me VERY afraid of the devil.
I had read the scriptures and grown up in Bible-teaching churches and a Christian family. I knew the devil was out to kill, steal, and destroy. He is the accuser of God's people. He isn't someone to poke a stick at. After reading those books, I had nightmares. Terrible ones. I could tell you story after story of nights when I woke up paralyzed by fear, hardly having a voice to pray and ask for help. This waned for a time, but shortly after I moved to an area that was inundated with witchcraft the dreams came back. The overwhelming fear came back. The spiritual oppression came back full force. I would wake up and feel like my voice disappeared. I would wake up and feel a presence in my room. If my voice came back, I would just start worshipping and saying out loud, "Jesus is Lord. Jesus is Lord. Jesus is Lord." I felt like the darkness was haunting and taunting me.
Listen. We are NOT meant to live this way. We are NOT meant to be afraid of the dark, afraid of the demonic, afraid of the enemy. We are NOT meant to hide and cower until he goes away and leaves us alone. We are NOT meant to look for the devil hiding behind every bush in every circumstance. Let's not give him that much credit. He doesn't have any power over us unless we hand it over to him.
I began to understand this about 8 years ago, but God has been showing me some new things about where I stand with the devil.
I have heard it said so many times by believers, "greater levels, greater devils." Maybe that's true, I can't say for sure. I don't see much of a biblical precedent for that, but circumstantially speaking, the statement seems to carry some weight. "Greater levels, greater devils" is a statement that implies that the closer we get to God, the more the enemy is going to attack us. The attacks will get greater and greater, harder and harder as we draw near to God and his plan.
I don't know that I fully subscribe to that statement. I think sometimes that may be true, but I don't know if that is a steadfast rule for every believer.
There is a verse in the New Testament (1 John 3:8) that says Jesus came to "destroy the works of the devil." So if I think about it beyond Jesus' 33 years on earth, I have to understand something very important. The devil is still prowling the earth looking for who he can devour, he is still the prince and power of the air, he hasn't been thrown into the lake of fire yet. Jesus ascended into heaven and gave us his Spirit who gives us access to ALL of God's power. ALL of it. Not just some of it, but ALL of it. Did we get that? The power that raised dead men to life, healed the sick, and made blind people see is LIVING INSIDE OF US. And we have FULL ACCESS to that. On top of that, we are made to walk in the footsteps of Christ, fulfilling the mission he has put before us. Our lives and paths may look different, but we are purposed and equipped to DESTROY THE WORKS OF THE DEVIL, just like Jesus. We aren't on the defense y'all! We are offensive players. We are STALKING the darkness.
I think each time we submit more fully to God and begin to fulfill our purpose, we come up against a spiritual wall. We enter into enemy territory and we are purposed to DESTROY the enemy in that territory. That territory belongs to God and we are the ones to TAKE IT BACK for God. We walk in a constant state of victory because our brother, Jesus, extended all of his power to us. We have full access to the resources of heaven and perfect victory, but it's up to us to go to God and receive it.
We are not made to be afraid of the enemy. We are made new in Christ so that he is AFRAID OF US. We are made to stalk the darkness, take back territory, and reign as sons and daughters of the most powerful, most loving, most righteous, most holy, most gracious, MOST HIGH GOD. El Elyon.
We have nothing to fear for our God is with us. Emmanuel. He provides the resources to secure the victory. Jehovah-Jireh. We have ranking over the enemy because we belong to the Almighty God. El Shaddai.
So let's stop cowering in fear. Let's stop doing what keeps us safe and start doing what we were purposed to do:
STALK the darkness. DESTROY the works of the devil. TAKE BACK territory.
WRITTEN BY: Lyndsay Terry
Read more from Lyndsay @ www.lyndsayterry.com
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Okay, so when you think of fear, what comes to mind?
Public speaking, you say?
Oh great, so you're tracking with me here! Apparently we are in good company, according to statistics.
All joking aside.. the latest development in my journey of overcoming fear has come about as a result of public speaking.
It's been quite the journey, which funnily enough, began a few years ago with public speaking. The subject? '20 Seconds of Insane Courage'.
Yep, true story.
I have dealt with completely and utterly paralyzing fear surrounding public speaking. It has been crippling and frustrating.
It has also somehow become freeing, serving as an altar on which I can clearly recall and trace and see the Lord's goodness.
