"You walk with God and teach others out of that." My professor's words etched themselves onto my soul as he spoke.
Over a decade later, I have yet to forget them. In fact, they have become a simple reminder―a scripted placard hanging on the doorpost of my mind―that have guided me through many seasons of ministry.
As women, we often put so much pressure on ourselves to perform. Our leadership must be savvy. Our teaching must be rich. Our hospitality must be endlessly cheerful. Yet amidst our striving to meet the needs of those we serve, we sometimes miss the lessons for ourselves and the opportunities to be real with others.
However, when we lead from the overflow of our own walk with God, we are freed to be ourselves and to give out of what we possess—to share our own story, to teach our own lessons, and to invite others to be honest, too.
Here are three ways we can walk with God and then teach others to do the same:
Look for your own lessons.
What was the first thing you did when you sat down in your office chair this morning? It’s almost second nature for us to open up our laptops and start checking email. Next, we fill up a Post-It note with our daily to-dos:
Finish the leadership team agenda. Start Bible study outline. Counseling appointment at 11 a.m. Strategic planning meeting at 2 p.m. Finalize next semester’s small-group curriculum.
We feel pressured to run from one thing to the next, seldom processing the difficult conversation, the spiritual dry spell, or the lesson that fell flat. Our to-do list drives our day, as do the mounting needs and crises around us.
But what if we paused for just a moment? What if we started our day not with our to-do list, but with listening to our soul’s longings and to God’s leading?
I distinctly remember sitting at my desk around 11 a.m. one morning, staring at my computer screen. The black cursor flashed on my empty page as if in sync with the tick-tock of the clock. I was supposed to teach Bible study the next day, but instead of typing, I sat there tired, depleted, with nothing to share.
After a brief pep talk, I pulled myself together and opened my Bible. Instead of searching for something meaningful to share—something I thought might speak to the women in my class—I asked a different question: “What do you want me to learn?”
I struggled at first. As I read the text, the words stung as they sunk into places I had carefully ignored. Like peroxide poured into a tender wound, they washed out the dirt and debris so that I could see what lay beneath. They forced me to confront the tiredness and fatigue and how I had allowed myself to come to that place.