What do you do at the start of a new year? Set some New Year’s resolutions? Start a diet? Put some new habits in place? Write a list of goals? There is nothing wrong with any of these things but something I have done for the last 4 years is to think, pray and ask God for a word or phrase for the year. A female leader that I had the privilege of working with for a few years did this same thing – and I was really inspired by her and this habit she had adopted that I started to adopt it myself. You may think “why do this”? There are many reasons, but what I have found from doing this now for a few years, is that the word or phrase has helped to guide me, sustain me, keep me on the right track and give me direction.

Back at the beginning of 2020 the phrase God gave me was ‘venture through the adventure’. I had no idea what that meant, but when we hit February and the first cases of covid I held onto that phrase. As the rapid changes, lockdowns and homeschooling came, I tried to see it as an adventure and an opportunity. In hindsight, perhaps that was the only way I could get through it all. When there were so many more changes in our world, I took time to ask myself, what kind of leader do I want to be in the spaces and places God has put me? How do I see this leadership journey as an adventure and an opportunity? What does it look like for me to embrace this venture and be risky, courageous and daring. That phrase that God had given me vital in envisioning and sustaining me through the rollercoaster ride.

In your life and leadership journey what sustains you? It may be a word or phrase like me. It may be a quote, a rhythm, a person, a mentor or even a combination of these. However, above all of these it needs to be Jesus who sustains us for the road ahead.

Isaiah 46:4 says ‘Even to your old age and grey hairs I am he. I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and carry you I will sustain you and I will rescue you.’

I have had some grey hairs but wouldn’t want to suggest I am old (though my kids may have a different perspective). However, having been a Christian now for over 30 years and in leadership roles for over 20 of these, I can testify to the fact that it is only God who sustains me.

What about you, when you face a leadership challenge, is it God who sustains you? When you struggle with colleagues you are line managing do you turn to God as the one to sustain you? When you are challenged for being in leadership because you are a woman, is it God who sustains you? Or when you are trying to work out a way to balance a budget for a company or project is it God who sustains you?

At the start of 2023 whether you choose a quote, set yourself a goal, put a new habit in place or ask God for a word or a phrase for the year ultimately it is about being led by the one who sustains us. It is about leading in the ways that God teaches us and holding onto the fact that He made us, He will carry us and strengthen us.