Several months ago, I made a commitment to begin making time in the evenings to write a few days a week. From that commitment to myself and to God came this completely unexpected and beautiful time with the Lord and this pouring out of words onto pages of a notebook that I had not a clue what to do with. I just began to write and waited to see what, if anything, would come of this writing.
One Sunday morning soon after, right in the middle of worship, I suddenly knew what I was to do next. And look, I was not thrilled.
I mustered up twenty seconds of insane courage to approach our Pastor after service and said something like, "Umm, hi, so I've been writing this thing. And I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to share it in a communion meditation but I'd really rather not. I mean, I will. I want to. To be obedient, that is. Not a communion meditation. But I will because God said so. So.. Yeah." (Please insert about a thousand "um's" and imagine a very red face for the sake of historical accuracy)
And you know this was completely and totally the LORD because our Pastor was so very encouraging after those tangled words fell out of my mouth.
I lost a good bit of sleep as the day of my communion meditation approached. My heart was constantly in my throat and I shook like a leaf all that morning. I wanted desperately to run and begged the Lord to sustain me as I felt incredibly physically and emotionally weak. After I somehow managed to get through what I had written without passing out, I returned to my seat and sobbed through the rest of worship, crying out to God, saying, "Lord, this is for You. This is all about You. Please don't let me make this about me or my performance or how I may be perceived or received. Please just let You be visible and glorified above all else."
(God, in all His extravagant goodness and graciousness, allowed this morning to be an unthinkably beautiful and emboldening time for me anyway. He's lavishly good like that.)
Moving forward, though, this became a somewhat regular cycle over the next few months. My stomach would drop when I learned the date of my next meditation and I would feel absolutely sick as the time approached, even though I was growing in intimacy with the Lord in the preparation, prayer and worship leading up to Sunday service. One Saturday evening, I had had enough and texted a couple of precious friends of mine, asking what was so heavily laid on my heart, "Please pray for me. I am so sick over this and I am so sick of this. I am praying for ALL fear to GO and for the FEAR OF THE LORD to be the only thing remaining. Please pray with me!"
I share all of this with you, sweet friend, so you will have an idea of how much of a burden this fear has been for me. And there were many times when I thought I surrendered this fear to the Lord and anticipated breakthrough in this area of my faith, only to be perplexed and momentarily defeated when I didn't see this unfolding quite as I expected.
This was so because my trust in the Lord only went but so far, as it turned out. I trusted Him enough to step out in obedience. I trusted Him enough to place on my heart what to say for a particular service. But I had drawn a line and I didn't yet trust enough that He would fill my mouth if I only opened it in expectation that His Holy Spirit would guide my words and fill my gaps. I just couldn't do it and I reasoned that, well, it wasn't that I didn't trust Him. I just didn't trust myself. I was the problem.
And that right there was exactly the problem. Too much hinged on my ability, or lack thereof. Instead of fixing my eyes on Jesus and keeping my eyes there, too often my gaze wavered and I wondered why in the world I was drowning in this fear.
"In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge." Proverbs 14:26
"Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!" Psalm 34:9
I laid down my fear but then ultimately snatched it right back up because of my own lack.
Lack of fear of the Lord.
Lack of confidence in Him.
Lack of belief.
Fear of the Lord means having "a deep respect, reverence and awe for God's power and authority." If I don't allow Him complete and total authority over my fear, trusting that He, in His sovereignty, will come through, even when I don't see a way, how then can His perfect love cast out fear? (1 John 4:18)
How can we have a deep and personal reverence and awe of Jesus if we are not willing to lay it all down, to risk it all?
How can our eyes be opened to the magnificence of His power and authority in our lives- and how can He be glorified- if we won't loosen our grip on the things we feel like we need to hold onto simply because we are afraid of what will happen when we let go?
Oh, friend. It's quite the journey to exchange your fear for the only fear that is pure (Psalm 19:9). He is able. There are no words for the relief and freedom there is when we can finally wholly surrender our fears to Jesus. His desire is for chains to break and for scales to fall as our eyes are opened to His glory.
I praise Him for His great mercy in this walk of allowing Him to loose the grip of fear in my life. I still am growing in this area but have seen such a transformation. There is still trembling but it is before Him. I have seen Him provide and sustain in new and unimaginable ways this year and can say to you with confidence: God's power and authority far outweigh any fear you find yourself up against. He wants it out of your grasp so that you can see just how glorious He is. I stand in awe of all that He has done with such debilitating fear! Him and Him alone!
