I Am a Leader

I am a leader.

If you know me now, this is no surprise. But it took me a long time to realize this, and even longer to realize that this was OK.

As a kid, I was always the one organizing the games or leading group projects. As a college student and young adult starting out in ministry, I was the one providing direction, clarity, and organization. Sometimes I didn’t seek particular roles and even eschewed invitations to lead. Nonetheless, for some reason I often became the de facto leader in many situations.

At the same time, for many years my developing gift was largely discouraged. As a kid I was sometimes described as “bossy,” obviously a negative label. I was told that women should not have strong personalities, that I could be intimidating, that men should be in charge, that one day I would mature — the implication being that I would grow out of these tendencies and become quiet and submissive.

For years I felt that something was wrong with me, that I had some sort of character flaw. Why couldn’t I just be part of the crowd? Why did I get frustrated being stuck in the pack? Why did people look to me to be in charge even when I intentionally tried to blend into the woodwork?

A few people referred to me as a leader, but I thought they were referring to my positions: R.A., youth director, administrator. For the most part, the conservative evangelical culture I grew up in did not look favorably on women as leaders, either in position or personality.

I don’t know when exactly I finally embraced my leadership, not just who I am as some sort of mistake to be corrected, but as a God-given gift. I think it was partly the result of scoring high on leadership on every spiritual gifts inventory I ever completed. I think it was partly because I began tracing some patterns in my life and realized I had been exercising effective leadership for years, dating back to those unrefined days on the school playground. And I think it was partly because I had finally moved out from under the restrictive umbrella I had lived and worked under, to a church and other environments and relationships that truly valued leadership gifts in women and challenged what I had come to believe.

Whatever the factors, it was about eight years ago that I finally realized I had been trying to squelch an important piece of who I am. And I can now declare with confidence, conviction, pleasure, and a healthy sense of pride: I am a leader. God made me this way, and He made no mistake. My leadership is a gift from God, and God not only desires but also expects me to use it to advance His kingdom, no matter what others might say is acceptable.

Thank you, Lord.

 

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “I Am a Leader

  1. Claire says:

    Wow. Thank you for being so honest. I thought I was the only one!! I am just now, within the past few months, realising that I am a leader. And that I should not apologise for this fact. That to say it isn't because I have a pride issue or want power and attention, but because God has made me this way in His service. And yes, I am a women. Somehow, I don't think God has made a mistake about my call or my gender 😉

  2. Alyce says:

    A bit of refreshment and encouragement for my day 🙂 And yes I am a woman too. It's a funny thing, in all of my time in fellowship and communion with God, He never has to remind me that I am a woman. I am thankful for who I am, even if I am misunderstood at times.

  3. Claire says:

    Wow. Thank you for being so honest. I thought I was the only one!! I am just now, within the past few months, realising that I am a leader. And that I should not apologise for this fact. That to say it isn’t because I have a pride issue or want power and attention, but because God has made me this way in His service. And yes, I am a women. Somehow, I don’t think God has made a mistake about my call or my gender 😉

  4. Alyce says:

    A bit of refreshment and encouragement for my day 🙂 And yes I am a woman too. It’s a funny thing, in all of my time in fellowship and communion with God, He never has to remind me that I am a woman. I am thankful for who I am, even if I am misunderstood at times.

  5. Stacey says:

    I remembering questioning God when he called me for ministry – so your post hit home and reminded me that parts of my nature were present before I even knew God. For those who are serving in a ministry that is evolving on this issue – take heart, our God is with us!

  6. Stacey says:

    I remembering questioning God when he called me for ministry – so your post hit home and reminded me that parts of my nature were present before I even knew God. For those who are serving in a ministry that is evolving on this issue – take heart, our God is with us!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s