3 Practices to Keep Your Marriage Strong in the Midst Of Church Ministry

Tim and I have been married for 25 years. That's a quarter of a century with the man of my dreams! My high school sweetheart. That good-looking guy who swept me off my feet also became the man who has been the most incredible father to our three daughters.

Our beautiful, messy life together has been filled with craziness and fun and love and laughter and a new house and babies and even a super cute puppy dog named, Sammy. The Seidler life has always really been radically incredible and amazing.

 

And then church ministry.

 

It changes things in a marriage, you know?

Church ministry requires things of a marriage that you're usually not prepared for as you venture in. The challenges and sacrifices and tension and stress of leading and serving in church as a couple--there's nothing quite like it.


Have you experienced it?

 

 

I have. First-hand. And Tim and I truly make an attempt everyday to overcome the pressure and strain that ministry takes on our marriage.  Sometimes we do it well. Sometimes we fail miserably.

 

 

 

Today, I'd like to share 3 practices that have helped us in times when we do it well, and I hope will also help you to keep your marriage strong in the midst of church ministry.

 

 

#1)  Stay reminded you're on the same team.

 

 

When life gets tough, we tend to battle those closest to us.  So remind each other often that as a couple, you're in this together. God has called your husband AND you as a team, and great teams have a mentality that emphasizes unity, encouragement and support. Mark 3:25<x-apple-data-detectors://0> says, "...if a household is divided against itself, that household will not last.." And neither will our marriages!  We should never lose sight that we're on the same side of the battlefield--fighting together to keep strong and united and standing ready together for what's coming our way.

 

 

#2) Set aside alone time with each other.

 

 

A top priority in my marriage book. Find a date and time. Mark it on your calendar. Set a reminder. AND DON'T LET ANYTHING TAKE ITS PLACE!  Time "away from it all" with your spouse is time well spent. It's important to be intentional, focused and also uninterrupted.  Tim and I love going to out-of-the-way places where we can spend valuable face-to-face time with no one else but each other.  It keeps us strong and complete as a couple. And one of the best things we can do for our church is to stay connected and refreshed so we can encourage each other and lead stronger together.

 

 

#3) Continue to support and encourage each other.

 

 

Over time, complacency can rear its ugly head and be an enemy to a successful marriage, especially in ministry. After 25 years, I'm continually reminding myself to keep complacency at a distance. Complacency can easily work its way into your marriage, so it's critical to continue to embrace the excitement and vibrance in your spouse's ideas today just as it was in years gone by.  Continue to support and encourage each other in times of success as well as in times of failure.  A stale marriage can easily become a thriving marriage when we embrace each other's dreams and goals and spur one another on to greatness. "So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing." (1 Thessalonians 5:11

This resource written by Linda Seidler for Leading and Loving It

 

 

5 Affirmations For Every Woman To Say Every Day

Women. We are awesome and wonderful and talented in so many ways. But we sabotage ourselves into believing that we are not good enough, not smart enough, or not talented enough…

Why do we do that?! From my own experience at woman-hood, it can be combination and culmination of hormones, challenges and thoughts wrapped all up into one overworked, overloaded mind. And therein lies the problem. What we think, determines how we act, so everything we do, comes directly from our thoughts. It can get very complicated.

So what I decided to do, right in the middle of my chaotic, messy life, was to intentionally “think” about myself the same way God thinks about me. I try to do this each and every day.

Here are five of my affirmations that I’d like to share with you so you can intentionally think about them every day as well:

1) I am not perfect, and I’m okay with that.

You and I are not perfect. We will never be perfect. It doesn’t matter how many surgeries you have to correct the outside imperfections, how much weight you lose, how many times you cover the gray hair, there will always be something “more” that keeps you from being perfect. We will continuously struggle with irrational emotions, deteriorating looks, anger–you name it… It’s the nature of our imperfections. But our goal is not to be perfect–that’s not achievable–our goal is to maximize living our best life despite our imperfections! What a relief to realize that it’s okay not to be perfect.

2) I will not compare myself to anyone else because I am unique.

Okay I’ll be honest. I’ve always had a hard time not doing this to myself. You too?!! Here’s the scenario: You’re at a function. Another woman walks into the room. She is beautiful and well-dressed and confident and then, to top it off, she speaks with authority AND is intelligent. Yuk. You start to think that because she is all of these things, you are not. WRONGO!! Despite what anyone else is or isn’t, you are still who you are. No need to compare! You can celebrate both!

3) I can do the hard things, and I will survive.

