Guest Post by Kelly Beckley Shank
As I open my inbox and scan the new messages, one stands out. Here we go again. A simple 3-minute conversation is about to morph into something bigger, much to my dismay.
Somehow, almost every situation turns out the same way—my helpful intentions evolve into requests for more help and more responsibility for me. Why does everyone expect me to do more when all I want is to drop a suggestion and walk away?
People say I’m a leader, but I don’t remember asking to lead. Not this time. I’m tired of leading the fight.
During my teens, twenties, and a good portion of my thirties, I eagerly awaited a good fight. With half a good reason to prove myself, I’d take on anyone or anything. Whether I was trying to prove my worth to myself or everyone else, I’m still not sure.
I wanted to be a leader. Being out front came easy to me. People on stages and those with platforms—that was my kind of leader. My goal was to be known and seen. By my mid-thirties, the pursuit of flashy leadership left me tired and searching for something different and more fulfilling.
What I didn’t appreciate previously was the value of those who quietly work behind the scenes and show up every day with few accolades. What if having the courage to lead is more about action and less about the size of the audience?
Very rarely would the words fear, worry, anxiety, or doubt find their way into a normal definition of leadership. We, or at least I, tend to believe leaders have overcome those types of issues as if those of us who struggle are disqualified to lead.
After years of chasing a platform meant for someone else, I finally went to the source and studied God’s design.
Consider the women who lead in the bible. Very rarely are they “qualified” to lead. The woman at the well is a serial divorcee and outcast who leads a whole village to faith. Mary is an unmarried teenager who could easily be ostracized because of her pregnancy. Instead, she is remembered as the mother of Jesus. Rahab’s moral failings disqualify her from any noble endeavor, except saving the spies. Martha is a bossy know-it-all who ruffles feathers in first-century Israel but also befriends Jesus. There’s hope for all of us.
Finding the courage to lead from God instead of ourselves is the difference between chasing disappointment and finding fulfillment.
Leading looks like:
- Speaking up when it would be easier to remain silent
- Taking action when you’d rather not
- Learning new things for different situations
- Having a willingness to trust God
I like leading when it feels like I’m in control. On days when I can stand up, share a message, and be met with praise afterward, leading is great. Leading from a place of comfort is deceiving. Appreciation and encouragement are addictive.
If we rely on positivity for guidance, what happens when we’re challenged, ignored, or seemingly ordinary? Is God still asking you to lead when it seems as though no one cares?
When you show up during the normal parts of your day and keep the wheels on the bus, you’re leading. Standing up in front of people who know you well and sharing even though you’re afraid of what they’ll think is leading.
Allowing your faith in God to be greater than your fear of people gives you the courage to lead.
My words may never rise to the numbers a publisher requires to sell my book. My videos may continue reaching only a small audience of friends. The audience and influence I desire may never equal the task assigned me by God, but he will use me well if I choose the courage to lead.
He’s asking you to lead too. People need to hear your words and be in your presence. Ask and he will give you the courage to lead. Chickening IN is worth it. Although tired, I will probably say “yes” to the request from that email because God created me to lead and fight the right fights for those coming behind me.
Kelly Beckley Shank
MORE ABOUT KELLY: She understands doubt and fear, but she embraces God’s promises and chooses confidence and strength. As a Purpose + Process Coach, Kelly promises to ask the hard questions to help you gain clarity and make progress. A self-proclaimed farmbody, Kelly most enjoys being home with her husband, 3 kids, and their little herd of farm animals. You can find her online at kellybeckleyshank.com or on Instagram and Facebook. Facebook/Instagram handles: @kellybeckleyshank.
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