Lord, we praise you. You alone are worthy. You are worthy of it all. And so, Lord, we lay down our fear to you today. We lay it all down and pray that even our mustard seed of faith in doing this results in such an abundance and covers our lack in such a way that is unfathomable and unimaginable and supernatural. Please forgive us for the fears we have not yet been able to leave at your feet, God. Let your fear reign over our hearts and let all our worldly fear fall off. You are able, Lord. We cry out for freedom from fear and for a boldness for you and for your kingdom. "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."
WRITTEN BY: OLIVIA CALDWELL
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When the time came for me to really let her go and say goodbye at the airport, the tears came. How could I impart upon her all the things I hadn’t said? How could I make sure she was making good choices and being safe? How could I let my baby go to the other side of the country without me? She was so young! I was afraid for her. Afraid for things she had never even thought about. This precious gift that God had given me was leaving me and it was time for me to let go. This was me sending my oldest daughter off to Seattle, Washington. She was going to be fine. I knew that in my heart. But not seeing her every day and not hearing her singing in the house and her silly laughing with her little sisters was going to leave a hole.
The fact of the matter is that I am no good at letting things go. I am afraid. Fear gets a foothold in my heart and I can’t seem to release things to God like I am supposed to. Proverbs 3:5 says we are to trust God and not lean on our own understanding. Philippians 4:6 says we aren’t supposed to be anxious, but let request be known to God. Romans 8:28 promises that it will all work together for those that love God. So why is this so hard?
The enemy is smart and knows how much we like to be in control. He knows what kinds of things make us worry and anxious and fearful. He knows that letting go in faith is hard enough, but when you add a touch of fear, it makes it even harder.
We hold tight to so many things. So many of these things are meant to be left at Jesus’ feet. This includes our kids! Yes, we are supposed to take care of them, but there comes a time when we do let go. He loves our kids even more than we do! He loves us more than we can imagine! Sweet sisters, we have to learn to let him take over in so many areas of our life. That job you want? He’s got a plan for it. The spouse you were given? God has it under control. That worry for health issues? He already knows how it is going to work out. That worry in the back of your mind that keeps you up at night striking fear in your heart for it to work out? Already taken care of according to His plan.
The opposite of FEAR is FAITH (a strong form of trust). That is power in our hands! The power that lives in us is built on that faith.
2 Timothy 1:7 “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
We must rest on that promise. We are told we have POWER, LOVE, and SELF-CONTROL in the face of our fears.
I let a few tears flow that day I put my 18 year old daughter on a plane to Seattle. I am guilty of telling her that she can always come home. But I let her go. I left her in the hands of the Father that loves her even more than I do and knows that she was raised to be independent. What do you need to leave at the feet of Jesus today? I promise that you will be glad you did. Let your fears of letting go be the first things to go.
WRITTEN BY: ANGIE REESE
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There is something so very calming about walking along the beach. Feeling the gritty grains of sand on my bare feet, and the gentle breeze as it lifts my hair to fully expose my face to the bright rays of the sun. It calms my spirit and feeds my soul. As if in the overflow... God wants to fully reveal my inner spirit, the real me, to the world. And in that revelation, I feel His peace.
I revel in that peace. It is a balm to the inner wounds of my soul and spirit. I am walking out the process of being healed and made whole. In this healing, I am able to step forward into the ocean's waves...even as they begin to crash at my feet. He guides me, but I must keep moving forward into the depths of His love and grace.
There is freedom in this intentional forward movement...this dance with the waters, as they swirl around my knees. Oh, what freedom! I love the dance!
This is what I was created for...this freedom to walk into all He has purposed for my life.
“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” ~C.S. Lewis
And so I continue to wade into the waters, feeling the waves lift me and carry me,
"As You carry me, LORD, I surrender to Your path for my life. I feel You guiding me deeper still."
Sometimes the waves get a little rough. They rise up and slap me fully in the face. Still, I move forward as I regain my footing and catch my breath. Sometimes there is a struggle in moving forward into God's will. In breathing again, I am thrilled with the wonder of all He has created. And it fills me and enables me to continue on.
I hear the tumult of the raging seas as your waves and surging tides sweep over me. ~Psalm 42:7, NLT
And then it happens. A rogue wave rises out of nowhere and knocks me off my feet! As the waves sweep over me, I struggle to regain my footing...there...there is the sand again. I dig in my heels to steady my body to let the waves sweep past me. Calm is restored. But I cannot move forward. I'm afraid to keep moving.
So I stand there, waist-deep. There will be more waves.
"Can You carry me, Lord? I'm not strong enough for this!"