No matter what is going on, what trouble I’m facing, what difficulty has come my way…I CAN DO THE HARD THINGS!! Why? Because I am a survivor. My survival techniques don’t always look pretty. In fact, I can get mean and nasty and sulk and pout. But eventually, over time, I decide that It’s time to stop acting silly, and I need to just face the music and dance through the chaos. Somehow, we make it through. Keep reminding yourself that there is light somewhere in that dark place and if you keep squinting, you will eventually see it. That’s how you do the hard things.

4) I will not let negativity from others influence my belief in myself.

Critics are everywhere, and I mean everywhere. They are at your workplace, in the store, at your child’s school, and yes, even in the church. Shoot, even the well-meaning people who are just “trying to help” can sometimes negatively influence how we feel about and see ourselves. What I’ve learned is that there is no one on this earth who knows more about you than you. And opinions are a dime a dozen. So you have to make a conscious effort to stay confident in yourself and stick to your guns. Don’t let the negativity from someone else flow onto you and stick. Keep your guard up and shield yourself against the words that want to penetrate deep within. And remember that just because someone says it, doesn’t mean you have to believe it. If negativity or condemnation comes your way, the best thing to do is deflect, and move on.

5) I forgive myself for past mistakes and regrets.

It’s time to let go. It’s time to forgive yourself. You’re not a bad person; you may have, however, made some bad decisions. Maybe you are struggling with guilt from something that you did that hurt someone else. Or possibly you still have shame from a bad choice that took you in a wrong direction many years ago. Whatever the case, you have to decide that if you go back to that place in your mind, you don’t need stay there for too long. It’s a visual: as you move forward and extend your hand to new and exciting opportunities, your other hand lets go of the things of the past. This allows you to move ahead freely. There is nothing more liberating than when the burden of shame is lifted off your shoulders and you’re free to live without guilt weighing you down.

This resource written by Linda Seidler

 

How to know you are power-full when you feel power-less

Listen, leading is not an easy task. It requires tons of effort, time, scheduling and stamina. It can keep us up at night. It can drain even the strongest of the strong. And it can cause a person who started out excited and passionate, to plummet into a place of complete and utter defeat.

Have you been there? I have. In fact, I’ve been in each of the above places. Leadership has given me some of the most rewarding moments in my life.  And leadership has thrown me some crazy curve balls—in fact, there were times I didn’t have the power to swing the bat, let alone hit the ball.

Maybe you’ve been in one of those places like I have. There were days, weeks and even seasons when I didn’t feel I had the strength nor the power to lead. I felt power-less. But the Bible reminded me that “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” (Isaiah 40:29). So in moments when I feel power-less, it’s God who gives me what I need to get the job done—to lead with power, influence and strength.

Power, by definition, is the ability that you have to influence or direct others. So we are given power, in essence, to influence. Not to stronghold people. Not to pull rank. Not to bully or get our way. God empowers us to be able to influence and lead others by our example!

So although you may not feel you have power, you really do!  How do you know? Because God has put it inside of you. Second Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and sound mind.” So let’s talk about how to know you are power-full even when you feel power-less.

1) There is Power in Your Position.

Senior pastor’s wife, worship leader, campus pastor’s wife, administrator, women’s ministry director and really ALL leadership positions in ministry are influential. While you may feel intimidated by your “title” or you compare yourself to someone who has a similar role, remember that you have been placed in this position for “such a time as this” to lead and influence those around you. Your position has power because God has given it to you!  Know that this power given to you is intended to build up, to encourage, to direct, to create unity, to teach, to love and to lead the vision—all of the same qualities that we see in the leadership of Jesus.  Jesus said in John 14:12, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.”  You have the power to lead. Why? Because Jesus said so! The more you believe it, the more you will walk in it.

2) There is Power in Your Prayer

Not convinced you have power? Then just take a minute and remind yourself of the many prayers that God has answered for you. James 5:16 states, “…The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Our prayers truly have power. And there’s something about being persistent and continually praying.  I’m not sure how everything works with God, but I do know this: When we pray, things happen. The results may not always be what we expect, but 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to continually “pray without ceasing”. When there is conflict in your leadership team—pray without ceasing. When your marriage is struggling because of your time at church—pray without ceasing. When you’re not sure of the next step in the direction of your ministry—pray without ceasing. Keep reminded that your prayers have great power.

