I learned very early on my Christian journey as a leader what a privilege it is to serve our God. However, I also realised that if I was to succeed, I would need to choose. Thus it was that I made a decision to apply one of my favourite verses

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.

Deuteronomy 30.19

For me, choosing life daily meant not getting offended EVER. I am sure that, like me, you have had lots of opportunities to be offended, but I have seen what offense can do to you and those around you and it was not part of my plan. One of my favourite sayings is: ‘The Bible is like good deodorant; it has to be applied’.

Choosing life means being quick to forgive. I learned that forgiving someone does not make what they did right, it just frees me to move forward and helps me to stay focused on being useful to Jesus. Unlike now, when I first came into leadership over 30 years ago there were not too many women around who I could look to or talk to. I was reading books by Katherine Kuhlman and Isabel Kuhn, both of which inspired me greatly.

I am relational, so I had a conversation with Jesus: “Why are there no awesome, powerful, relevant women of God for me to talk to?” As He often does, He asked me a question back. “Why are you not awesome, powerful and relevant?” Um!! Good question!

Then He told me why. It was fear of man (or woman) and fear of failure. I would withdraw when I was hurt by people. There was quite a lot to work on but I was willing and told a friend that I was on a journey to be useful to our King. I found that the only way I could grow was to be confronted with all these things, which, of course, people in leadership have lots of opportunities to do. It was a real journey but I want to encourage you that when we step out He steps in. I know we know that but it’s easy to forget. Remember

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1.6

How is your own vineyard? I have often neglected mine while caring for others.

Do not stare at me because I am dark,
because I am darkened by the sun.
My mother’s sons were angry with me
and made me take care of the vineyards;
my own vineyard I had to neglect

Song of Songs 1.6

I found it interesting that it says ‘my mother’s sons…’. In other translations it says ‘my stepbrothers…’. People close to us that can distract us from our own vineyards. Please take a moment to pause and think about what is distracting you today from looking after what God has given you to plant and grow? As women we carry lots of responsibilities for lots of things. We all want to lead well and so we may have taken on more than is needed. I had to learn to ‘grow my No to bless my Yes’. I am still on that journey of saying No to things that others can and should be doing so that I can say Yes to what I am called to do

For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].

Ephesians 2.10 AMP

I have often run off down paths that He had not prepared but because He is kind He blessed me. However, I also know when I am where He wants me to be. I call it my “sweet spot” and it is the place where I am refreshed and renewed even if the circumstances are not easy.
I want to encourage you to look at your own vineyard; does it need pruning? How is your fruit? Does it need to be rested? Does it need to be picked?
What season are you in? Please enjoy the journey and the season and let’s lead with passion, and wisdom.