March 2013

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Banishing Spiritual Loneliness

Three practices for leaders (or anyone)

I want more of God. Although I write and speak on spiritual formation, work with other Christians, have friends who encourage my faith, am married to a Christian man with whom I've raised Christian children, I still sometimes feel lonely. Not just emotionally lonely, but spiritually lonely—disconnected from God and my faith.

Leaders walk a lonely road. The leader of any enterprise, ...

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Get Thee a Sisterhood, Part 2

A network of female friends is an irreplaceable lifeline in ministry

It doesn't take a doctor to confirm that males and females have different needs. What is true in nature is also true in ministry.

Ministers, whether clergy or lay, need ministerial network groups, as discussed in my previous post. Female ministers, I say based on personal experience, particularly need to be in contact with other sisters of the cloth and call.

Yes, we have ...

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Get Thee a Sisterhood, Part 1

A network of female friends is an irreplaceable lifeline in ministry

Even though I expected this question, my heart felt as if it would beat right out of my chest. I stood before the group who would either affirm or confirm my "outer call" to ministry, as we Reformed-tradition folks say. Based on the essays I wrote and upon how they experienced me that day, these fine people would determine whether I could become a candidate for Minister of ...

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Finding Support in the Lonely Days of Leadership

Among the greatest gifts we can give others is a healthy version of ourselves

If I could name one word to describe the most surprising characteristic of life as a leader, it would be the word lonely. It's not a word they prepare you for, by the way. Yes, I had heard people say that leadership was lonely, but I didn't really believe them. The leaders who said they were lonely always seemed to be surrounded by plenty of people. They were needed, respected, ...

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Are You Wearing the Wrong Clothes?

Knowing what not to wear can help you embrace your calling

I like fashion. When I am away with my family and retreating on vacation from the mundanes of life, I gravitate to the style shows. One of my favorites is the show What Not to Wear. The show begins with a human project, someone whose life is not reaching its full potential because of the inappropriate way she physically presents herself to the world. The human projects are ...

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Lessons in Confrontation

What I learned in a very uncomfortable meeting

Stomach in knots, throat tightened, and holding back waves of nausea…you might think I was battling a virus. Not so. In my mind, it was something far worse: confrontation. My body was reacting to my emotional turmoil as I sat across the conference table from another woman in leadership. And it was not just the two of us. The conflict had escalated to the point where our husbands ...

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Stay Focused

It’s easy—and dangerous—to get distracted by criticism

My sport of choice is tennis. I love the game. During the 2009 French Open Men's Final, a crazed fan leaped over the stands and onto the court to taunt the second-ranked world player, Roger Federer. As you can imagine, it was quite a scene. Tennis, with its air of prestige and sophistication, is not accustomed to unruly spectators. Within those few seconds, the emotions of ...

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Be Wonderstruck by God’s Creation

Even the northern lights are merely a glimpse into the vast expanse of God’s love

Several years ago while travelling by ferry overnight in Alaska a scene unfolded that I suspect caused at least one angel to gasp: the expanse of the sky transformed from inky blackness into an infinite canvas on which brushstrokes of apricot, sapphire, and emerald painted themselves into the night sky. Like an oil painting in progress, the colors refused to stand still. The ...

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