I dig my heels further into the sand and refuse to move out into the deeper waters. I know He is calling me, but I am paralyzed with fear. I want to move...but as I hesitate, I feel the sands lifting and resettling around my feet as they sink further and further down into the sand ...the sinking sand. And I am STUCK! Unable to move forward into all He is calling me to. Into the wonder, into His grace. I feel the disgrace of the fall ...the shame of being stuck in my tracks.
And yet He calls me deeper still. Out of disgrace into His grace. As I reach out to take His hand, He pulls me out of the sinking sands. I move forward leaving fear and doubt in the wake of His love and mercy. And I am in awe of this God who loves me so.
I called on your name, O LORD, from the depths of the pit;
you heard my plea, 'Do not close your ear to my cry for help!'
You came near when I called on you; you said, 'Do not fear!'
You have taken up my cause, O Lord; you have redeemed my life.
~ Lamentations 3:55-58
Unstuck ... I am free! Free to walk deeper still into this calling. Into His arms...His strength. Into His grace.
Does fear have you stuck? Let God take your hand and step forward into His grace. When you do ... those things that hold you back will begin to fall away. Leaving you free...free from fear. Unstuck! Free to walk into all He created you to be.
Earlier this year, our team gathered together to pray and decide on topics that we felt the Lord was putting before us to encourage, challenge, and strengthen women around the world this year through our blog, videos, and discussion on the Community. The topic of LEADERSHIP was brought to the table and immediately, two women came to mind... Pam Smith and Melanie Resendes. After talking with them and reading their thoughts on leadership, I (Lyndsay) was in tears. I needed to hear so much of this personally and I felt a big, fat confirmation that our choice in asking them to partner with us on the topic of leadership was 100% the Lord's influence and leading!
Pam and Melanie desperately love Jesus, their families, and the work God has put before them. While both are Boss Babes, each of them bring different strengths to their teams and have their own leadership style heavily influenced by Jesus and the leading of the Holy Spirit. We are so blessed to call them each a friend and have this conversation together today! I'll let them introduce themselves and we'll let's get this thing started...
Melanie and Pam, thank you both for letting us glean from your fields here on the blog. We've got some real nourishment, encouragement, and refreshment from you both today! We appreciate your candor, vulnerability, and wisdom. You both have some deep wells and we are so so grateful for you, your ministries, and all that God is doing in you, through you, and around you.
We'd love to continue this conversation with all of you beautiful women on the Community so head over there and let's chat!
Did God speak to you through this conversation today?
What is He showing you?
How can we support you or champion you to grow in leadership and obey Jesus more today than yesterday?
You are so loved,
Pretty & Wise Co.
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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Leadership has been a regular topic of conversation between my father and I since I was about 8 years old. I remember sitting on his knee after a friend in the neighborhood treated me poorly and didn’t keep her word. I was in tears and instead of scooping me up, telling me it was going to be okay, and leaving it at that, my father scooped me up, talked me through how to make things right with her, and helped me learn that I can create boundaries and communicate to others what is acceptable in our relationship and what is not. These were some of my first conversations centered on leadership that I can remember. And they haven’t stopped since.
Anytime I hit a wall in a relationship - professionally or personally, anytime I run into an obstacle I don’t know how to overcome, anytime things get sticky or fragile and I can’t risk being too clumsy in my approach to solving a problem, I ALWAYS call my dad. I have avoided so many “fatal” errors in my life and my different leadership roles because I called my dad before I made a rash decision. I sought council instead of flying by the seat of my pants. I’ve saved myself so many headaches and have learned so many invaluable lessons in leadership… I’ve been a much better leader to people because I called my dad first.
Getting ready to write this article, I had a million leadership “lessons” I could have shared from my father’s wisdom. He’s been in leadership positions professionally for almost 40 years. He’s learned a lot and I’ve gleaned from that field time and time again. Initially, I figured I’d write something about, “How to deal with conflict resolution,” or “Team building,” and how those things factor into work AND home life… or something of that nature.
However, I felt the Lord pull me in a direction I really didn’t want to go, to be quite frank. But I realized that it was something I desperately needed to hear at one point in my life and maybe there are some of you that need to hear this right now. So here goes…
Leadership After Failure.
Have you ever been in a leadership position - in any capacity - and done something so spectacularly stupid that you almost (or did) burned your life to the ground?
“Where do I go from here?”
“God will never allow me to lead again.”
“How could He ever entrust other people to me again?”
