I just got back from our MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) Leadership Retreat. Over the course of the weekend, I found myself constantly humbled to be leading this wonderful team of women, especially because I’ve had the privilege of watching several of them discover their gifts through serving at MOPS.
But while I sat in my gratitude, I couldn’t help but think of where I was 4 years ago when I first stepped into MOPS. I was terrified. I remember many times when I would walk into the bustling room of women, cradling my newborn, in my yoga pants and a breast milk-stained maternity top and think, “I don’t belong here.” Not because anyone was rude, or unwelcoming, but because another mom had her hair brushed and makeup on. “HOW CAN I COMPETE WITH THIS,” my sleep-deprived self would ask. There was a brief season when that self-defeating talk was my go-to narrative:
“I will never lose enough weight to feel like I have the confidence to fit in here.”
“Everyone will reject me if I admit that I am drowning in my new role as “stay at home.”
“Look at all these put together women leading up front. I have nothing to offer.”
This last lie is usually what lays at the bottom of most insecurities that keep us from serving. Maybe they even sound like this:
“I’m not extroverted enough to lead.”
“I’m not strong enough in my faith to help with a small group.”
“I’m not creative enough to serve at an event.”
Friends, we can’t let our own inadequacies and fears keep us from embracing service and leadership. Jesus was without fault, but none of his disciples were. Think about Peter, who was called to lead the Jewish community to Christ. Can you imagine what Peter might have told himself? “I’m the guy who denied Christ three times. I abandoned my Savior. Why would anyone listen to me?” And yet, God used him as the cornerstone of his church! This simple truth reminds us it is not always our skills or experience that enable us to lead. It is that our eyes are on Christ.
If it weren’t for one Starbucks meeting with our women’s pastor 4 years ago, I would not be in the position I am now. She saw my insecurity, and even uncertainty, but she also saw my heart for Jesus, and called me to something beyond what I thought I was capable of in that season. I wouldn’t have felt seen, noticed, or even called to lead, if she hadn’t made the ask.
And so on Saturday, as I looked around at my team of women, I felt honored. Honored that I now get the opportunity to do the same. To see these women’s strengths and name them, especially when they don’t even notice them fully themselves. To build them up, help them discover their calling in leadership, and shepherd them towards the heart of Jesus. And in the sweetest way, hope and pray that their influence for the kingdom will outshine and outdo my own.
So if you still haven’t found your place, that’s okay. We have all been there. But make yourself known so we can help you find those areas that make you come alive. Whether it be MOPS, Bible Study, Host Team, Youth Ministry- you have a place in the body. Let us help you find it.
And for those of you who are already leading, part of your responsibility is to call out the gifts in others. To be vessels of encouragement, hope, and empowerment. To put aside competition, insecurity, or any divisive nature, so that we can enable each other to FLOURISH in who Christ created us to be. Keep your eyes open to be those vessels.
And finally, just in case you need to hear it today, YOU have something to offer. YOU are a valuable part of the church, and YOU are invited to the table.