March 15, 2019
Recently, I came across an interview with Kristen Padilla, author of the book Now That I’m Called. She said that when she was about seven or eight years old, she cried real tears to her parents and asked them, “Why didn’t God make me a boy so I can be a preacher?”
I shared the same sentiment growing up. I, too, wished I were a man not because I didn’t like being a girl, but mainly because of the perception that the roles of men were more important than the roles women were traditionally given.
Most of us know that, historically, women were not regarded highly by society. They were considered as slaves, had no property of their own, had no voice or no rights, and were confined to doing house chores or taking care of the children.
While women’s status and condition have improved in modern times, there are still women who experience being deprived of basic rights and privileges. This, however, does not stop women from being the leaders they are called to be.
Strong and empowered women leaders abound in contemporary times. For instance, 5 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. In the Philippines, we have gained the reputation of being a beacon when it comes to women leadership in Asia as 46.58 percent of senior management positions in the country are held by women. In government, we have elected a woman president twice; our current vice president is a woman; and one-fourth of our Senate are women.
True enough, Filipino women are fortunate to live in a country that allows us relative equity and privileges.
But this is not the first time that women were empowered to lead.
The Bible tells us stories of women who were empowered to lead and challenge society despite living in a male-dominated culture.
Miriam, Moses’ sister, led the Israelites with her brothers, Moses and Aaron (Exodus 15:20).
Deborah was appointed by God as a judge for Israel (Judges 4:4).
Huldah (2 Kings 22:14), Anna (Luke 2:36), and the four daughters of Philip (Acts 21:9) were called to be prophets.
Queen Esther helped deliver Israel from annihilation (Esther 4–5).
Lydia was a businesswoman and a house church leader (Acts 16:14–40). Junia was recognized by Paul as an apostle (Romans 16:7). Phoebe was a deacon (Romans 16:1). Priscilla, along with her husband Aquila, discipled Apollos (Acts 18:26).
Benjamin T. Roberts, in his book Ordaining Women, wrote that “the gospel of Jesus Christ . . . knows no distinction of nationalities, conditions, or sex.”
If we think about it, leadership for women is not different from that of men. Effective leadership is universal, applicable to all. But the question is, as Christian women, how can we embrace leadership and lead effectively?
Having a solid understanding of your true identity is crucial in leadership.
This solid understanding can only come from knowing the truth from the Word of God and letting its truth transform us. As you meditate on His Word, know what God thinks of you.
You are loved.
You have a purpose.
You belong to Christ.
You are an overcomer.
Knowing who you are in Christ will give you the security and boldness to face life’s challenges. Finding out how you are wired by God helps you know your strengths, weaknesses, talents, and personality. Also, appreciating your uniqueness helps you love the way God created you and helps you maximize your God-given talents.
A calling is a sense of burden, an inner groaning that compels you to action. Your calling is that strong impulse that says something needs to happen and something has to be done.
Knowing what you are called to do gives you focus. It infuses fire, energy, and passion to your whole being. In his letter, the Apostle Paul encourages us to do everything to pursue our calling (Ephesians 4:1), which is usually intertwined with two things: our talents and our community.
Our calling becomes truly significant and impactful when we are established in a community and when we actively contribute to its mission.
Self-awareness is vital to success. Face the hard truths. We need to constantly ask for feedback regarding our effectiveness as leaders. Pastor Greg Groeschel said this: “Helpful feedback is the difference between good leaders and great leaders. A growth mindset will always crave for feedback.”
Let us ask ourselves, “What skills do I need to improve? What mindsets do I need to change? What kind of attitude do I need to cultivate?”
Effective leadership entails the ability to work well with others. We must know when to speak up, when to be quiet, and when to listen.
Knowing your role helps you respect and support the structure and system that are placed in an organization. Being tactful toward others is paramount. The Bible encourages us to show proper respect to everyone and to pursue unity at all cost. Peace and productivity should guide all of our actions.
As women, our motivation to excel in leadership should go beyond “breaking the glass ceiling.” Let us be faithful to serve selflessly and be faithful in growing our character and skills. Let us continue to anchor our identity on the Word of God, being grounded on the truth, refuting all lies of the devil, and letting His Word renew our minds and transform us.
Let us continue to embrace our calling and fling our lives to His purpose. As we work together and embrace leadership, both men and women can be unstoppable in fulfilling His mission in this generation.