3) There is Power in Your Perseverance

There have been a few definitive times in my years in ministry when I have been ready to throw in the towel. About seven years ago, I told my husband, Tim, that I was going to quit ministry and stop leading. It was too hard. People were too critical and opinionated. I didn’t have it in me to stay the course. I wasn’t willing to go through the tough moments anymore.  And then God spoke into my heart. He simply said, “If not you, then who? Linda, how can you stop when I’ve called you? How can you give up when there are still more to reach?”  And I realized in that brief moment that one of the most significant and powerful aspects of leading, was persevering. Through my example and ability to persevere, to keep going, to not stop, to continue on—I would show and influence others to do the same! It was an “a-ha” moment for me. Galatians 6:9 says, “Let’s not get tired of doing what is good, for at the right time we will reap a harvest—if we do not give up.” We can’t give up because there is power is in our perseverance! Remember that changing course or changing direction is not giving up. Giving up is giving up. Keep going. God believes in you!!

This resource written by Linda Seidler for Leading and Loving It

 

 

5 CHALLENGES THAT EVERY WOMAN IN MINISTRY GOES THROUGH

Years ago, before planting our church, my husband, Tim, and I led a traveling ministry. We started out as starry-eyed, Jesus-loving, zealous believers, who were excited with anticipation to offer these amazing events filled with fun and joy-filled moments while at the same time attempting to introduce the world to Jesus with a team of other starry-eyed, Jesus-loving, zealous ministry friends.

What we anticipated for the events was on target. Jesus was the central message, and life-change happened within people's hearts at each and every event.

What we didn't anticipate, however, were the aspects of ministry that happened between the events. For those of us in churches, this encompasses the 6 days between our weekend worship experiences.

I term this--'ministry in the trenches', where most of our battles takes place--the situations and circumstances we combat behind-the-scenes as we lead and pastor our churches.

This is the place where we experience deep hurt and intense loneliness. It's the place where, along with our spouses, we make that decision to forge ahead no matter what obstacle or challenge comes our way. It's the place where we feel we may bottom out and crash and burn if we don't get a break soon. And sadly, it's the place where many ministry leaders will begin to second guess and question their calling.

Ministry in the trenches is where we get through the tough stuff, and I'm certain, as a leader in ministry, that you know this place quite well. I know I do.

I've heard it said, "Knowledge is power". And when we know what may challenge us, we can seek God for the strength to get through.

So as you read the following 5 challenges that every woman in ministry goes through, continue to keep reminding yourself..."I can get through the tough stuff".

 

1) Your heart will be broken.

 

People will leave your church. Some of those closest to you will turn on a dime.  Even the ones who have high-fived and fist-bumped you in the beginning will suddenly stop volunteering with no explanation. And you may never understand why, so... Keep reminding yourself..."I can get through the tough stuff."

(Read Psalm 34:18)

 

2) You will have challenging seasons in your marriage and family.

 

Leading a church full-time is comparable to leading a second family. And with this commitment comes time away with regularly scheduled meetings and unexpected visits to the hospital and phone calls requiring you to counsel on a moment's notice. Schedules are packed, and you haven't had a sit-down family dinner in a month. It will always be a balancing act, so... Keep reminding yourself..."I can get through the tough stuff."

(Read Ecclesiastes 4:12)

 

3) You will make mistakes.

 

You and I are perfectly imperfect (my new mantra). And we will never get it exactly right.  We will hurt people's feelings without knowing it.  We'll neglect to return a phone call. You will forget to send a thank you note to that person who helped you for endless hours complete the event deadline, so... Keep reminding yourself..."I can get through the tough stuff."

(Read Philippians 3:12)

 

4) There will be days when you will want to quit.

 

You'll get tired.  Hours of work will be spent toward the goal, and the results seem minimal. There will be moments when it feels like no one cares. You can become discouraged and depressed. And just when you feel like you are ready to take a deep breath, the wind gets knocked out of you again because people are talking negatively about you, so... Keep reminding yourself..."I can get through the tough stuff."

(Read Galatians 6:9)

 

5) You will have to forgive over and over and over again.

 

How many times? Over, and over, and over, and over, and then, over and over again. So just... Keep reminding yourself..."I can get through the tough stuff."

(Read Matthew 18:21)

This resource written by Linda Seidler for Leading and Loving It

 

 

 

Encouragement For The Brokenhearted

Each time, I told myself that I would not allow my heart to be broken again.

And then...it was broken, again and again and again.

That’s the thing with heartbreak...it can happen often and in every area of our personal lives, our work lives, and yes, even in our church lives.

At least, it has happened that way with me. The moment that my grandmother’s heart failed, and she died unexpectedly; my heart was broken. The pain felt when my best friend decided we weren’t friends anymore; my heart was broken. The miscarriage of our first child after Tim and I were married; my heart was broken.

The people who seemed to “love” our church would “leave” our church without explanation; my heart was broken. Terminal illnesses of people in our church family whom we adored; my heart was broken.

I wondered if I would always experience these heartbreaking moments? Was there a way to be protected from feeling that gut-wrenching pain imbedded deep within my hurting heart? Especially being a pastor who was supposed to lead others THROUGH their own heartache?

