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She Leads…By Getting Out of Your Head and Leading from the Heart of God

By Lt. Felecia Pederson
Billings, MT Corps – Intermountain Division

After the Wise Men had listened to the king, they went on their way. The star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them. It finally stopped over the place where the child was.  When they saw the star, they were filled with joy. The Wise Men went to the house. There they saw the child with his mother Mary. They bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures. They gave him gold, frankincense and myrrh. But God warned them in a dream not to go back to Herod. So they returned to their country on a different road.” Matthew 2:9-12 (NIV)

“I can’t do this!” has been said under my breath more times than I can count. On some occasions it has been accompanied with tears of frustration, some anxiety and even a little resistance. One of these times, while in a women’s ministries meeting, I excused myself and went for a quick walk around the church to calm my anxiety. I was feeling helpless, frustrated, and unable to do all that I felt was required of me. Has anyone else experienced feeling trapped in their own anxiousness or feel consumed with that overwhelming feeling of inadequacy?

Now, let me just clarify, the women did not do anything to cause this reaction. So then, why did I feel the need for a quick escape? Well, as a perfectionist, a planner, an introvert, and a doer, I feel I need to have things in a certain order for a good program. I also want to admit that I am a service addict. My happy place is when I am able to make everyone feel loved and cared for by meeting their needs. This takes a lot of energy. When I let the program itself or what I feel the expectations of what is needed for the program lead me, or when things don’t go as planned, I can easily feel like a failure. This leads to spending so much time listening to the expectations of myself or others that I miss out on what God is urging me to do.

God and I have had many conversations about this and He has shown me that when leading people to Him, my biggest stumbling block is in my own head. In my little trip outside the church, when I was caught up in my fears and worries, I was letting my feeling of insecurity cripple me from doing what God has called me to do. When we allow the expectations of ourselves or others to dictate how things should be, we can stop the Spirit of God from moving freely.

The story of the Wise Men being led to Jesus is a great analogy of getting out of our head and being led by the heart of God. These men knew many things but they were humble enough to listen to God’s voice and be led in little ways that made a big impact. They knew the stars and prophecies that helped them navigate their way to Jesus, but they were sensitive to the voice of God through a dream. King Herod had different plans for Jesus and the wise men. Take a moment and think about what would have happened if the wise men had rushed back to share with King Herod the location of baby Jesus. I think we all understand that if the wise men were more interested in pleasing King Herod than listening to the voice of God, this story may have had a very different ending. Thankfully, they listened to God and obeyed His leading.

God does not use us because of our ability. He uses us in our humility. When we humbly seek His heart by prayer and reading His Word, He gives us the peace and clarity that we need. He has already given each of us talents and abilities and these can be “treasures” that we give back to Jesus. For the wise men, these “treasures” were gold, frankincense, and myrrh. For us, it may be hospitality, the ability to sew, paint, crochet, or cook. Some of us are teachers. Some of us are great listeners. Whatever your ability, gift, or treasure, all of us have been called by God to lead others to Him. This begins when we humbly ask Him to help us be the leaders that He wants us to be. As we recognize the need for Him to be the center of all we do, and as we lay our treasures and gifts at His feet, He will strengthen us for every good work.

I have a different approach as I plan for our weekly women’s meeting. I have more freedom to delegate programs to other women because God has released me from the need to have everything done to my standard of perfection. I listen to the needs of the women and instead of rushing to please them, we go to God together and pray for one another. I take time to plan but ask the Lord to use the time of our meeting to do His plan and His work. Getting out of my head has allowed me to be able to enjoy these women’s meetings as we create things together, serve others together, study the Bible together, and share our hearts and pray together.

Today, there is freedom from anxiety in the heart of Jesus. Join me in asking Him to help us get out of our heads and lead with His heart.

She Leads… by Seeing & Seizing the Day

By Commissioner Debi Bell
Southwest Division

See and Seize the Day!
(We need leaders, who seek, see, and lead using valuable insights gained in the search.)

We can discover countless gems buried in the myriad lists found 1 Chronicles. This gem is one of my favorites because it gave a tip of the hat to leaders who had vision.

“From Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do—200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command.” 1 Chronicles 12:32 (NIV)

General John Gowans addressed a group of leaders and asked us to rethink the word “seer” to try to erase the negative connotations that equate it with the dark arts of sorcery. Then apply a more true understanding that seers are people who have a clear vision for the future. Seers and prophets are similar types of people. We also tend to mystify the terms prophet and prophesy. In the Bible, many prophets and seers spoke of future events that seemed obscure and clouded in mystery. Even today we look at prophesy and realize the same vision has many applications.

Prophesy is listed as one of the gifts of the Spirit. It is defined as both foretelling and telling forth God’s message. A prophet, seer, will also have the gifts of discernment, wisdom, and knowledge. Prophets and seers who use their gifts for personal power, gain, or amusement are in grave danger. People who misuse their prophetic gift are false prophets, who mislead people, and will answer to God for this misuse of their gifts.

