This past year I was involved in a small group with my church. I wanted to become more connected to people within my church and hoped seeing a group of people weekly might help forge some deeper relationships.
About a quarter of the way into the year, one of our leaders moved and asked me to fill in her spot. I was a little nervous about being in a leadership position again. I didn’t feel ready but chose to believe that it was God’s desire and that I would trust him to work out my hesitation and feelings of inadequacy. I thought that there must be a purpose for these events occurring the way they did.
I was determined to do my best for the group and put a lot of effort into preparing for group meetings, leading, and following up. After a while, I realized I was struggling with feeling depleted and not enough for the leadership position. I confessed my stress to my husband who was very supportive and encouraged me to use my resources to find additional support. I did and found what I needed.
One of my resources was seeking God more intentionally and consistently. I realized that he was showing me that I didn’t have to try to lead in my own strength and effort. I could bring my abilities to him and invite him to do the work needed in and through me. I have always struggled with the inaccurate belief that I needed to be independent and do things on my own. This experience was God’s gentle reminder that I was not created for independence. I was made to rely on him. I have become more relaxed in my leadership role, choosing to trust that God’s purposes will prevail; I only need to be open and responsive to his leading.
The realization that I don’t have the ability to do it all or be perfect all the time has helped me to let go of performing and lay down my “I have it all together” front. I have erroneously believed that when I lead, I should be flawless, but that just makes me seem unapproachable. Surrendering to God has meant sharing my weaknesses with my group and others. This has, unsurprisingly (but surprising to me at first), led to more intimate friendships. Being real about my imperfections and struggles has created the opportunity to receive acceptance and support from the group and helped me to feel closer to them. We have all become more comfortable sharing our messes, subsequently increasing my compassion and love for them.
I have been amazed to see what has come out of my willingness to step into the leadership spot even though I didn’t feel prepared. It gave God so much room to speak truth to me and grow my trust in his ways. I don’t know that I would have received so much clarity if I had stayed in the participant-only role. I am thankful for this past year, including the challenging parts, because of the beautiful place I am in right now. I pray that I would continue to take steps of faith even when it is not clear what will come from my trust and obedience.
What experiences have you had that, though difficult at the time, ended up being quite beneficial to you?