Leading Wherever You Are

Are you a leader? Even if you don't have that label next to your name, Teresa Swanstrom Anderson shows us today that we all lead in a sphere of influence.


Leading Wherever You Are By Teresa Swanstrom Anderson

It may sound strange, but I happened into leadership accidentally. Sure, I was in student-leadership through middle school, high school, and college. You know why I started in these positions? Because I didn't feel like I fit in! I decided by being part of student government, I always knew what was going on in school and was an active part of it during a time when I really didn't feel part of anything. In my twenties, I had a job where people worked under me and sought me out for decisions and encouragement. And now I'm a parent of these little humans who need me to lead their hearts well and teach so many things that sometimes it makes my head spin. You may not consider yourself a leader. Instead, you look around and point out various people around you: on social media, in your church or workplace, or in the news. You're not alone. We often decide, they're a leader because they have a platform. They're a leader because they have a title. Or they're a leaderbecause they have it all together and know just what to say to make things happen. We so often define leaders as those charismatic people up front, the ones with all the authority . . . and it's hard to see ourselves in that role. Maybe you lead people in school, in church, or in the workplace. Perhaps you're like me and have children whose lives need to be guided in a variety of ways. Leadership is influence, pure and simple - not a role, not a title, but rather those places and ways where we are given the privilege of having a voice. That means in your family, in your friendships, in your work, in your church - wherever you have a voice, wherever you have the opportunity to influence perspective and conversations, you're leading. Whatever stage you're in and in whatever capacity you lead, you are leading - and I bet you want to do it in a way that influences those around you. As I look back, I've seen how God has orchestrated my leadership growth. Little by little, he's given me more responsibility as I've grown in passion and understanding. I haven't always led well - in fact, I still don't always lead well. But I've found that leaning on his guidance and the wisdom of leaders who have gone before me is a crucial part of the growth process. Although there are countless books out there on leadership (and my shelves are filled with them!), my favorite place to learn about how to lead (and how not to lead) is in the Bible. And the life of one Old Testament man in particular is brimming over with leadership lessons. After Moses died, Joshua took over leading the nation of Israel. Can you imagine being the new guy after years of leadership under such a beloved and wise man? And yet, under Joshua's leadership, millions of Jews finally left forty years of wandering in the wilderness and settled down in the richness of a land that God had promised them. As Joshua followed God's leadership, Joshua's leadership led the Israelites into a season of victory and flourishing. Wherever we're leading and whatever our leadership looks like, we can learn from this friend of God and how he led - what he did well and how he could have done better. We grow as leaders when we learn from both mistakes and victories. In order to be this kind of leader though, we need to become not simply readers of the Word ... but studiers of it. Only then can we understand what God has for us in his Word and the world.

Teresa Swanstrom Anderson is a blogger, author, speaker, and Bible study teacher from Denver, Colorado. Teresa grew up in Seattle, but spent her middle school years in Guatemala and has a deep love for people in developing countries. Now living in Denver with her husband and six children, she spends her days wiping off sticky counters,  Instagramming (@teresa.swanstrom.anderson) and blogging. Connect at GetWisdomBibleStudies.com. She is the author of Beautifully Interrupted and the Get Wisdom Bible Studies - three Bible study guides, including Leading Wherever You Are, based on Joshua.

© Elisa Morgan 2020

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