What’s Your Leadership Made Of—Steel or Straw?

“Do you limp?”

The inquiry caught me off guard. Popular author Gary Smalley and his team were peppering me with questions, determining if I was the best candidate to collaborate on his next project.

“Do you limp?” his mentoree, Ted Cunningham, pressed again, determined to discover if I’d experienced adversity or hardship.

“You have no idea,” I answered.

That conversation, which took place more than six years ago, still echoes in my mind. Gary Smalley, Ted Cunningham, and I have worked on more than a half-dozen projects together, but I’ve never forgotten the issue they raised that day.

Do you limp? remains a timeless question among those in leadership. It’s the gentle way of asking:

Can we survive in a foxhole together?

Are you going to buckle under pressure?  

Have you been tested?

Are you made of steel or straw? Continue Reading...

One Simple Act that Can Change Your Day, Your Year, Your Life

My stomach plunged when I looked in the empty bag. My laptop gone.

How had I allowed this to happen? Again? Continue Reading...

What To Do When God Says No

Margaret —  April 20, 2015 — 11 Comments

What To Do When God Says No

The Gospel of Mark writer is a master of word economy. Popping verbs. Sizzling accounts. Rampant pacing. In his opening chapter, he omits details of Jesus baptism and temptation, and splices two events side by side in a handful of startling sentences.

With cool water droplets streaming down Jesus’ face, Mark 1:11-12 records: Continue Reading...

Hey Small Group Leader, It's Time For You To Fight Back With Joy

What begins as a gift soon becomes a grind.

Endless demands. Pressing deadlines. Unexpected interruptions.

The pressure to perform and produce can leave us feeling weary in the marrow of our being. The joy designed to grow into sweet plumpness soon shrivels. Smiles become forced. Sparkling eyes grow dim.

Those closest to us see the shift long before we recognize it in ourselves. Perhaps this is one reason Paul asks,

Where is that joyful and grateful spirit you felt then?” (Galatians 4:15, NLT)

All leaders—no matter the role or responsibility—are susceptible to losing their sense of happy certainty in God. This becomes all the more acute when your workplace or those you loved or you are are faced with sudden loss, pain, suffering, or death.

In Fight Back With Joy book and Bible study, I share what began as a journey of joy and soon became a terrifying expedition when I was diagnosed with cancer. Tortured alive through brutal experiments, joy felt so out of reach. But somewhere along the way, I discovered that more than whimsy, joy is a weapon we use to fight life’s battles.

Whatever battlefield you find yourself on in life—as a person whose joy-o-meter has bumped down a notch or burned out completely or if you’re in the fight of your life—here are four ways you can begin to fight back with joy as a leader and encourage others to do the same. Continue Reading...

If Gathering

Jennie Allen convinced me that I had to attend my first ever IF: Gathering in February.

“You just have to be there,” she persisted. “I just know it.”

One of Jennie’s many giftings is that she’s a persuasive force to be reckoned with. When Jennie knows something deep in her bones, you know it, too. You can’t help it.

“I’ll think. I’ll pray. I’ll consider,” I promised.

Other invitations and opportunities loomed large. Yet in the quiet of my gut, I sensed the nudge that IF was a way of God asking me to trust, to make a significant sacrifice, to lunge forward in faith.

I joined 1200 women in a beautiful auditorium all asking God, “What IF?” The answer came in the most unexpected way. Continue Reading...