My young friend, Allyson, has been challenging me to get a tattoo for years now. This appeal of hers is a lot like when she tries to convince me to get a purple streak in my hair. While she is always tempting – I haven’t jumped into the waters of trying to look quite like her Millennial friends just yet. With her pleading, though, I began to think about what my tattoo would say – these permanent words that I would see every day embedded in my flesh. What reminder do I need that is so important that I would sit still long enough – in pain long enough – that I would inscribe those words onto my body.
I began a life of following Jesus at nine years old. He tattooed his ownership onto my heart at that very young age – gave me a very long, loose tether – and I have been attached to him ever since. Rolling these ideas around in my head made me think about that tattoo on my heart. “She’s mine” is my favorite idea of what he says to me daily.
Over the years I have allowed other tattoos to be engraved onto my soul – words like “Always try harder” “You are not enough” have crippled me at times. Those were the years that I was struggling with how to reconcile the gifts that God had given me with the restrictions on women in the church.
Then it happened! God opened the floodgates for me. He gave me all sorts of platforms to serve him out of my strengths – That is how we love, right? In serving? I didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing or how to lead people to serve him. But I tried – I prayed and searched the scriptures for lessons, read loads of books and sought out mentors of my own. So much leadership “stuff”! Books, podcasts, articles – classes, conferences – even Master’s degrees in leadership! After all the trying and performing I look to Jesus. Here is his lesson on leadership: The mother of two of Jesus’ disciples came to Jesus asking for leadership positions for her sons – (that’s a huge eye-roll and enough for another blog!) This was Jesus response:
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Matthew 20:25-28
NOT SO WITH YOU. Words I would sit still in pain to get tattooed on my skin. Jesus turned all leadership principles of his day upside down when he said: Leaders aren’t Lords. Leaders are servants.” I need that reminder every day – NOT SO WITH YOU.