Facing Your Demons so You Don't Miss Your Life
Hey guys. The last few weeks have been full. Let's recap: IF:Pray- worldwide women gathered with incredible humility and big faith asking for more of God.
IF:Gathering Registration- was, well, somewhat disastrous: 10 crashed servers, Sold out of 1800 seats in 15 mins, and a lot of disappointed people who handled it with piles of grace. Through all the mess of it though- what was louder than the chaos was God's Spirit whispering... I am on the move.
Then MOPS international conference and Catalyst/ IF labs. I met so many of you face to face- and spent much of those few days weepy at all that God is doing. It is one thing to hear from you online- but it hit me in a new way seeing it in your eyes and tears. I AM IN AWE!!! You are full of faith and it is as if we are watching "half the church" wake up and mobilize their gifts and dreams in ways beyond our biggest hopes and visions. Bonus: time with some of my favorite friends on earth.
Then the most important thing came the last two weeks: REST. FAMILY. After all of that crazy I tucked away from public life and spent my time eye to eye with my main people and I cleaned my house top to bottom with my mom (who worked on laundry with me for days! Thank you Mom!)
The way I am happiest is working hard, resting hard and playing hard. I have had a lot of all of it the last few weeks and I feel so grateful.
I think the highlight of the last few weeks that I will never forget, was this moment. Tyler Reagin, a good friend and the newly appointed director of Catalyst conference brought me on main stage and gave me the chance to share about how God is moving in unity and through women around the world.Tyler and the thousands of leaders and pastors in the arena lifted their hands and prayed for all of us friends. It was too much to take in at the moment/ well probably EVER. But it has me thanking God today for all of your bravery and all of God's grace and favor.
And as I thank God for all the good I think of how much darkness always sits amidst all the best things. I find myself at times fighting discouragement when God is moving so mightily. It reminds me of my need for Jesus and to keep hoping for things I can't see yet.
I have faced and continue to face all of my demons as I lead and risk and create. I know I am not alone in that and as I come out of such an intense season of ministry, even today I fight discouragements that shouldn't distract me from the great work of God in our midst- but it does.
I found myself revisiting these words I actually wrote last year for Catalyst today and thought perhaps they could encourage you in all the dreams you are dreaming and risks you are taking. You have my empathy and cheers and prayers!
The fight is worth it- I promise.
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil." Ephesians 6:10-11
What I've Learned By Facing My Fears
In the last few months, I have been thrown in the deep end of leadership, launching and leading an organization with a team of gifted, brilliant female leaders called IF:Gathering. Feelings of pressure, adrenaline, failure, joy, conflict, and paralyzing fear seem to all bounce in me on any given day. Because, here is the thing about leading something.... you will be loved and hated.
The irony is, several years ago, due to a terrible case of people-pleasing and a rather strong fear of public humiliation, I existed entirely on the back row of life. I sat safely in the dark, away from stages, away from criticism, away from helping people, my gifts tucked neatly under my chair in the name of humility.
So, as one facing her two worst fears, being hated and/or humiliated, let me tell you what I have learned:
Receive criticism. If you want to lead well, just never defend yourself again. Take it. Jesus actually meant it when He said, “To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also.” Luke 2:28 Because it is the very most freeing way to live. (Note: I did not say easy). I learned this one the hard way, and let’s just say it led me to my next lesson.
Humility is often closely connected to humiliation. Because we can only fake humility alone in the dark on back rows. Humility is built in battle, in the moments you are running and fighting and leading,and you fall, and people see and then they know you aren’t God and you remember you desperately need God.
Love the fear. As a child, I hated feeling nervous. My mom used to say, “It’s just butterflies.” So I sat in the back of life for decades, avoiding “butterflies." I successfully avoided nausea and the very best parts of life. If you ever want to do anything of significance, you have to learn to love the sick, tense feeling in your belly instead of hate it. It doesn’t seem to ever leave me these days. So I am making the butterflies my friends.
People liking you is overrated.If you love being liked by everyone, you are living a boring life. So just quit. Get over it. Let pleasing God become bigger than pleasing people.
Face your worst fear, friends, and they start to go away.
What fears are you facing? What dream are you dreaming?