The answer hit me like a ton of bricks. I found it in the bible in the lives of Jesus and Paul and Sarah and David and the woman at the well and so many more in scripture. These historic people in the bible, just like you and me, ALL experienced heartbreak. Over and over again.

 

Through their example, I reframed the question.

It was no longer, will I experience heartbreak ever again? The question was now, how will I get through the heartbreak?

Maybe you have asked this question a time or two.

Here are 3 ways to help you get through when your heart is broken:

1 - Grieve the hurt.

It’s okay. Give yourself permission to “feel” those emotions when you’re heartbroken.

Jesus wept when His friend, Lazarus, died. David became angry with those who betrayed him. And Mary was in anguish as she watched her Son being nailed to a cross. I can’t even imagine that pain.

Our heartbreak hurts, and it is real. So it’s important not to ignore it and push it under the rug but to work through the hurt to eventually be able to move on from it.

I cried and cried when our baby miscarried because my heart hurt so deeply. Eventually, through the process of time, I was able to think and talk about the miscarriage differently than when it happened, knowing that I was healing as I was grieving. I love what Psalm 147:3 says, “He (God) heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.

It is sometimes in the process of going through our deepest pain where we can see the presence and strength and love of God the most.  So take time needed to grieve the hurt knowing that it’s okay not to be okay as long as you’re on your way to being okay.

2 - Gravitate toward God.

It’s so easy to pull away from everyone and everything when we hurt. But you have to be careful not to build a wall to separate yourself so that no one will be able to hurt you, because behind that wall, no one will be able to help you either.

“Heartbreak” means to be crushed with sorrow or grief. And when our hearts are crushed, we can become distant, especially from God. But some of our most intimate moments with God happen in the midst of our darkest moments of heartbreak and intense pain. 

Psalm 34:18 says this, "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed."  Did you see that?! God is close to the brokenhearted, and he wants to rescue you. He sees your hurt. He knows your pain. He understands your heartache. And when you are drowning in despair, He throws out a life raft. You just have to reach for it and hold on tight to get your head above the water so that you can start to breathe deep again. And keeping your head above water takes perseverance and stamina. So don’t give up, and don't stop reaching.

Stay reminded that God, who created your heart, is the same God who will heal it.

3 - Ground yourself in the Truth.

Our best defense in dealing with a broken heart is to have a good offense. And knowing God’s word is the key to doing that. It gives us foundational truths, provides a source of strength, encouragement, and helps us to clarify any confusion in our thoughts.

In the moments when I’ve been so hurt and so broken and literally wanted to give up and give in, I reflect on a verse such as, Isaiah 43:2 that says, “When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up—the flames will not consume you,” and I am reminded of God’s power in my life and how I can get through this, and it empowers me! Isn’t that so good?!

While God’s word will not keep you from being heartbroken, it will help you stay strong when you are heartbroken. In your deepest pain, God will be your healer, and in your sadness, He will be your comforter.

 

So in your lowest moments, ask God to show you the truth in His word and lead you and teach you in the midst of the heartbreak.  He truly wants to give you the answers because His desire is for you to end up stronger than you were (Psalm 25:5).

 

 

5 Things That Content People Don’t Do

While it may be impossible to accomplish 100% of the time, contentment is something that most of us want in our lives each and every day.  I know I do!!  And in all the years I’ve been in ministry, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who doesn’t continually want to be content.  In fact, I was recently in a conversation with a woman who was struggling with some difficulties, and her consistent, sustained comment to me was, “I just want to be content in my life.”

What I’ve noticed over the years is that there are some definite characteristics of people who stay content most of the time.  And even though content people have troubles and personal issues just like everyone else on the earth, there are some very intentional and specific things that those who are content don’t do.

They Don’t Compare

Here’s the deal…comparison has the power to do two things.  It will either make you feel superior to someone else, or it will make you feel inferior.  And neither are beneficial if your goal is to be content and happy.  A life of comparison keeps us looking to someone else as our standard of measure for who we are to be.  And if we consistently compare our lives to others, we most likely will consider ourselves to be less than enough, and that is just not truth.  Content people, therefore, are confident in who they are and tend to use comparison as a benchmark for improvement within themselves.

Read Galatians 6:4: Let everyone be sure to do his very best, for then he will have the personal satisfaction of work done well and won't need to compare himself with someone else.

