(My first guest post in the #WIMWednesdays series! My friend Consuela is awesome and a different perspective for you guys. Thankful for her voice! Here she is:)
I consider myself a nice enough person… I have friends, I’m invited to parties, and people don’t seem to run when I show up. But I’m also a person who has a very strong personality. And, there’s the rub. I was truly born this way! My parents didn’t raise me any different than my sister…but she’s happy being in the background, listening instead of speaking, following instead of leading – but not me. It happens without me even thinking about it. I take charge of a group project, I volunteer to lead the ministry, I’m the mom who organizes the line of kids on the playground. I can’t help myself!
I was born a leader. God made me a leader. Saying that makes me very uncomfortable. My husband was born a leader too and that doesn’t make him uncomfortable. Maybe it’s because he’s told he has “gravitas” and that he’s a “leader of leaders.” “You have a God given calling.” “You’re a great thinker.”
I’m told I’m not “submissive” or “demure.” I’m told that it’s rude to push people when the conversation gets sticky. I’m told to just “let it go.” I’m told not to be one of “those” women. Maybe it’s also because my husband can make a leadership decision with his group of peers without it playing out like a scene in the movie Mean Girls. Why oh why do we do this to ourselves? But that’s for an entirely different post…
I’m writing this with tears streaming down my cheeks because I really don’t want to be that woman…but more than that, I don’t want to not be who God called me to be.
So once again, I’ll suck it up and laugh off the fact that some men think I’m too much or difficult. I’ll be ok with not being invited to the girls’ night out. You see, God doesn’t think I’m too much…He thinks I’m just enough. Trust me He sits me down and gives me a good talking to when I need it. But, He doesn’t do it to dismiss me or squelch my gifts. He does it to teach me and make me stronger.
As little girls, we were told to be “sugar and spice and everything nice.” Nice! That’s where it gets sticky. Can I be a nice leader? What if I have to have a direct conversation with someone on the team? Surely that’s not sugar and spice and everything nice? What if I have to go against popular opinion or get in a heated debate? That can’t be nice! Oh, but yes, it can! Being nice doesn’t always equal being quiet, non-confrontational, or giving in. Sometimes the nicest thing you can do is confront an issue.
So how can you be more than a nice woman in ministry?
Follow your call! If God calls you to be a leader, even if you’re skeptical, do it. He called you for a purpose, a season, or a lifetime – embrace it!
Stop trying to be “nice.” No, don’t go off on everyone or make everything a debate. But when it’s time to make the tough calls, don’t fall back on trying to be “nice.” If a decision is right, make it.
Don’t let someone’s reaction to you confuse you about your calling. Yeah, that’s a mouthful, but many times I’ve questioned my calling because someone has reacted poorly to my leadership. If someone throws a fit or breaks off a friendship because you had to make a decision, that’s on them, not you. I’ll say this again that is THEM not you.
Find wise mentors who will have the tough conversations about who you are as a leader. It is imperative that we have trusted mentors to guide us and even rebuke us as needed. Nothing makes it harder on other women in ministry than other women who go rogue. Don’t go it alone.
You, my friend, are called. You are more than a “nice” girl…you are God’s chosen one.
Consuela Parsons spends most of her week juggling the demands of four small children and life as a busy pastors wife. When she’s not in the trenches of motherhood, she speaks and writes on the topics of family, marriage, diversity and plain old everyday life. You can read more of her work at www.timandconsuela.com.