Women with the gift of leadership will face many battles that will be directly linked to the fact you are a female. If you are a lady leader, it is very likely you have endured negative comments such as:
“Wow, you are bossy.”
“You are a little over the top.”
“You do that well for a girl”
In the church world, you may have even been called “Jezebel”, which is basically the Christian B-word. Some people will not accept you, just because of your gender. But when you are given a gift, you must use it. Romans 12:8 says if we have a gift of leadership then “lead diligently.” There will be times that you will be tempted to shut up and sit down. Don’t fall into that temptation.
Recently, when I was faced with the temptation to quit ministry, God reminded me that future generations of girls are watching me! My daughter, Jubilee, is a leader and a little soul winner. She frequently invites neighborhood kids to our house and they often play on our trampoline in our backyard. We have rules in our yard. Rule number one is: We honor Jesus in our yard, so our behavior needs to be a reflection of that rule. Rule number two is: We only allow 5 kids at a time on the trampoline. This rule is necessary for the children’s safety. Sometimes Jubilee needs help administering the rules; fortunately, her close friend, Monte, has no problem implementing the rules… and to the tee.
On one occasion, when the children were particularly hyper, Monte smacked the law down. She kicked several youngsters off the overly crowded trampoline and she restored order. However, some of the children weren’t impressed with Monte’s “take charge attitude”. Some of the kids started to mutter unkind words under their breath. As a female leader, I was all too familiar with those types of damaging words. I knew this was a chance to turn a potentially negative situation into a positive one, so I took the opportunity to affirm Monte in the presence of the entire backyard posse. I told her that with her skills of organization and management she could grow up to be a CEO if she so desired. My words spoken to Monte changed the atmosphere in the backyard that day.
Hopefully, my affirmation to Monte built up her self-esteem. I truly desire all girls and women alike to tread with a bold confidence. Yes, leadership is hard work, especially for women, but we must fulfill the assignment on our lives, not only for ourselves but for our daughters. Therefore, learn to fight through your insecurities, stereotypes, and hardships that come with the gift of leadership. And the next time you are tempted to give up, think about these three things and keep moving forward.
1. It’s ok to be extra!
Embrace who you are; don’t apologize for it. Sometimes female leaders get criticized for showing emotion. God has given us emotional intelligence and showing a degree of emotion could be a good thing. Instead of backing off because you are afraid you are being “too much”, OWN IT! God loves extra! As a matter of fact, he rewards it. The woman with the alabaster box was called an extravagant worshiper. She was criticized by her male peers but affirmed by Jesus. Jesus said this about her in Matthew 26:13 (NASB),
“Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.”
Notice the root word in EXTRA-VAGANT is “EXTRA”! Jesus taught us to go the extra mile, so don’t back down! Go for it!
2. It’s ok to be assertive!
Leaders are go-getters! They don’t sit back and wait for someone to do what needs to be done. They are the ones who show up early and stay late. They don’t back down. Sometimes women leaders get a bad rap when they show their assertiveness. They are made to feel bad for taking charge. Ladies, God loves it when you go after what you want. Remember the woman with the issue of blood (Matthew 9:20-22). When she showed her brazenness and pushed through the crowd she was healed. I encourage you to keep going; your breakthrough is on the other side!
3. It’s ok to use your voice!
God has given you influence and a voice. Use your voice to do His will! Don’t apologize for speaking up when you have an idea. Use your voice for the voiceless and speak up for righteousness and justice. Let the Holy Spirit lead you and fill your mouth. Then stand back and watch Him work! One of my all-time favorite heroes in the Bible is Esther. She had to learn to use her voice. She didn’t let fear hold her back from doing the right thing. Esther’s relative, Mordecai, reminded her there is a time to speak up. Esther 4:14 NIV says, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
Lady Leaders, I want to remind you that you are called, anointed, appointed, and important to the Lord! You have everything you need to walk it out! The world needs your leadership like never before. Don’t let insecurities, lies of the enemy, or stereotypes hold you back. Walk in who you are. Do it for your community. Do it for your church. Do it for your organization. And do it for the little girls who are watching you! Now go, lead on, and change the world!