Born for intimate friendship with the Creator of the Universe.
One day a while back, Nate and I were driving to church. All that afternoon I had been regaling him with all the things that were wrong, all the things I hated, and all the things that needed fixed. Before we got very far from the house Nate stopped me and asked, “Faith, are you happy?”
“I mean, relatively, so. Why?” I said, quickly realizing where this was going.
“Because I can fix a lot of these things for you, but that won’t matter if you don’t have a grateful heart.”
Boom. Mic drop.
I was instantly convicted of my complaining and repented right there.
We smile and wave and shake a few hands on our way to OUR seats for the Sunday morning service. Maybe we have a cup of coffee with us. Maybe we don’t. But we sit in our seat, stand when asked to. We praise and worship as part of the congregation and then listen as the pastor delivers a well thought out and meaningful message. Then we say goodbye on our way out of the door. Go grab lunch and don’t think about church until it’s about time to go to the next service.
For years this was me.
Oh, I read my Bible regularly (usually daily). I listened to preaching throughout the week, but I didn’t actively SERVE in my church. I had really “good reasons” like being gone lots of weekends for rodeos, I served in other organizations, etc.
But something shifted in me and my faith when I began to serve in my local church on a regular basis.
I am not a “baby person” just like I am not your typical “dog person”. I like my baby and other select babies just like I like my dogs and other select dogs. So please don’t be offended if I don’t ask to hold your tiny humans or pet your canine.
We intentionally waited 6 years to start having babies. We very much believe that was God’s timing for us and thus were Spirit-led in our decision to start having children.
To be totally honest, my heart was not ready to have children when we first got married. So much of what I had seen portrayed about motherhood by my generation deterred me. But I KNEW deep down in my soul that God designed motherhood to be GOOD, even glorious really, so if I was going to have what HE designed rather than settling for what I saw around me, I had to renew my mind and confront the lies.
“He who thinks he leads, and has no one following, is really only taking a walk.”
– (adapted from a John Maxwell quote)
This is truly one of my favorite leadership quotes ever. As someone who can tend to get pretty bossy easily, I often have to double check myself to see if anyone is actually following my leadership or if I am just out on a walk by my lonesome.
Just because you or I have been appointed to lead or boss people around does NOT mean that they will want to follow us.
So here are some tips about leading and influencing people. I firmly believe that as a Christian we are all called to lead others to Christ in some capacity. And if you haven’t yet read part one of this, go check it out. It will help all of this make more sense and benefit you more.
1. Your heart should ultimately be to serve.
Having “leadership skills” instead of just being plain ol’ bossy has not always been my forte (read: I occasionally still step into bossy pants mode accidentally)”. Being bossy comes REALLY naturally to me. I am the oldest. The oldest sibling, the oldest cousin, even one of the oldest of all my extended cousins. I was born bossy. For some of us, taking charge or feeling like a leader comes more naturally.
“If we are Christians, we are called to lead others to Christ. So we are all leaders.”
Whether we FEEL like we have a knack for leadership is not the question. The question is: How can we best use our gifts to lead others to Christ, to make disciples of all. As a Christian, we are called to be leaders. Period. Taking the lead comes easily for me, but that doesn’t mean that I have always lead in the right direction, done it well, or don’t need to grow in my abilities.
Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays where there is not a whole lot of neutral ground.
No really, think about it. Most people either love the holiday or hate it.
I must confess, that I have gone through quite the gamut of emotions regarding the cards and flowers holiday. Growing up it was always a celebration. One of my parents’ top love languages is gifts, so we usually woke up to cards and some form of candy. It wasn’t extravagant, but we always felt celebrated and like it was a special day.
For so long I thought that part of being a good Christian was to serve in ways that I hated. By some strange logic, I thought doing things that I was not passionate about or built for, on a regular basis, made me holier. No joke, the thought process crossed my mind more than once that I should do_______ because I hate it and that would be crucifying my flesh and make me more like Jesus.
For instance… tiny humans… I love my tiny human (and future tiny humans). And I might possibly love your tiny human in a one on one scenario. But put me in a room full of tiny humans and I want to run away screaming and/or tie up and gag all the tiny humans. My Mom, God bless her, is a Kindergarten teacher and LOVES it. And I spent enough time in and out of her classroom growing up to KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am NOT good with nor passionate about large groups of booger eaters.
“Faith, do NOT put those Barbie beads in your mouth. Do you understand?”
However… For some odd reason, my little 4-year-old self was obsessed with the idea of having braces, and I thought that string of Barbie pearls looked like the perfect set of play braces to put on my perfectly straight baby teeth….
About 5 minutes go by and I have been holding those amazing fake braces over my teeth, admiring them in the full-length mirrors that covered my closet doors when I heard my Mom say from the kitchen…
“Faith, you didn’t put those beads in your mouth, did you?”
I find when I release my need for perfection to the One who is already perfect, I actually sin less. I actually judge less. I am far less critical. I actually see others with more mercy.
Mercy releases you and others from a standard you could never keep on your own.
You see, the only One who actually has the right to hold me to perfect standards has said, “I have been perfect for you because you couldn’t be. I took your mess so you could live in my beauty.” Jesus is too busy wooing me with His love and kindness to be condemning me. And in fact, when we fail to issue mercy and grace, we side with the accuser of the brethren, Satan, in the courtroom of God.
Come on now, the God who gave His EVERYTHING, risked His one and only Son for the CHANCE that you might choose Him DOESN’T care about your yet unfulfilled desire to be married to a Godly spouse? Or your constant feeling of loneliness, or how your heart aches and screams every time you think of that person or that situation? Really???He doesn’t care???
Nope. Not buying it.
The same cross that paid the price for our eternal salvation paid the price for us to have abundant life, a life rescued and healed and restored.