Category Archives: Leadership lessons

Photo Credit

photo credit

One of the things I have enjoyed about having teenagers is interacting with them via social media. It is fun to see them tagged in photos and the comments they make on friends timelines, etc. . . No, I am not a stalker, just a well-informed Mama (*smile*).

Plus, you learn a few things by stalking following your kids on social media. Several months ago, I noticed the initials PC: with someone’s name following it. I asked my daughter what it meant and she replied, “Duh, Mom, that means ‘photo credit’. It’s the person who took the picture.” Although, I’m not totally sure she said “Duh”, I AM SURE the “Duh” was implied.

Recently, I was looking at a picture in which my daughter was tagged. In the comments below the picture, the person who had taken the picture commented, “PC: @soandso”. It seemed apparent that this person was somewhat offended that credit wasn’t given for the great picture that was taken.

TBH, (to be honest – another thing I have learned from stalking following my kids on social media) I thought it was a little presumptuous to insist on taking photo credit for simply taking a snapshot of the photogenic group captured in the picture. Almost as instantly as I had that thought, I sensed the Holy Spirit asking me, “Kate, how many times do YOU insist on taking ‘photo credit’ for things I have done?”

  • Like the good ideas I give you, or
  • The work I do through you, or
  • The love that I put in your heart for others, or
  • The thoughts I give you to illustrate a Biblical concept, making it easier to understand, or
  • The list could go on and on . . . .

Ouch! That stung! Yet, I knew the Spirit was right. I struggle with wanting credit for simply being the instrument God has used. How about you? When I insist on “photo credit”, I take the focus off of where it should be, Jesus, and put it on myself – someone He used to simply capture a snapshot of how He has been working. I am wise to remember that I can no more take credit for the beautiful picture of how God is working, than that young person can take credit for the beautiful picture of my daughter and her friends. I just happen to be the one standing around who said, “Yes” to taking a picture.

Help me remember, Lord, that even though You use me, You are the One doing the work. May I be willing to refrain from taking credit for anything You do. You can do amazing things in and through those who don’t care who gets the credit. May I be just such a person! In Jesus’ Name and for His Sake, Amen

Your Friend in Ministry,

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Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

Recently (I won’t say exactly when on the grounds that it may incriminate me) I was going about my day, feeling pretty good about myself. It was a long day, but I had accomplished quite a bit and was finally on my way home. I had just one last stop, at our local university, to pick up my kids from a youth group event. As I pulled into the parking spot, I placed the car in park and all of a sudden had an itch on the back of my right calf. Sitting in the dark, I reached down to scratch my leg. As I did, I brought my hand back up and it brushed against a large lump behind my knee on the same leg. What on earth was that? As I examined it further, it felt more like a wad rather than a lump, but I still had no idea what it could be.

I knew I had to reach down my pant leg to figure out what was going on, but I was a little embarrassed because there were quite a few college students walking by. Thankfully, it was dark and I hoped the darkness would somewhat disguise me awkwardly reaching down my skinny jeans in the front seat of my car. When I finally managed to reach all the way down there, I grabbed a hold of something soft and silky and pulled it out. Imagine my surprise when I pulled out a pair of panties. No, not the ones I had put on that day, but another pair that I must have worn the last time I had worn the jeans. So, there I was sitting in the dark, with a pair of wadded up panties in my hand as I was trying to zip back up my pants and figure out what to do with the extra pair of panties. I quickly crumpled them up, put them in my purse. Left my purse in the car, locked it and proceeded to go in to pick up my kids . . . giggling the whole way.

I couldn’t help but think back on my day and wonder how many people I had interacted with – the moms at our moms ministry that morning, the people I work with at church, the ladies I met with for a women’s ministry meeting that night, etc…, etc… Did any of them notice the big wad bulging behind my knee? Please, Lord, tell me they didn’t! If they did, they sure didn’t say anything. As I continued to think about it, I got so tickled at myself, I couldn’t keep a straight face. I was trying to play it cool, but as we all know I’m not! (*smile*)

You see, there would have been a time in my life where an experience like that would have sent me over the edge. In years past, something silly like that would cause me to get down on myself and feel stupid and replay my whole day over and over again, imagining all kinds of things people were thinking and saying about me (when truth be told, I doubt anyone even noticed!).

You see, I have learned over the years, that humans tend exaggerate their own self-importance. You are not the sole topic of everyone else’s conversations. People aren’t rehearsing your flaws and foibles. (They’re too busy rehearsing their own to worry much about yours.) Don’t take yourself too seriously. If you do, you miss out on one of the biggest joys of life, laughing at yourself. If you can’t get tickled by your own silliness from time to time, you are taking yourself WAY too seriously.  Loosen up and laugh at yourself!

Take it from me, laughter is good medicine, especially when you are the cause of the giggles! Now I just need to remember to take the panties out of my purse before I really embarrass myself. . .

Your Friend in Ministry,

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Don’t Let One Negative Outweigh All The Positive

As a leader, one of your best practices is to watch and listen. Leaders get a feel for how things are going and how people are doing through simple observation. As you observe your environment, you notice what needs to be tweaked, who needs to be encouraged, when something is working or not, who has caught your vision, etc… Don’t worry, if you are not naturally observant, through intentionality, you can learn this skill.

One of the downfalls of being observant is that you can get caught up focusing on the negative rather than the positive.

I remember as a young leader, I let the few things that were going wrong become my focus. It consumed my thoughts, and it became mentally and emotionally exhausting. Finally, an older and wiser leader told me:

“Don’t let one negative outweigh all the positive.”

Yes, there will always be things that need to be changed or worked on. Yes, there will always be people in difficult situations, (or people that are just plain difficult *smile*) that is part of serving people. However, there will always be things that are going well and people who make serving a joy.

I don’t want the few negatives in ministry to carry greater weight than all the positives.          

This simple statement has become one of my leadership mantras. One of the ways we have implemented the practice of this statement is in our weekly staff meeting. After prayer, the first thing we do is go around the circle and share our positive/s from the previous week. These are the types of things people share:

  • I had someone volunteer to serve in Children’s Ministries
  • I received a note from a young man who thanked me for helping him through a tough time
  • I was able to connect with that new family who has been coming
  • I have seen a lot of growth in the lady I’m discipling

Starting our meeting with “positives” sets a good tone for the remainder of the meeting when we may have to discuss things that aren’t going so well.

We choose to be a staff who doesn’t turn a blind eye to problems, we simply don’t let the problems steal our joy of the good.  

What about you? Are you tempted to get bogged down by one or two negatives, either in your personal life of ministry, so that’s all you see?

You can re-train your brain to deal with the negative, but not let it consume you.

Don’t let one negative outweigh all the positive. What can you focus on today that is going well?

Your Friend in Ministry,

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