Lifestreams is a leadership collective packed with CEO’s, business owners, moms, mission’s leaders and pastors…people making phenomenal ripples for the Kingdom. So, when Lauren Hasson asked me to be a leader of this amazing group of women, I was beyond intimidated. I was baffled.
Who was I to serve these giants?
For me, female relationships have always been a touchy source of longing and lacking. After my radical salvation, I released toxic friendships but sadly…I never replaced them and this left a gaping hole in my social-butterfly heart.
I also allowed my secret struggle with dyslexia to become a confining paradigm. For me, living small was much safer than risking rejection or ridicule. Acclimating to isolation, I embraced solitude as a new way of survival. Being a writer made this easier.
As a Christian, I knew I was precious to God but let’s face it…God’s standards are pretty low–He loves everybody!
But…people? They’re painful, fickle…exhausting. The mere idea of campaigning for approval was too much…especially since I wasn’t so crazy about myself.
The truth was, although I helped lead at Lifestreams, I was missing out on some amazing connections…all because I believed I wasn’t worthy of such great company.
Then…Lauren announced she was hosting a Leadership Retreat to Bethel in Redding California. Waves of anxiety engulfed me.
How will I escape?
I wasn’t planning on running…but I wanted an ‘out’ if I needed one!
As a leader committed to giving one hundred percent, I felt it was my duty to go forward with this wonderful (but scary!) opportunity. Ignoring the lump rising in my throat, I signed up praying this decision wouldn’t come back to bite me.
As expected, the Redding magic was tangible; the teaching was genius, the messages were heart-felt, and the music was straight from heaven’s throne. It was beyond amazing. But to me, time with our leaders was the greatest gift.
Before embarking on this journey, Amy Stoher held a special place in my heart, but now…after those late-night chats, we share an even deeper connection. I was delighted to learn that despite our political differences, brilliant Ella and I subscribe to the same brand of humor. And up until now, I was clueless Lifestreams hosted such humble heroes! Liza Frampton and Jean Silverwood shared their gut-wrenching testimonies which grew my confidence God can be trusted with the impossible.
Then there was the practical wisdom of Lisa Hamilton. She championed us not to wait until we have it all figured out—but to share who we are today in order to become who God designed us to be tomorrow. It’s our humility, obedience and imperfection which makes us relatable, enabling us to be filled with His power for His mighty works.
Lisa’s words encouraged me to share my scandalous past. And when I did, Sue Stein’s soft eyes didn’t flinch. Not one bit. Beautiful Genta squeezed my hand, assuring me I was in the right place…with the right kind of friends.
There was no need to search for an escape hatch…and for the first time in a long time, I didn’t want to run. After Danielle and April shared their insecurities about leading, I realized I definitely wasn’t as alone as I felt.
Sara Hagman graciously arranged for Bethel’s school of prophets to minister to our crew. After receiving an hour-long prophetic word, I felt valuable…seen…not discarded, less-than or forgotten.
I gained an understanding that I don’t have to be perfect to serve amazing people…I just have to believe God brought me to Lifestreams because I have amazing things to offer. In fact, He loves me so much that in serving Him within this incredible community, I’m able to receive the very things I need…like healthy friendships rooted in trust, vulnerability and support.
The powerful prophetic words from Bethel’s students revealed my insecurity came from believing I was valued from what I could give, do or be…
It was Lauren’s generous investment of time, money and heart that broke off the lie I wasn’t worthy. She was willing to give, go deep and get messy—because that’s what real friends do. I was able to remove the flimsy band-aids that were no longer serving me because my tender wounds were now covered in security and love.
We’re all in the process of accepting our shortcomings while growing into our potential. I hope you allow yourself to be seen—really seen—scars and all. For only by doing this will you discover the healing power of being loved for the perfectly imperfect person you are.
I can attest the women of Lifestreams aren’t here to judge but to help you uncover the incredible treasure God has tucked within. Be brave. Go deep. Running and hiding isn’t your destiny…because the world needs your gifts.