I am one of those people that is lucky to lead so many world changing women. Actually, I wouldn’t call it luck at all. I would call it Gods faithfulness mixed with some good ol’ intention.
Leadership takes work. It requires sacrifice and I’ve come to realize over the years that it doesn’t just “happen”. In building friendships, a marriage and discipling many women – there is one lesson I have learned that I don’t think is taught often enough. So here it is…
Look at the CORE and NOT the SYMPTOM.
I know, your thinking “What is she talking about?” I’ll explain. I’ve seen time and time again – women not reach their full potential because a leader has given up on them for the wrong reasons. I’ve been given so much bad advice over the years – it’s scary! It’s so easy to address symptoms and not the real core issues of a persons life.
Let me explain…
When I first became a Christian I was being lifted out of a dark place that I had ended up in through a series of bad decisions. My testimony is a long one, for another day, but at the age of 24 I found myself in a place that only really God could save me. He did.
I had picked up habits throughout my life that helped make life bearable. In my college years I gained so much affirmation + value in nightlife that it became a bit of a refuge for me. When I was saved, I had to learn a new way of living. I remember once a leader said to me “We get it, your the life of the party. However, no one will take you seriously as a leader unless you act more responsible.” THIS WAS DEATH to my Identity. I already didn’t believe in myself as a leader. My addiction to nightlife was a symptom of years of disappointment, hurt, and brokenness.
This is why it’s important to be in community. I remember sitting on the couch with Mavis and she listened to me. She saw me not as the woman that I was, but the woman I would become. She never once addressed my affinity for nightlife, but spoke to the CORE of who I was. What was I getting from going out? Did I trust that God loved me? Did I actually believe that He had someone for me?
As my core started to change, then the symptoms did as well. I didn’t have to “try to quit” nightlife. It just lost it’s appeal. I didn’t need the affirmation from the doorman or the value from being on the “inside.” I got that now from my relationship with Jesus.
So – how do you know if you should stop investing in someone…
I actually get this question a lot. First, ask God what you should do. He knows the end of the story. Then I would say – Look at the heart and the fruit. Is the person humble or full of pride? Do they get distracted by offense or can they receive feedback in a healthy way. Is their desire to follow God and change or is it to be right?
“For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. – Luke 6:43-45
Three years ago I was leading someone and they kept making the worst decisions and would have been defined as “flakey”. However, every time we sat down – the tears flowed. This person didn’t want to be living this way, it was just all they ever knew. God said to me “I will give them a new heart.” I held on to this promise for this young lady and continued to pray and believe for her. Each month, as she started to see what God really thought of her – I didn’t have to “convince her” to step up as a leader – she just did. Christ inside her heart started to transform her from the inside out. Now, she is fully alive with the love of God and leading so many.
Imagine if Mavis didn’t believe in me? Then this woman would not have been changed – and the women she leads wouldn’t be invested into. Gods Kingdom is like a pebble thrown into water. The ripple goes far beyond how far your eyes can see.
I hope this encourages you. Let me know if you have any other leadership questions!