You may be familiar with the saying, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”
Most of us moms shrug our shoulders and think, “That may be true for other moms, but not me. I’m doing good just to keep my kids alive. I fail too often to be classified in the world-ruler group.”
What if I told you that you have been placed in a mighty position of leadership by God Himself? Would you believe me?
But here’s the thing: a leadership position does not make a leader. We have to intentionally grow into our leadership skills.
It is important to know that leadership is not management. Systems manage productivity. People lead people.
Sometimes, as moms, it’s easy to think that if we have a system that keeps our days running smoothly, then we are winning at the leading assigned to us.
Although it is definitely helpful to have systems in place, having them does not equal being a good leader.
When my children were younger, I lived in such insecurity that I was going to ruin them because of my weakness, inabilities, and failures. I wished for perfection. I let fear set my boundaries. I wasted a lot of time and effort wishing I lived in another time period – one that wasn’t so unfriendly to what I viewed as my picture-perfect family, homeschool, and life in general.
Like everyone else who has ever lived on this earth, I wanted to matter. I wanted a life of significance, yet I had no idea what that looked like.
I didn’t understand that God had given me a position of authority that I alone could fill. I didn’t see the role of mother as one with a potential for immense influence. I felt like an invisible person performing menial tasks for people who took me for granted. My everyday focus of surviving another day was so narrow compared to God’s grand dreams for me.
Read this quote [from John C. Maxwell], carefully, taking time to think about the words…
“Leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less.”
We cannot lead people (even little people with our own last name) over whom we have little to no influence.
So if true leadership is influence, what is influence and how do we get it? The answer is simple: Influence is authentic relationship and it starts in a way that only we can control. It’s a heart issue; it’s not only our actions – it’s also our motives.
A good leader starts with themselves – they lead themselves first. If we as moms want to fulfill the calling of God’s leadership role on our lives, we need to start with ourselves. We need to work on our own attitudes and build our own character. We have to begin the lifelong journey of intentional growth ourselves. We cannot effectively build and grow our children’s character before we ourselves are growing in character. We cannot help them to master their wills, if we have not begun that task ourselves.
Kids learn what they see and know what is expected of them, but they don’t voluntarily follow someone who isn’t willingly walking the path in front of them. They have a God-given radar for authenticity – they know when we are doing something begrudgingly and when we have a servant heart. There is no chance of winning or shepherding our children’s hearts if we keep our own heart under lock and key, refusing to change and grow.
It has to start with us.
Remember, we all get what we lead. A leader is a mirror, in which all of those who follow them, are reflected. If we don’t like what we have, we ourselves need to grow so we can lead better.
Mothering is a leadership role that we need to actively grow into. Growth doesn’t happen by itself. It takes intentionality. It takes being humble and asking for help from the One who put us in this position.
God’s Word is alive and active. It is a light unto our feet and light to our path, but we have to learn how to turn that light on – we have to learn how to apply it to our own lives.
Question to think about: Do you have a plan for personal growth?
In part two of this blog series, I will be talking about the top excuses we give for not taking our personal growth seriously.