Deborah: leading well in the many hats we wear

We all wear hats. Many, many hats. I know. I see you. I do too.

As ministry wives, we somehow get the “leader” hat placed on our pretty little heads just because of our husband’s positions on a church staff. We may have had no training, no instruction, and may feel incompetent to lead anyone.

Or maybe we wear the “she’ll know what to do” hat that brings many hurting and broken people to our doorstep. You may feel the weight of everyone’s problems and own too much responsibility to change them.

Or maybe the “never say no” hat always sits atop your head, leaving you busy, busy, busy. You may fill up your calendar like a Tetris board believing that the more you do, the more you are pleasing the Lord.

What hats do you wear? How do you live amongst the busyness and responsibility with a peaceful heart and level mind?

Deborah (Judges 4-5) was a multi-hat wearer too. She led a hectic life and held much responsibility, yet she never backed down from speaking or obeying the truth. She emulates the heart of grace with the grit of truth.

At first glance, I was intimidated by her. Her story doesn’t reveal any mistakes, weaknesses, or sins. I can relate to mistakes, weaknesses, and sin. But as I entered her story, I realized she is a lot like me. She is one of us. Her life is very similar to the ministry life: she invested in her community, and people went to her with their problems. She showed up every day under the palm tree to settle disputes and judge people’s matters; She lived in a season of political chaos, social tension, and oppression. She was busy. She had a lot of responsibility.

Yet, she loved God and believed confidently in his calling for her life. She followed him bravely. She believed him at his word and led with humility. She had a heart for her people and a deep love for the Lord.

We can learn a lot about the humble leadership of Deborah. Here are a few truth points as we lead well in the many hats we wear sitting perched on our heads:

  • Celebrate when someone else gets the credit while you were the one leading.
  • Give space for others to participate in their God-calling in the storyline.
  • Call out the courage in others to step up.
  • Value “us” more than “me.”
  • Don’t shy away from the hard truths that need to be shared with your community but deliver them with grace and humility.
  • Success as a leader is based on obedience to God’s calling and not the approval rate of those you lead.
  • Spend time listening, talking, and obeying God. Believe him at his word and act on that.
  • Show up every day. Rest in knowing that God will empower you and give you the words to say as you step into each moment. You may not know what this day will hold. But God does and will prepare and equip you for it each step of the way.

I love Deborah. She is one of those women that, because of her strength and humility, people gravitated towards and loved her. I bet you would have. If she were in your community today, she would be in the front row, cheering YOU on!

Let’s lead like Deborah.