Updated: Oct 22
Years ago, I purchased a large cabinet at a local flea market. The cabinet was a fun find and the price of $50 was also really attractive to me. I loaded the cabinet into my car and proudly took it home to begin reimagining it. I was planning to paint it a festive, bright color and put it on our outdoor deck to use for storage and as a serving station for parties. I was sharing my design plans with my husband, George, and he suggested I first do some research before I begin taking my new cabinet apart. I crawled inside the cavity of the cabinet with a flashlight so I could see if there were any distinct markings. To be honest, I really felt like I was wasting my time because after all, it just looked like an old piece of furniture someone discarded. Plus, I really wanted a colorful cabinet for my outdoor space and was ready to begin my new project.
While surveying the cabinet, I noticed some interesting markings and took pictures of these so I could conduct the research George suggested. As I Googled my way through articles and photos, I discovered that the cabinet was actually an antique that was crafted in the late 1800’s and used more popularly in the 1920’s for baking. The cabinet was worth way more than the $50 price tag from the flea market. Given the construction and specifications of the piece, I learned that the cabinet was valued between $2,000 - $4,500. Needless to say, I did not paint it nor did I place it outside in the elements. . Once I understood its worth, its purpose was more fully realized and its value appreciated.
It was the unique markings hidden within the cabinet that brought its value to the light. Had I not followed the wisdom of my husband and taken the time to look beyond the surface, we would have had a colorful addition to our outside space without ever realizing the value it held.
You are Marked with Unique Potential
This illustration really speaks to my passion for seeing people, especially women, understand their value within the heart of God. Scripture shares in 1 Samuel 16:7, when the Prophet Samuel was on his selection tour to anoint a new King for Israel, the Lord instructed him to "not look on the outward appearance, for God looks at the heart". Samuel wisely followed the Lord's instructions when he anointed David rather than his brothers. What Samuel didn't know was that David possessed the heart of a King even though at first glance, he only appeared to be a shepherd boy.
Likewise, our leadership potential is not always immediately obvious. Many times it is hidden from others and often times it can even be hidden from us. I believe that as the Lord begins to awaken His purpose inside us, we will have a desire to step out a little more courageously with the things we may never have experienced before. These first steps of realization are critical because through them we begin to see our purpose in a different light and realize that we have a leadership calling. This is the beginning of understanding that maybe, just maybe, we are meant for more.
As a leader, my passion is to encounter women who have a budding leadership purpose and fan into flame, through equipping and empowering, the embers that are beginning to smolder. I will see small glimpses of this when I meet women for the first time and ask, "What area of leadership are you called to influence?". Within their countenance, a glimmer of light appears as they tell me about a book they've envisioned writing, a business they are dreaming of, or how they have discovered a new strategy for leading their family. In these captured moments I begin asking more questions and by so doing, giving value to the very dreams God has placed within their hearts. Our leadership purpose holds tremendous value.
I also love meeting women, when asked the same question, have absolutely no idea what their purpose contains, and have a hard time believing that they have leadership potential. Actually, this group is quite more common than the first. You see, there's nothing wrong with not fully understanding your purpose. Discovering who you are versus what you do is one of the most exciting revelations to experience with the Lord. We are usually tempted to look at what we do as a reflection of who we are meant to become. While "what we do" is important, understanding the latter brings a deeper revelation to our life's purpose. As a believer, this truth can only be realized by knowing the Lord more fully. It is in this "knowing", we are able to see more clearly what He intended when He created us and why our influence matters.
The hurdle most of us face is that we are far more comfortable believing that we are a cabinet with a $50 price-tag and our purpose is utilitarian rather than the truth that we are a priceless antique that God truly treasures. However, when we give ourselves permission to see God's definition of us more deeply, this new revelation can change the very trajectory of our life.
There is a God-Given Beauty Released when Women Lead within their Strengths and their Femininity that is Necessary for His Kingdom.
The very essence of femininity has been designed by the Lord to bring His strength and tenderness in a unique manner. Women don’t have to act "like men" in order to lead well. Quite the contrary; they simply need to recognize that what the Lord has placed inside them is valuable and most of all, necessary. Leading out of this foundational truth brings about confidence and more clearly defines the precision of our intended influence.
What matters most is having a “yes” in discovering or discovering again the purpose for which we are created. Understanding our leadership purpose is not a sprint but rather a life-long marathon of discovery. As our relationship with the Lord and life experiences cultivate godly wisdom and discernment, it is not uncommon that we will, at times, sense a shift in how our influence is utilized. Like David, we see his leadership repositioned from responsibly overseeing sheep to becoming the newly anointed King of Israel. The equipping he received as a shepherd served him well as his leadership pivoted and he then shepherded the nation of Israel.
Lastly, let me personally challenge you to resist underestimating the rich potential God has placed within you! Remember, you are His design, marked by His hand to impact this generation as only you can. Your purpose cannot be delegated to someone you think is more capable. Give yourself permission to explore the treasure God intended when He created you with His perfect plan and His absolute delight. And, much like my treasured antique, you will never know your true value until you begin looking beyond the surface and discovering the uniqueness of His design from within. Yes, my friend, you are meant for more.
You are loved. You are seen. You are treasured.
Stephanie Henderson leads She Leads Women’s Leadership Academy and Loved, Seen Treasured Virtual Women's Community. She is an executive coach, author, speaker, pastor, and podcast host. Visit our site for more information at sheleadsministries.com