They Don’t Hold Onto Hurts From The Past

We have all been hurt, and if I’m a betting girl, we will all be hurt at some point again.  So is it possible to be content and stay hurt all at the same time?!  Well you can try, but it could get incredibly exhausting.  I suggest this: forgive the hurt, let it go, and begin to move on.  Now letting go can be a process, and the time frame is unique and different for everyone.  Remind yourself every, single day that ‘forgiving’ is the key to ‘moving on’.  And ‘moving on’ is the key to keep you from looking back.  Holding onto hurt is like being stranded on a boat in the middle of the ocean with no wind, sails or oars.  You continue to stay in one place but want to continue on the journey.  Letting go is the moment that the oars are placed in your hands, and you begin to paddle and move closer to your destination.

Read Philippians 3:13: I know that I still have a long way to go. But there is one thing I do: I forget what is in the past and try as hard as I can to reach the goal before me.

They Don’t Spend Time Around Negativity

Negativity is truly a buzz-kill.  What I mean is this… Here you are, making a real attempt to stay positive, but still hanging out with people who continue to be negative and nasty, and the joy is sucked right out of you!  The fact is, there are just some people who allow grumpiness and complaining to ooze from their pores.  And those attitudes, unfortunately, can be contagious.  If you’re not careful, their negative outlook can become yours as well.

Read 1 Corinthians 15:33: Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”

They Forgive Quickly

Good days.  Bad days.  Nice people.  Mean people.  Life, at its best, contains positives and negatives and every combination in between. It’s important to realize that life is not perfect, nor are people, and your life will fluctuate through ups and downs and ebbs and flows. This is an ongoing challenge for me, and honestly, I’m not always good at deflecting the darts of meanness that people try to throw my way.  Sometimes, I just want to find a gigantic spear and throw back at them in retaliation.  But I’m still in process, and you are too.  And if we can prevent what is said or done to us from going in too deep within our hearts, our desire for getting “back” at someone won’t be within us either.

Read Ephesians 4:31-32: Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

They Don’t Create Drama

Even before the onset of social media, drama has been in our world.  “She said blah-de-blah.  He said ‘blah-de-blah’.  They did ‘blah-de-blah’.  Oh, no, they did-ent!!  Oh, yes, they did!”  I have 3 daughters, one teen-aged and two in their twenties, so we have experienced our share of intense drama over the years.  All of it was ugly, and not one bit of it was necessary.  Drama can be defined as an interpersonal conflict that involves negative talk.  Content people make the choice to stay clear of and avoid it altogether.  They do not initiate the conversations, and they definitely do their best not to participate in it.  Content people have learned the art of avoiding drama at all costs.

Read Proverbs 21:23: The one who guards his mouth and tongue keeps himself out of trouble.

This resource written by Linda Seidler for The Intelligencer Faith Section

 

Because of I AM, You are...Confident (Not a self hater)

The confident woman. Who is she really? And do I have what it takes to be  completely confident in who God has called me to be?

I’ve often wondered that, and I wonder if you have to.

For most of us, the word ‘confident’ evokes the image of a woman who has it all together. She doesn’t struggle with self-doubt; she knows her purpose and position in ministry; she doesn’t question her calling; she is secure in her role as a wife and mother; she can handle all that life throws her way; she effortlessly manages her home, and the list goes on.

While most of us may see this as the image of a confident woman, this is not the reality within a confident woman.

You see, a confident woman knows that her confidence does not come from what she accomplishes as a ministry leader or her calmness in a tense situation. And she is assured that ‘who she is’ does not depend on how many loads of laundry she will get done or whether she attends the monthly women’s luncheon at church.

A confident woman makes it apparent that the level of her confidence runs parallel to her dependance on God. It is not based on her performance level. A confident woman understands that the presence of imperfection in her life encourages her to rely on God to fill the places where she lacks. She knows that all temporal things on this earth will change, and because the great I AM never changes, she can be secure and confident in who she is, because of who He is.

Proverbs 3:26a says this, “For the LORD will be your confidence…”

Did you see that? God is your source of confidence! HE is who will give you the confidence you need! It’s called God-fidence, and it’s critical for you and I to start believing what HE says about us instead of what others say and also instead of the unachievable expectations we place on ourselves.

When we allow God to be our source of confidence, then we can stop the cycle of suffering through a lifetime of doubt and uncertainty in our personal lives, families and ministries.

So you may be wondering if there is anyone who really carries the mantle of confidence everyday? Is this confidence possible for me?

My answer to that is...yes! But many times, we have our ear tuned in more to a deceitful enemy who wants to tear us down instead of listening to our mighty God who wants to build us up.

So take some time, right now, to identify the specific areas where doubt and uncertainty reside within you. Then take a look at the following truths in God’s word and invite God to strengthen your heart and soul and mind to believe what he says.

