Empowering young women is something that’s near and dear to my heart. I want the girls I know and meet with for Bible study on a weekly basis to realize their role in society and play it well. I want them to be brave and strong and lead others that look up to them. I realize this at my age, but sometimes I don’t think young women can quite grasp the concept that the life they lead is carving a path for those that follow them- the next generation, their friends, sometimes their own family, and believe it or not, the people who simply watch from a distance but will inevitably find themselves following along too. I tell them all the time that the life they lead in public and in private needs to be one worthy of following. We can’t be a leader in one area of our life and a follower in the next. Most importantly, I want to be a part of raising a generation of girls that are not afraid to lead and lead well.
Some of the most substantial influences in my life were (and still are) women. Specifically, women who led me to Jesus and didn’t just leave me there- they led me to Him and then walked with me as I discovered my own form of leading. They developed me into a woman who desires to lead because I know God made me to be a leader. They pray for me, encourage me, and push me to take leaps of faith I’d not otherwise take on my own. As young girls come into my life through small groups or church, I’m so drawn to the opportunity to help them see their value and potential. They’re all leaders. Every single one of them. Yet, tapping into the roles in which each of them are called to lead is the key. Not all are called to speak or sing or be the one in lights. Some are called to lead from behind the scenes in the quiet of their home or job- the day-to-day routines. And that is exactly what gives me hope for the next generation of women. You see, God calls far more of us to lead from the battlefields of our own, everyday lives than he calls to lead from behind the microphone on the stage. He doesn’t just employ the wise women to lead those of us who are still finding our way. He calls out to the young and old alike to lead. Whether we’re all grown up with a family of our own or still in our middle school years just trying to get past the pimples and the awkward changes, every single girl has been given an arena, a place in which she can lead others to Jesus.
When I think about girls who lead, I see them taking the bold stands to honor the life they’ve been given- even if it means they have to walk the unpopular path. I see them sharing faith, hope, and love with those whom their lives impact. I see them taking a stand for the right way instead of the comfortable way- in face-to-face relationships and on social media. Leaders are humble and faithful to their calling, not self-centered and demeaning. We need a generation of girls who will be willing to put the needs of others above their own and make sacrifices so that others can meet Jesus too. We need girls who give and serve instead of take and expect the world to give to them. We need girls who are less caught up in their outward appearance and more concerned about how their Heavenly Father sees them. I want to pour into the lives of girls so that they know their value and protect their purity. I want to teach them that leading isn’t about having the best, but knowing the best, Jesus.
Last week, a group of girls took a bold stand in our youth group. They decided that for one hour they could give up the temptation their cell phones presented in church. They walked in, placed their phone in a basket at the front of the room and sat down. What started with one ended with fifty or so choosing to do the same. (And I was like the proud mama in the back just beaming from their faithfulness and desire to be different and lead.) They saw value in the time they sat in the Lord’s presence and made the choice to demonstrate that. They led well and others followed. I was so proud of them and the boldness they had to be different in front of their peers. They’re movement starters. They’re leaders and it is small steps of obedience like this that can change our culture and make a positive impact on our world.
Tonight, I’m going to sit in a room full of leaders- girls who already lead by giving up their time to dig into God’s Word every week with me. We’re going to sit around on the big, red couch like we always do and talk about life. We’re going to talk specifically today about our purpose and how God has called each of us to something special and unique. I want them to know they lead with their words and their actions and that God has given them the tools they need to be leaders in their respective circles. I want them to understand the value in a life of leadership and know how to listen carefully to Jesus as they walk through life.
So here’s where the rubber meets the road. If you’re an adult reading this, I pray that you’ll find a way to mentor and be available to the young women in your life. Teach them to lead well and be an example worthy of following. Talk to them. Check in with them. Pray for them. Encourage them. If you’re that young woman, I pray that you’ll find an older woman to look up to and do life with. I want you to think about ways in your everyday life that you can lead- at home, at school, at work. Don’t be afraid to be different. That’s often what God calls us to when He asks us to lead. Be different. Be brave. Go change the world.