This One's For the Girls
Now that I've got Martina McBride singing in my head, let me try to crank out a thought. I don't think I've ever written a post specifically for you girls who are reading, but today I am.
A few years ago, my boss, friend, mentor, and pastor Mark Batterson gave me some important leadership advice: you've got to develop thick skin and keep a soft heart. While I think this is great advice for any leader-- man or woman-- I think it's especially critical that we girls get this. Because we tend to get it backwards so often.
I'm so grateful I'm gifted in and called to leadership. I experience the presence and pleasure of Christ when I am leading, teaching, and mobilizing teams towards a larger purpose. But sometimes leadership is lonely. And sometimes leaders become the punching bag for someone else's insecurities and issues. How we respond in those circumstances reveals our character and sets a course for our eventual success or failure. Developing tough skin while keeping a soft heart will give us the right posture and perspective.
For many of us, we default the opposite way. We have soft skin and develop hard hearts. We allow criticism-- whether constructive and helpful or damaging and hurtful-- to pierce our skin and leave wounds. Then we harden our hearts as a defense mechanism. That leaves us wounded on the outside and hard on the inside, rendering us unable to minister, lead, or relate to others effectively.
Developing thick skin means we let the stupid stuff bounce off-- not allowing an arrow to pierce our skin unless it first pierces through the truth of Scripture. And keeping a soft heart means remaining transparent, vulnerable, teachable, and pliable in the hands of God and in our relationships with others.
It's easier said than done. But we've gotta do it.