Tuesday, 4 October 2016

When you see the intricate threads of leadership


Have you ever wondered how you ended up in a particular leadership position? I have those moments of stopping and being completely in awe of where I am. It can feel like it has come out of nowhere. Have you taken the time to reflect back on your life and see the threads of leadership and preparation that have carried you here? In preparing for this series, I have been thinking about this often. I look back over my life and see these illuminated threads that I hadn't considered before. I see moments in time that I have dismissed as inconsequential that now add up to a bigger picture. For me, I hear God's whispered encouragement that He has been preparing me and drawing out leadership skills long before I considered myself a leader.

My earliest memory of a leadership type role is when I was about 11 years old and running praise and worship for the toddler ministry on a Sunday. Several other roles in the intervening years have also been in children's and youth ministries. I didn't see these positions as part of being a leader but rather just a heart for children and youth. The positions were simply a means to be involved. And yet I see skills being developed in administration, getting along with other people, setting goals and vision and being accountable to those I served under. I experienced the influence of many leaders whom I learned from- both from the ways they did things well and the ways I wouldn't want to emulate. 

I had inklings that God was calling me to ministry opportunities. I confess that pride became a factor. It was a strange wrestle between pride and not wanting to accept a label of leader. In my late teens, I made some poor decisions when it came to relationships that derailed my life for a while. Deep down, I was convinced that these choices had permanently disqualified me from any plans that God may have had for me previously. Once life had settled back down again, I returned to serving in church ministries and even held leadership positions. That belief that I had forfeited my purpose in life lingered underneath it all. This was slowly chipped away by God's truth. 

Leadership became a part of my life again and was working its way into my identity when I became a mother. Enter another time of feeling derailed and disqualified in life (read about that here). I had been attending MOPS and loved it. I had to return to work on the days that MOPS ran and so stepped back for a time. I longed to return. My first "role" for MOPS was running the audiovisual for the leaders' conference being hosted at my church. I remember sitting at the back listening to the speakers and feeling my heart stir. I longed for more. I had no idea that my leadership journey was about to go full throttle! I was still working and only attending a rare meeting for the following year. I gave a talk on messy play at one of the sessions because it was something that I love doing. In August or September of that year, 2014, I was approached about coming on the team to help run the MOPS group. I was able to rearrange my work days for 2015 and said yes. I loved being involved and could feel deep growth happening. It was not without its challenges as I came into a new role on the team and instigated changes in the ways things had been done. 

That same year, my good friend took on the State Conference Convener role. I agreed to join the conference team helping with the decor. As tiring and time-consuming as it was, I felt part of my soul coming alive. Shortly after conference had wrapped up in October 2015, I received a phone call from the State Coordinator asking me to consider becoming a Regional Coordinator (becoming a support person and leadership coach for the coordinators of the groups in my region). I was astounded and took some time to pray and talk through this decision. I said yes. When I was again approached by the State Coordinator barely 6 months later to consider taking on the State Coordinator role, I sat on the floor in shock. A whirlwind of leadership progress. And yet on reflection, I can see how there has been a foundation of a lifetime that has brought me to this point. 

So many factors, people, positions and experiences have formed who I am and the leadership position I now hold. It is impossible to convey to you all of the nuances of these in one post and I don't need to. My heart's desire is for you to take a deeper look at your own life, especially if you struggle to see yourself as a leader. Look through fresh eyes to see the threads of leadership that are being woven together. 

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