 

Because of the great I AM, you can have confidence today that:

 

  1. You are chosen (Ephesians 1:4-5).

  2. You are qualified (2 Corinthians 3:5).

  3. God placed you here for such a time as this (Matthew 5:13-16).

  4. You can do all things through Christ Who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13).

  5. God has equipped, gifted and purposed you for great things (Hebrews 13:20-21).

  6. You are accepted (Colossians 1:21-22).

  7. God is preparing within you what He has prepared for you (Ephesians 2:10).

  8. You are forgiven (1 John 1:9).

  9. You are an overcomer (Romans 8:37).

  10. Your mistakes no longer condemn you (2 Peter 1:9).

  11. You are never alone (Hebrews 13:5).

  12. You are uniquely made (Psalm 139:14).

  13. You are unconditionally loved and eternally bound to God (Titus 3:4-5 & John 3:16).

  14. You have what it takes and are more than enough (Ephesians 1:17-18).

  15. You are redeemed (Ephesians 1:7).

  16. Your former shame has no power in your present (1 Peter 2:6).

  17. You are beautiful and without blemish (Psalm 139:14 & Hebrews 8:12).

  18. You are strong, and God has armed you with the potential to get through any obstacle you face (Isaiah 40:28-31).

 

This resource written by Linda Seidler for Leading and Loving It

4 Simple, Empowering Statements

As ministry leaders, our focus is to lead. And even as new or a seasoned leaders, we can begin to question our purpose and the plan for our lives. There are some days when we wonder if God could’ve possibly made a mistake, and we question our leadership potential.

I get it. In fact, I live it, everyday.

But it’s important to recognize the difference between what we “feel” and what God says. So let’s take a look at four simple, empowering statements that you should say and believe as you lead:

I am called and chosen.

The calling on your life is directly from God. He called you. He chose you. He is who determines your purpose. No one, other than God, has ever had a say in His plan and direction for any of us. However, there will be moments when you'll feel ill-equipped and less than capable for the call on your life. It’s natural. This call into ministry can easily cultivate self-doubt. However, in these moments, remember that being chosen by God also means relying on Him to empower and equip you to complete the mission put before you. God has already placed within you the gifts and talents and abilities you need to succeed while you lead. He’s equipped you to do it! So when doubt and uncertainty begins to fill your mind, remind yourself and accept this as truth. If He has called you to it, He will always see you through it! {Read Psalm 138:8}

I am enough.

Yes, you really are. We all are. In the busiest of days when your schedule is on overload, dinner is fast-food, the church staff meeting was heated and you haven’t had a face-to-face conversation with your spouse in over a week...remember to keep saying, "I am enough". There is truly a battle raging from the enemy to occupy our minds and lead us to believe that we don't have what it takes and we’re not enough for the journey we’re on. Let me tell you, God chose you because He believes in you and in your potential. So give yourself some grace and do what you can, when you can, and then get up tomorrow, and take another step. The lack you are feeling is not from God. He loves you, adores you and truly believes that you have what it takes. Now you have to continue to believe it also. {Read Hebrews 10:35-36}

I cannot be all things to all people.

You can be something to someone, but you cannot be everything to everyone. When I first started in ministry, I tried to do it all and reach everyone. I thought that I was a failure if I didn’t introduce them to Jesus, lead them in the salvation prayer, help them along their journey, minister through every hardship and question, and be there for the midnight, 2-hour phone call. It…was…exhausting.  And I found out very quickly that I could not keep up that pace and still stay fully engaged with my husband, my daughters and my church. Seriously, my sanity was a stake. So I continue to ask God to guide me and show me those who I can personally invest in deeply. My purpose and calling are still in place, I’ve just learned to let go of that crazy motive to try to get to each and every human on the earth. Not only is it physically impossible, it’s so spiritually unhealthy. So I want to encourage you today to let go of feeling bad or guilty or less than when people tug and you feel pulled and let God lead you. {Read Proverbs 16:9}

I will be an example of love, grace, compassion and forgiveness.

Uggh. This one is hard. As a leader in ministry, the very thing that God requires of you becomes the very thing that may be the hardest. Love, grace, compassion and forgiveness, seriously God?! When they’re talking negatively about my husband? When they don’t want to adapt to change? When they watch my kids’ every move and criticize? When they are mean and vindictive and hateful and just rude?!!!! Yes, all of those times. Let’s stay reminded; we are leaders…who are leading. And while you can be frustrated and complain to God and even to a good friend, Jesus says, be like Me.  And if we’re to be like Jesus, then showing love, grace, compassion and forgiveness is who we are too. This makes us different than the world around us, and honestly, it strengthens us to be more equipped at leading others. How can we expect anyone to follow our lead if we aren’t leading like Jesus? {Read Luke 10:30-35}

This resource written by Linda Seidler for Leading and Loving It

Unlocked From Comparison

I wish I could tell you that I have never compared myself with someone else, or that I’ve always had a pure heart and genuine motives. I wish I could tell you that I was always an encourager who celebrated the successes of others in ministry.