“That’s it. Those dreams are gone now.”
“I threw away everything and there’s no getting it back.”
“Will anyone ever trust me again?”
“Should anyone ever trust me again?”
All those thoughts ran through my head on repeat several years ago after I had a metaphorical loose thread on a sweater that I kept tugging at and tugging at until the entire thing unraveled - my entire LIFE unraveled. I had a problem I should have handled differently. I should have sought help other places. I should have seen the signs. I should have reached out to the right people. Instead, I stayed hidden, dealt with it the way I wanted to, and ignored God while trying to do His work. I was trying to lead well in His name at home and at work all the while suffering and inadvertently inflicting more suffering upon myself and those around me.
I hit a wall. My world caught on fire - a fire that I started myself - and I was standing in the ashes of my own indiscretion, selfishness, and inept leadership.
Listen to me. I was getting out of the shower a few days after my spectacular failure and I was reeling in the aftermath of that failure when I heard the Lord say, “Did David lose his anointing after Bathsheba? Did I remove his crown? Did I take him from his throne? Did I choose a new king?”
I stood in that bathroom and cried. I couldn’t believe what the Lord was saying to me! How was he possibly so generous? I sinned against Him and others and, yet, He did not take away my anointing - the thing He purposed me for and set me aside to do. He did not remove my garment of praise and return to me a cloak of mourning. He still had a job for me. His will and purpose was not swayed by my sin. But why was that? How could He still hold me so dear? How did He not see me as despicable? Here’s what I think…
Because my spirit was broken and my heart contrite before Him.
I wasn’t blaming anyone else for my failure at this point. The whole world knew and there was no hiding anymore. I failed. I wasn’t hiding from Him any longer either. He was all I had to hold onto and I was hanging onto the hem of his cloak for dear life believing that just His nearness could make me whole again.
The Lord can do a lot with that, sweet friend.
In the coming months, the Lord did an unbelievable and miraculous work in my life. He brought so much healing to me physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. He brought healing to my family and our future. Hope was set before us and we could see it clearly when our eyes were on Jesus because all of our hope was in Him. Leadership looked different for me for awhile. Things changed because of failure, that was true, but my purpose remained. My anointing retained. My calling the same. The Lord helped show me how to lead well after the fire. And a lot of conversations with my dad helped too.
All of us lead. Maybe at work, at home, or some other sphere. And I’m convinced we all start a fire in our leadership at some point. Maybe it’s a spectacular fire and you burn the whole forest down. Maybe it’s small and easy to stop the spread. Maybe your fire took out the entire west coast. Whatever your failure looks like - a spectacular one or a minor blunder - we all have to figure out leadership after the fire.
So what do you do after the fire? How do you lead well? Here’s a few things I’ve learned…
Leadership is difficult and can be scary. It forces us to grow, challenges us to mature, and leads us to places we sometimes don’t want to go, but, as Jesus lovers, leadership is a beautiful gift. It’s an avenue that grows us into His likeness. So press into it. And when failure comes, because it always does, remember this:
Failure is an event, not a person.
Failure does not define you, degrade you, or defeat you when you are in Christ Jesus.
“For My hand made all these things, thus all these things came into being,” declares the Lord. “But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.” Isaiah 66:2
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” Psalm 51:17
“For thus says the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.”
WRITTEN BY: LYNDSAY TERRY
Read more from Lyndsay @ www.lyndsayterry.com
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It's taken me a long time to sit down to write this month's article. If I'm being honest, the topic of leadership has had me feeling some kind of way these last few weeks.
I almost want to make sure you know up front that I am an unlikely sort of leader, which is sort of true, I guess.
Growing up, I was painfully shy and quiet. I preferred to follow and avoided standing out at all costs. And really, I still tend to be quiet and shy and I most definitely deep down inside prefer not to do anything that looks like stepping up and stepping out.
Oh yes, most assuredly I am an unlikely sort of leader, but in the Kingdom of God, I am in good company. How many instances in the Bible are there wherein God partners with the unlikeliest of characters? How many times do we read of God coming in and doing something so unexpected and remarkable?!
So this has got me thinking.. if the Kingdom of God sort of flips the switch on what's conventional and expected; if the very things that would normally disqualify or count us out according to the world are opportunities for God's grace and mercy and glory to shine all the brighter; if we see time and time again in the Word of God that our tendencies and weaknesses are the very places that His strength is manifested, could that mean that our perception of leadership could use a little aligning with these truths?
