“Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be. Ask the former generations, and find out what their ancestors learned, for we were only born yesterday and know nothing.” Job 8:7-9
I go to a Christian University that has intertwined leadership into every aspect of our campus life, both spiritual and academic; their goal is to raise up leadership that will raise up more leadership. A goal they surely live up to.
I came into this school year, my freshman year, as a shy, timid, insecure, girl who didn’t understand what this kind leadership actually meant, and what it looked like in the life of a Believer. The Lord placed this verse from Job on my heart back at the beginning of the fall semester. He then began revealing to me the multitude of individuals He had placed above me in order for me to learn from their experience and wisdom. As I watched these individuals love God and love people, I learned, 1.) Love is key in building community. 2.) Service is anywhere where genuine love is. 3.) And as Christians, we are all entitled as leaders through Jesus Christ
I spent the entire year watching as the individuals around me poured out love to everyone. This is not a selective love. This is love like Jesus, loving the most exposed of sinners, the formerly rejected, and those who thought they were beyond being lovable, those like myself. Love was never the result of a friendship with these individuals, rather love was what initiated these relationships. This is what truly stood out to me. In the past, I always had to earn my way into people’s lives. But this kind of love taught me that you love regardless and you always love first. Through this kind of love, I built relationships and friendships with people just because we ran into each other in the halls and around campus, and they chose to remember my face and learn my name. Their love made me realize I was not overlooked, and that I mattered to them. It is such a joy to realize you matter to a stranger.
These individuals taught me that service is the overflow of a heart full of sincere love. These individuals live selflessly. They don’t just talk a nice talk, but their actions are bigger than even the great love they speak. They do it with the purest of humility. Through their service, they mirrored the image of servanthood Jesus left for us, and drove me straight toward the Bible to undercover more of that image.
But what left the most lasting impact on me was that through their leadership, they truly fulfilled the passion of our school by revealing to me the leadership potential in myself. They highlighted who God designed me to be, not the person I so feared I was. They did this by calling out attributes in me that I had overshadowed, overlooked, and underestimated. They called out the potential, the goodness, and the strength in these things. They believed in me when I did not believe in myself. Because of this, I see now, that regardless of the titles and positions I may or may not have, I was born to be a leader long before these positions, and will be long after they fade. I am entitled because of the Lord, not because of a physical Earthly title.
What fills my heart with such joy, is that the leaders I speak of, many of them did not even hold a leadership position above me. They were simply individuals who already understood what I had yet to learn, that through God’s call on our lives, we are all leaders. We have a calling. A calling to love, to serve, and to bring out the leaders in those around us who are hesitant to bring it out in themselves.
We recently had a ceremony to recognize the graduating leaders of our University. It filled my heart with such gratitude as each one of them got up to share a final word with their fellow classmates. It was sad to know they were leaving, because even in this short time span, each one of them has touched my life in inspiring ways, they encouraged my heart and contributed to my own passion and visions for this school. Not only that, but they taught me I can make these dreams realities through the God-given leadership inside of me.
I realized as they said their goodbyes, that those of us who are staying behind have some big shoes to fill. I am honored to have encountered such amazing individuals who touched my life in such powerful ways, and am privileged to have such high standards to fulfill.