 

 

I really wish I could.

 

 

But truth be told, I have struggled a time or two with getting hung up in the comparison trap. And truly, it’s never been about not wanting to see someone else do well; deep down, it was more that their “doing well” somehow meant that I wasn’t.  Weird thinking, I know.

 

 

I believe that most of us have been enticed by the temptation to compare. My first comparative thought was when I was in grade school. Georgee was a popular, cute, petite, curly-haired blonde who the teachers loved and the boys adored. I, on the other had, was  awkwardly tall and gangly with long skinny legs and stringy hair. Those early thoughts of who I saw myself as, created hurt in my heart, shaped my mind and led me to believe that the world of success was only for “certain” girls.

 

 

Fast-forward. I have struggled with comparison off-and-on ever since.

 

 

Comparison is this internal measuring tape that we carry in our back pocket. We use it to measure our deficiencies against the best qualities that we see in others, and we fall short. Or we pull it out to measure our successes against the weaknesses of someone else, and we fly high.

 

 

Neither of these is how God wants us to see ourselves.

 

 

If we allow it residence, comparison will occupy and fill that space in our minds with thoughts that limit our potential and hold us back; it’s almost as if we lock ourselves into a way of thinking that is contrary to how God has designed us. We are literally caught in the comparison trap.

 

 

So let’s take a look at some truths about comparison and how we can become free from its ugly grip:

 

 

#1 - BE GRATEFUL - GOD MADE YOU FABULOUS

 

 

There is one and only one of you in all of time, and that, my friend, is pretty special! Your expression is unique, and you have something that no one else has... your mind, your voice, your talents, your abilities, your vision, your story, and the list goes on.

 

 

But instead of looking at everything God has made each of us to be, we can get laser-focused on the achievements and talents of someone else. That can lead into hating ourselves for everything we are not, instead of loving ourselves for everything we are. We become jealous and bitter and withdrawn and eventually stop what we started because we doubt our self-worth and think we aren’t good enough.

 

 

And here’s what I know...you can’t stop your expression! If you do, the world will be without something fabulous that God intended for it to have, and that’s you.

 

 

So remind yourself of how God adoringly made you as a unique creation filled with wonder and awe. He approached even the smallest detail with excellence; His works (you) are wonderful. (Psalm 139:14)

 

 

God made you to be you, and we need you to do what only you can do. You are truly like no other person ever created since time began, and you are incomparable.

 

 

 

#2 - BE ENCOURAGING - GOD MADE OTHERS FABULOUS TOO

 

 

 

I love this quote...“A flower doesn’t compare itself with the flowers around it. It just blooms.”  This is God’s ultimate design for us.  To be like the flower that can bloom and thrive and be beautiful alongside other flowers that are blooming and thriving and being beautiful also. Doesn’t that speak volumes?

 

 

You see, God created all of us in His image with distinct differences and unique talents and giftings, yet we work alongside one another to function as the one body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12). We lock arms with one another and admire the accomplishments and achievements that each other contributes. God has designed us to work together, cheer each other on and believe in each other. This is a healthy component and necessary part of functioning well within the body of Christ.

 

 

Here is what is not healthy: If you are tempted to intentionally withhold encouragement from someone who is doing well. Okay, just press pause for a minute, and take an honest look to make sure you are not internally comparing. Remind yourself that someone else’s doing well will not take away from your doing well. And it most certainly doesn’t mean that you are not gifted or talented.

 

 

Just because she is good at writing, doesn’t mean that you are not. Just because she sings like an angel, doesn’t mean that you sound hideous. Just because she is talented and gifted and has a great marriage and has a church that is thriving DOES NOT MEAN that you have a life that is lesser than that!

 

 

It just means that you are two different people. Truly, that’s all it means.

 

 

So decide to celebrate with those who you admire, and celebrate big! First Thessalonians 5:11 says it best, “...encourage one another and build each other up.”

 

 

 

#3 - BE FOCUSED - GOD HAS EQUIPPED YOU

 

 

 

Lastly, be focused on your own dreams and ambitions. When we compare, we are giving more attention to another person’s achievements more than we are on our own.

 

 

So ask yourself this, what and who am I focusing on? What are my goals? What do I want my future to look like? What kind of relationships am I aspiring to have? How has God equipped me to move ahead? And does what I striving for fall under what God has for me?