What if the key to leading is following? What if leading well actually looks like following hard after Jesus?
"My soul followeth hard after thee.." (Psalm 63:8)
When I think of a heart for the Lord's leading, I think of a passage of Scripture that absolutely changed my life. I think of Isaiah 6, when Isaiah encountered the Lord in all of His glory:
"..I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphim were standing above him.. And one called to another:
Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of Armies;
his glory fills the whole earth.
The foundations of the doorways shook at the sound of their voices, and the temple was filled with smoke." Isa. 6:1-4
Isaiah's response? "Woe is me for I am ruined because I am a man of unclean lips and live among a people of unclean lips, and because my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of Armies." Isa. 6:5
Isaiah stands in the presence of the King, absolutely awestruck as he is overcome by the glory of the Lord and his response is that he is not worthy, he is unclean- he cannot remain here.
"Then one of the seraphim flew to me, and in his hand was a glowing coal that he had taken from an altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, Now that this has touched your lips, your iniquity is removed and your sin is atoned for.
Then I heard the voice of the Lord asking:
Who will I send?
Who will go for us?
Here I am. Send me." Isa. 6:6-8
I am so struck by Isaiah's audacity. In one breath, he expresses the impurity of his lips and in the next, once he has been cleansed, he speaks to the King of Kings and pleads, "Send me." And the Lord commissions him to go and speak!
Oh, I pray my heart is always as willing as Isaiah's. I pray that I never lose sight of the majesty of King Jesus. I pray that in His presence, I am filled with wonder and reverence. I pray that in view of His holiness, I am wholly humbled and repentant. I pray that in light of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross wherein my sin was removed as far as the east is from the west, I am therefore emboldened to do what is the good, pleasing and perfect will of the Lord.
Here I am, Lord. Send me. I am willing.
Could it be that as we seek after the Father's heart, as His desires become our own, that we begin to overflow into our spheres of influence? Could it be that the more closely we follow Jesus, the more He is magnified and therefore His glory is the driving force behind any and all leadership we have the honor and privilege of partnering with Him in?
What if our leadership simply looks like, "Come and see"? Come and see this Jesus, come and see all He has done. Come; see and believe! Taste and see for yourselves!
Lord, let us be so ruined, so undone by Your sovereignty, that we can't help but lead others to pursue You. Let our hearts be gladly given to Your will, no matter the cost.
Written By: Olivia Caldwell
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Leadership: You won’t be searching long before you find a book, article, or expert on it. But what does the Bible say about it? It says a lot when it comes to specific leadership of elders and deacons, but we are not all in those categories. I want to look at 2 Timothy 2:15. It says “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”
This verse comes in the midst of Timothy warning the readers about quarreling, irreverent babble, and false teachings.
I believe that this verse can tell us a lot about Godly leadership on all levels. Let’s dive in to see what I mean.
“Do your best…”
I don’t think that Godly leadership is perfection. Anyone who has ever set foot into a church will know this. There are opinions and speculations that sometimes go astray from where they should. But we aren’t told to be perfect. Or even near perfect. We are told DO YOUR BEST. This means thinking before we speak, find out what the Bible says about it before we act, consider others, and then do your best.
“...present yourself to God as one approved…”
As a leader, we need to remember that we are leading under God’s approval. He is the one that is the ultimate leader of leaders. When we are leading - whether it be just our children or a group of ladies, or a worship service for a huge group - we must put ourselves under God’s authority. We need to present ourselves to him and get HIS approval before we seek to lead others.
“...a worker who has no need to be ashamed…”
Leaders sometimes have to be ready to lead by example. We have to be willing to get into the trenches with everyone else and do what needs to be done. If we are doing this, we aren’t seeking approval or title or some throne or pedestal to be placed on. Again, we are presenting ourselves to God first. If we do this, we should never be ashamed of the work we are doing to glorify Him.
“...rightly handling the word of truth.”
This is the big one. If we aren’t handling (read Teaching and Living) the word of truth correctly, then we don’t need to be a leader. Ouch. That was harsh, I know. But when it comes to God’s word and leading people you have to be sure (as sure as possible) that you are doing the right thing. This means that as leaders we have to be in God’s word more often, praying more often, and keeping our ears open to what God is telling us as OUR leader. Leading others astray through false teaching is a very serious offense in God’s eyes.
As we lead our families (and possibly other women), I hope we all seek His approval. There can be no other approval more sweet than knowing we are leading others rightfully closer to Christ and salvation.
Written By: Angie Reese
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