It's Not What You Say

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. How many times have we heard our parents or other adults tell us this? I for one am very aware of this saying because I used to hear it all the time. 

The older I get the more I see just how true it is. 

It’s hard to admit, but I had the rudest attitude growing up- like no one could tell me anything. 🤦🏾‍♀️ I had the entire combination: Neck snapping, eye rolling, hands- clap-p-ing on e-v-e-r-y syllable. (Not the hands clapping). 

But then I grew up. I began to get exposure with the professional world – people outside my circle. I realized I had to change. 

Fast forward a few years later – Then for some reason people thought I’d be fit to be a leader. 

Well ok. (I guess) Looking back, I have plenty advice to those going into ministry and/or leadership. The first one being, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. 

I used to feel that my elders were always judging me: what I put on, how I wore my hair, how I speak, basically everything I did, someone had something to say about it. Granted – everyone has an opinion – some dare to voice it – regardless of why. It may be coming from a good place and it just didn’t resonate well, it may be just to boss someone around. 

Here’s advice I’d give to my peers in ministry and leadership: 

Speak from a place of love ❤️. If you are coming at me, coming for me, (if I feel attacked) there’s no way I – or anyone else for that matter- am going to receive what you have to say. If you are attacking me, I am easily going to resort to defense mode. Besides you’ll catch more bees with honey than with vinegar. Find a way to deliver your message with love. 

Change doesn’t happen over night. Be it dropping a significant amount of weight (or aiming to put some on) or trying to lead people in a different direction, it takes time to get the communication right within a team let alone people you are looking to lead in a specified direction. Give it time, some people will change course, others will follow, and your communication and community will grow. 

Learn to use the right words. My boyfriend is a stickler for this. He doesn’t like being misquoted, and will find ways to over communicate with analogies, examples, definitions – he needs to know that you understand what he is saying and that you don’t infer the wrong meaning. It makes sense. Too often we use words out of context or create “new” words. Let’s learn to use words accordingly. Say what you mean, mean what you say. 

Some people are waiting for you to fail. I’m not sure why some people thrive on the weak, or on people’s failures. Steer clear of those people. They are not for you, they will not help you. They seek to sabotage you in every way possible. Be sure your clique, team, tribe – what ever name you want to give them, are on your side cheering you to win.

Learn to agree to disagree. I just finished serving two years as president for our singles ministry. I am now the Vice President – being in a leadership role with that ministry taught me so much about learning to agree to disagree. In the beginning I wanted everyone to be on the same page, agree with what I believed – I found myself leaving meetings angry or upset. I couldn’t understand things like is it ok to abort a child, have sex “before marriage “, should you live together before you get married – you know all the things that are controversial. In the end what I learned is perspective. People are exposed to different things which therefore their reasonings and beliefs are different. Agree to disagree and do it peacefully and with respect. 

Lastly, Remember who you are doing the work for. It’s not for yourself, it’s not for other people. Ministry will always be for Gods glory. 

I know I’ve come a very long way from my teenage years. I also know I still have a lot of work to do. I don’t let that stop me from the vision God has put in my heart. It’ll take time getting there, and I know it will be well worth it. I’m learning to just be intentional with everything I do. It won’t always be perfect, and that’s ok.  

Are you in leadership? Have you held a position of leadership? What were some of the challenges you faced? 

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