(Part of #WIMWednesdays. Read the first post here!)
A couple weeks ago I got an email from a girl. I had never met her – she just fired a question at me.
“We are made to be a helper to man and his calling and vision right? Why would God make us to sit under someone else’s calling? What if you want to be a leader?”
I laughed out loud because of the can of worms this girl was opening. “Girl you have no idea what you’re getting into,” I said out loud as I started typing a message back.
And then I gave her permission. Because sometimes you just need someone to give you permission.
SO: Hey, girl.
Hey, you who as a little girl invented the game and decided what role everyone would play.
Hey, you who was the captain of your team, who wanted to inspire people even as a little girl, who always wanted to help people with their homework or their lines for the play or their free throw.
You remember, don’t you? You remember wanting to dress as Wonder Woman when the other little girls wanted to be Cinderella. You remember meeting strong women and wondering how you could be like them. You remember telling everyone that someday you were going to grow up and be the boss. Or be president. Or be a pastor.
You remember wanting to be at the front of the line or the one reading out loud. You remember sitting on your hands in school because you knew all the answers and you wanted everyone to know how smart you were. You didn’t care to wear pink, but oh how you wanted to be known as smart.
You remember how it would light a fire in your tiny heart when someone told you what you could or couldn’t do as a girl. You remember that first glow of holy rebellion in deciding that you absolutely could do what they said you couldn’t. And you remember doing that thing they said you couldn’t. And it felt great.
Yes, girl, you can be a leader. If you’re looking for permission, there it is.
Some of us were created with it so strong that it was there when we were tiny. Some of us have camcorder videos from the 80’s to prove that we’re not trying to be political or trendy – this was always us. Some of us tinies were lucky enough to have moms and dads who loved this about us, who nurtured it and protected it. Some of us weren’t so lucky. That’s okay.
Girl, even in the culture the Bible was written in, there were whispers that God had great plans for us. Deborah and Lydia and Priscilla and Rahab and Junia and so many others. They were leaders even when women were considered property. God raised women up as preachers and hinted to us that the things He whispers to us are important for us to share. Yes, to other women. Yes, to men, too.
I want you to know my dear that if you feel that fire in your heart, it’s not a mistake. You being a woman was not a mistake. You can be both – a woman and a leader. Not only is there a place for you, but we need you. The world needs you.
And you will go through a journey, like I have, of learning when to temper your inner know-it-all, and when to stop fighting for recognition, and how to submit that all to Christ. You will learn that you can be gentle and fierce and you will learn how to love people and lead well. I hope that you will learn that there is a place for you. I pray there will be leaders in your life – male and female – that will let you in to what they are doing, who will step aside and shove you into their spotlight, all awkward limbs and shaky voice and mistake making.
And you, woman, don’t you forget those behind you. Lead well and show up prepared and then look behind you and see the girls looking at you with shining eyes. Don’t you be so focused on fighting your way to the top that you forget to slow down to see those girls. You tell them they have permission. You bring them with you and let them see you lead well. You invest your life into them they way someone or no one did for you. You show them what it looks like to be strong and confident and release that into them. You pray for them and let the succeed and let them fail and take them with you wherever you go.
We need you, you girls who are born leaders. We the women in the now and next need you behind us. We want to instill into you the things we have learned. We the body of Christ need you. We need your fresh eyes. We the world need you to step up, to be okay with being loud, to invest yourself in becoming a good leader. And the girls that will come behind you – they need you, too.
Don’t give up, my dear. You have greatness in you.