I had the absolute pleasure and great honor of attending the Global Leadership Summit on Thursday and Friday of last week (August 11/12). I wasn't sure if I should be taking up space there. Honestly, I've never seen myself as a leader. I'm not a CEO or CFO or COO. I'm a pretty simple woman who loves God with all of her heart, but honestly, sometimes I still feel like I'm trying to figure out what I want to "do" with my life! I'm sure there are more qualified people with greater potential who could get more out of the Summit. Should I really be taking up a seat?!?!
But I felt God personally inviting me, beckoning me by His Spirit, promising to do great things in my heart if I would only obey. The night before the Summit, my excitement level was unreal. I couldn't sleep! I awoke at 1:00 am, checking the clock, wanting to be sure I didn't oversleep. Again, my eyes jolted open at 2:48 am. After lying in bed for thirty minutes, I knew my expectant excitement would make it impossible for me to return to sleep so I just got up and began my day. I knew---I just knew!---I was going to meet God in a special way at the Summit, and Boy! Did God ever get a hold of me and rock my world! I was not disappointed!
Here's what I wrote sitting in my seat on Thursday morning, waiting for the event to get underway and the first speaker to take the stage: "In this sea of humanity, who am I?!?! Surrounded by all of this talent, so much potential represented by each individual, I am overcome and overwhelmed. Who am I that You would even know me, let alone choose to work through me?!? Yet, you do. You do know me, intimately and by name, everything about me, my every thought before I even think it. If You use me, Lord, I know it has nothing to do with me, just the fact that I believe that You can! I believe You for it! I believe YOU are ABLE! And my highest aim and most heartfelt desire is....to bring YOU Glory!"
This blog is the direct result of that Summit. Patrick Lencioni spoke on the power of vulnerability, and his words connected with me on a deep level. Look at the third definition of "vulnerable" in the Merriam Webster Dictionary: "liable to increased penalties but entitled to increased bonuses after winning a game in contract bridge." At first, that definition doesn't seem to apply: contact bridge?!?! But, actually, that's the heart of vulnerability, isn't it?
Our natural instinct is for self-preservation, to protect ourselves at all costs and avoid pain wherever possible. Vulnerability runs counter to that because it requires transparency and authenticity that do open us up to attack or damage, rendering us capable of being wounded. But the second part of that definition is just as true: "entitled to increased bonuses." It is only when we are open and honest and real that beautiful, Godly things can begin to happen.
I am done with masks. God has gently been coaxing me out of hiding, out of the darkness, and into His glorious light. He is asking me to "enter the danger" and bravely dare to tell the truth, even if I risk being rejected or embarrassed. After all, Christ didn't worry about rejection! I have to ask myself the tough question: Am I a God-pleaser or a people-pleaser? Oh, how I long to be a God-pleaser, living my life for that "audience of one," for nothing more and nothing less than His approval!
Why do we, especially those in the church, pretend that everything is great when the reality can be so far removed from that? "Fake" people cannot give a "real" testimony. How can we bring glory and honor to our Father if we cannot be honest about where we've been and what we've gone through? Only when we are open about our "stuff" can others be encouraged and heartened in their spiritual journeys. The reality of our "mess," while not always making us look that good, can actually showcase God's awesomeness and mighty power. How can we tell the world that "Our God is a God who saves!" if we are not willing to be real about what He's saved us from?!?!
So thanks to the GLS, thanks to Patrick Lencioni's call to vulnerability, I swallowed my fear and took the plunge, and started this blog. My goal here is to be completely honest, which means I'll be bearing my warts and all, but the wonderful truth is that His Word is true: the truth is liberating, and it is setting me free! My prayer is that in my honesty, God's greatness shines through. May His Name be made famous through all the earth!!!