On Tuesday nights I host a women's community group at a cozy little restaurant with a fireplace and good coffee.
Can I speak plainly and be honest? I was scared to start it.
I've never been someone who is good at leading things like this.
It's not that I don't like people, or getting together, or planning things. It's just that no one usually comes to things I host.
I stopped hosting jewelry and candle and kitchen gadget parties years ago because I got tired of baking brie for myself and the person who brought their wares to hock.
People rarely come to church when I invite them. I admit I give too much space for the people I am inviting to kindly decline. I'm bad at executing things, all grace and unassuming mercy for everyone's busy schedules. That strategy isn't particularly effective when you try to lead something.
I married a leader so I wouldn't have to lead. He leads our Thursday night family community group and I "co-lead"-which means failure is his fault but together we can make a difference. It's a very convenient set-up.
My children only follow me because I supply them with a steady source of food and nurturing love.
I am not exactly sure why people follow this blog. A lot of people have told me it's because from the comfort of my own home, while hidden behind a computer screen, I put honest words to things that they already feel inside.
So when God asked me to start a women's group I decided to capitalize on my best leadership tactics: the belief I can make a difference, a good source of food, honest words, and a transparent heart.
I bring all of myself to Tuesday nights. Amazingly, so does everyone else.
You know what is unbelievably glorious? Women being honest about the stuff in their hearts, talking through the difficult path of following Jesus, and encouraging one another on further in our dreams.
I came home last Tuesday night full of joy. Like a fountain of new life, my heart was thrilled at the way people who have only known one another for a few weeks can be so vulnerable and loving with one another.
Mr. Fantastic teased me when I told him how happy my group is making me feel.
"You were so scared the before the first night. Look at you now! I knew you could do it," he said.
I think I am learning something important here. I am discovering who God wants me to be.
I want myself to be a woman who makes a mean pot roast and folds the laundry while watching a good movie with her husband.
But God wants me to be a leader. Why does this seem so unlikely, when I know I am supposed to be like Christ, and He was clearly a leader?
Now I am pushing fear away as I consider new territories of thought. What else have I been too scared to try that might be full of joy?
Do you ever go there in your mind? Is it possible that you, too, are a leader tucked away in God's back pocket? How do we find that sweet spot where our effort and God's greatness meet, resulting in transformational experiences that make us new again and again?
Finding out who God wants us to be starts by making small of our right to of have it all our own way, and enlarging our devotion to doing it God's way.
Some people say leaders are made, not born. I suppose that's true. But I think leaders are just people who follow Love faithfully, and choose to do scary things for the sake of others, then find out it has made them more than they were before.
Or at least that is who I am slowly becoming. And I like the new me, even better than a good movie and a pile of laundry....