Seize The Day!
(Looking for women of passion and potential)

Are you a woman who has a passion for The Lord and for extending His Kingdom? Then you are most likely a seer… a person who clearly sees what is most valuable in life and you pursue it. This verse from Proverbs will speak to your gifting.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

As a true seer, you will see the importance of keeping your purpose and priorities in line with God’s priorities as found here in the words of Jesus.

“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV)

See the Day!
Women of Purpose

“And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14c NIV

Leaders, who see, understand that they have a purpose, but life is not “all about them.” Esther was a leader for her day because she did not dwell on the things that happened to her but understood those things had equipped her for the role and purpose God gave her. Imagine if Esther had used any of the negative circumstances of her life define her. Esther could have been the orphan, sad and forgotten. Esther could have been the prisoner of war exiled in a foreign country living as an alien. She could have been the sex trafficked victim living in the prison of the king’s harem. Esther could have chosen to be defined as a religiously persecuted woman with no rights or power to change things. Yes, all those things happened to her, but she discovered her purpose was to trust God and use her role as queen to intercede for the Jewish people and preserve the line of David so that in the fullness of time Jesus, the Messiah, would be born. Esther means star, whether or not she could foresee the day when a star would appear to herald the birth of the Messiah, she could see her purpose in God’s plan.

The things good and bad that happened to you do not define you, but they equip you for God’s purpose if you choose to trust and see beyond them.

Hi C the Day!
Women Who Program

“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3 (NIV)

The book, Strengths Finder by Tom Rath, is a good tool to use in your quest to become a better leader. There are other similar resources to explore. With the “Strengths Finder” tools, you learn what your strengths are and how to better use them for God’s purpose for your life. I learned that I am an “Ideaist;” creativity is my superpower. Sometimes I forget that coming up with ideas for programs is not easy for everyone else. When I look at the phrase, “seize the day,” my mind automatically begins to mine it for ideas and words that sound like words in the phrase. Images that go along with the word play in my head. I jot down these ideas because I see them. Are you like that? Then you may be a seer.

However, your strength could be as an Achiever or Activator because you can see how to make it work. Then you may be a seer. On the other hand, your strength could be as a Developer who can help others see the idea and how it can work for them. Then you may be a seer. To program and make a program work takes all kinds of seers. Effective seers are people who see and do what God shows them. Like Esther, your purpose creates waves and ripples in the sea of time that makes a difference long after you have come and gone. See the day and seize it.

“May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the LORD grant all your requests. Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; He answers him from his holy heaven with the saving power of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” Psalm 20:4-7 (NIV)

Seas the Day!
Women Who Pool Resources

“Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced.” Psalm 105:1-5 (NIV)

Leaders know that they cannot do it all by themselves. Esther called upon her friends and family to pray for her before she began to execute her plan. She did not just blurt out everything at her first meeting with the king. She waited for God’s guidance and trusted Him.

What are the challenges of your appointment? What are the challenges in your family or personal life? Get others to pray with you and for you. Ask God to show you His plan. Pool your resources. It is important to build good healthy relationships that build your resources rather than tear them down. This is very difficult to do in ministry, however work at building life-long friends.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV)

Seize the Possibilities
Women Who See Possibilities

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)

One of our biggest challenges in life is change. Change happens whether or not you are ready for it to happen. There are events in history called sea changes. Sea changes are likened to the waves of the ocean. The tide goes in and out dictated by the cycle of the moon and other atmospheric influences. People who surf learn that waves come in patterns. The best surfers learn to see the pattern so they can catch the best waves when they come. The best surfers are like leaders who see-seers. You understand the times and know what to do. You are not bogged down in circumstances, but you seize the possibilities. You lead change.

See and Seize the Day!
Women with Purpose (Lighthouse Keepers)

“For he says, ‘In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:2 (NIV)

Lighthouse keepers and surfers have a lot in common. They both read the waves. However, a lighthouse keeper has a better perspective and more information. The duty of lighthouse keepers is to prepare for storms that arise. They light the light that guides people around the dangerous rocks. They sound the alarm. They help rescue the ones who have wrecked. Sometimes it is hard to be a lighthouse keeper. It is hard to be a prophet/seer when people do not want to listen to your message and warning.

“But I said, ‘I have labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing.’ Yet what is due me is in the LORD’s hand, and my reward is with my God…This is what the LORD says: “In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you; I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances, to say to the captives, ‘Come out,’ and to those in darkness, ‘Be free!’ “They will feed beside the roads and find pasture on every barren hill. They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat upon them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water.” Isaiah 49:4, 8-10 (NIV)

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)

“The light of the righteous shines brightly…” Proverbs 13:9 (NIV)

Lighthouse Keepers, enlist your praying friends and family – pool your resources. Draw strength from those who understand you. Seek them out and build the friendships. Most of all trust in The Lord because you see the purpose He has for you will eventually bear fruit. Let your light shine.

We need leaders who see and seek the Lord with all their hearts, minds, souls, and strength. God bless you. Seize the day and lead the way.