 

 

Remember, you have not been called to be like someone else. You have been called to be like Jesus. So stop comparing your life to another’s, and start focusing your thoughts on Jesus.

 

 

And make sure that you are doing your very best, for then you will have the personal satisfaction of work well done and won’t need to compare yourself with someone else. (Galatians 6:4)

 

This resource written by Linda Seidler for Leading and Loving It

 

 

Leadership 101: How Do I Stay Confident As I Lead?

What does it really take for me to be a confident leader? Is there a quick formula, a tried-and-true method, a step-by-step instruction manual that can help me?

These are questions that I’ve asked myself, and I believe that many of you may be asking yourself as well.

Here’s the deal...leadership can be scary. It can be downright overwhelming if we’re being totally honest.  And staying confident as we make a commitment before God to lead and guide and even nurture people as we walk along a path together, dang, it’s a big deal!  When Moses was called by God to lead the Israelites, he was never completely confident in his ability to speak (Exodus 5:10).  And in a conversation with the Lord, Jeremiah told God that he was too young to do what God called him to do (Jeremiah 1:6-8).

Throughout the bible we see accounts of people who were not completely confident in God’s call on their lives. Yet, and I repeat, yet... they led and guided groups that ranged from only a few people to groups in the thousands and even millions. And somehow they learned to manage their doubts and lead in the midst of uncertainty. How did they do it?!

In November of 2014, I hopped on a plane to Las Vegas to attend my 4th annual Leading and Loving It Retreat. I want you to know that I almost didn’t get on the plane that day because of some incredibly stressful circumstances. Six months prior, our church purchased and moved into a new building in a different state, and I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the transition. During the same time, our congregation doubled in size, and I was stretched in leadership and time management, and my confidence was beginning to challenged on every level.

Yet at the encouragement of my husband, I agreed to go to retreat.  At retreat, in a moment where I became vulnerable and open to the voice of God, I became honest with myself and acknowledged the doubt I had in my leadership abilities and my fear of fully grasping the call on my life.

In this significant moment, I began to recognize that my confidence would be boosted from a shift in my thinking. And if God believed in me, believed in my potential and put me in this position, then I had to believe it too.

 

 

Maybe you have been in the same place, or maybe you’re there right now and are feeling discouraged and alone as you lead.

 

Well, I want to take a moment and boost your confidence! Let me start by reminding you that leading is a journey and not a final destination, and every leader is in continual transition. So anything we can do to help each other along the way will help us become stronger as we lead.

Here are some tips to help you stay confident as you lead.

Confidence Tip #1: Give yourself grace to make mistakes.

We are not striving to be perfect. We are striving to be better leaders. Making a mistake here and there can actually help you as you develop in your leadership. Forgetting to call someone; speaking unkindly; over-scheduling meetings... A mistake doesn’t mean you are less of a leader. It means that you are a human leader.  What’s most important is getting past and learning from the mistake and starting again. Don’t allow a mess-up make you feel like a screw-up! Remember that with any mistake, God gives his grace willingly and freely to you. It’s important that you do the same to yourself. Being a confident leader doesn’t mean you’re a perfect leader. We are all imperfect leaders leading imperfect people under the authority and grace of a perfect God.

Confidence Tip #2:  Your “voice” is the right voice for you.

What is the thing that you’re most passionate about and the thing that drives you as a leader? What is your “voice”?  Your “voice”, by my definition, are the giftings, passions and desires that are unique and given by God to you to use for his purpose and glory. And while your “voice” may sound much different than someone else’s, that’s perfectly okay! Some of you may preach; some may lead the children’s ministry; others are involved in missions; while still others are on the worship team. We devalue ourselves when we try to be like someone else instead of who God has prepared and positioned us to be. It always leads to frustration and lack of confidence in ourselves.  God didn’t intend for you, nor does he want you, to be like anyone else. Be confident in YOU because you are enough. You really are...

Confidence Tip #3: Be ready for critics but not afraid of being criticized.

So here’s the deal...we cannot avoid criticism. If you lead, you’re immediately in the forefront and visibly seen. But do not be afraid! Sound familiar?! This is the same statement God spoke to Joshua right before he entered the promised land (Joshua 1). Why? Because God knew that Joshua would come up against people and difficult circumstances and would be openly criticized and condemned. So God wanted to assure Joshua that he would strengthen and be with him every step of the way. And God wants you to know the same. People can criticize you, but they do not have the power to defeat you unless you allow it. Remember that with God’s help, you are able to stay strong, and with the strength of Christ you can do all things. And through God’s word you have the firm foundation necessary to withstand anything that comes your way!

 

This resource written by Linda Seidler for Leading and Loving It