I wanted to speak and teach just like Beth Moore.
Being Texas-born and raised, I already had the big hair figured out. But I was such a new speaker… and I really had no clue what I was doing. I guess I thought that if I at least dressed like her, people would think I was legit.
So I bought the cutest outfit—one inspired by Beth—and I spent hours watching her on video, trying to mimic her speaking style as well. Seriously, I am not making this up.
Even though I’d lived in Colorado for over 10 years, I watched so much of her online that bits and pieces of my twang came back. But, I was not Beth Moore.
And that became perfectly evident every time I’d step off the stage.
… I spoke too fast.
… I offered too many truth nuggets.
… My stories weren’t as funny as hers.
And for those first few years — many years ago — discouragement piled up as I failed to be… Beth.
So I changed my strategy.
I decided to subscribe to the blogs of experts who promised to make me a ministry machine. I listened to countless webinars and summits. I went to conferences and received personal and group coaching. And I decided to saturate myself with procedures and processes guaranteed to produce the best results. But the messages were conflicting, and I ended up confused and discouraged.
One day I stopped and asked, “What am I doing?”
Ministry was harder than I thought. Insecurities were louder than I imagined. And fear was bigger than I could manage.
At coffee one day, a friend shared advice that hit home. “Carey, you be you … and let her be her.” In other words, she challenged me to stop mimicking the ministries of others…. and instead ask God to train me in the one He called me to.
I realized that to avoid embarrassment… because I didn’t want to look stupid… and rather than failing in ministry… I was trying to use everyone else’s formula instead of asking God to show me mine. So when things got crunchy, I wanted out. What a common response.
Friend, let’s chew on some truth. You and I are leaders in our own way. We may not all stand on stages or write in books, but make no doubt we all lead. And being an uncommon leader means we don’t give up or give in.
We may want to. Everything in us may want to walk away. But we just don’t. Because when God calls us to lead, we sink our teeth into it… and hold on, trusting God the whole way.
Yep. This is when we put on our big girl pants.
I know you’re scared. I know you’re tired. I know you’re frustrated. But girl, I want you to lead anyway because God will give you what you need to do it.
You don’t have to mimic someone else or be driven by what “experts” say is best. Why? Because Romans 12:9-13 offers a clear picture of how God sees leadership.
“Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality” (MSG).
So a good leader:
… stays connected to His heart.
… moves only when and how God directs.
… roots their identity in Jesus.
… loves deeply and leads with authenticity.
… puts others first because of their servant’s heart.
… stays the course, prays, and stays positive.
… steers clear of evil and clings to good.
… takes care of their own needs so they can avoid burnout.
You see, God didn’t need me to do ministry their way… He needed me to do ministry His way.
And that shift in perspective gave me the confidence I needed to stay put. Today, I don’t follow the expert rules or try to lead like anyone else. Some like what I do… others don’t. But God is pleased. Honestly, that’s what matters the very most.
Let’s choose to lead in uncommon ways, focused more on walking out Romans 12 than imitating someone else. And when the road gets hard and we fail, let’s not lose heart.
Remember, God isn’t asking us to be perfect leaders. He is asking us to be purposeful ones. And that we can do.