I thought, since it is Tuesday and I really like Tuesdays, I’d share some of the book with you. Here is a section from the Feet Chapter of From Head To Foot.
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Lead with Laced Up Tennies
I used to wear tennis shoes all the time. As a soccer player, and a tomboy, they were just the shoes I always picked. Tennis shoes are always a safe choice—they stay in place (unlike flip-flops which can flip here or flop there), they are comfortable (unlike heels), and they last for quite a while. Actually, now that I’m thinking it through, I still really love them.
And one of the truest ways to glorify God with your feet is to lead. Lead people to Christ. Lead people away from sin. Lead people in the way you live. At the University of Georgia, there is an area called the Tate Center, which in my time, was where everyone hung out. Throughout my college days, people would come and “preach” at the Tate Center. What that consisted of was huge signs saying YOU ARE SINNERS GOING TO HELL and men and women yelling at us with the loudest voice they could muster. It was, in a word, ridiculous. I remember watching them one day and thinking how ineffective they were being for the Gospel. And sadly, they were carrying the same Bible I was, living life in front of these students and calling it “Christianity”—just like I was doing on a day-to-day basis. It made me sick.
You know in your heart that behavior like that didn’t bring you to Christ. Though it does get conversations going and give Christians a lot of open doors in class and on campus, those are not the kind of leaders that draw people to a love relationship with Jesus.
Instead, we lead people to Christ by living before them a life that attempts to glorify God. Are you allowed to make mistakes? Of course! This was one of the most difficult stumbling blocks for me in high school and some of college. I believed that the best way for my friends to see Christ in me was for me to live “perfectly” in front of them. So that meant I didn’t express any hurt feelings, I always was in a good mood and smiley, I never told the truth about making mistakes, and I didn’t ask the types of questions that lack concrete answers. I thought that being a leader for Christ meant avoiding all things messy—no one needed to see me struggle or hurt or question. But instead, the Bible says that being a Christian means working out your salvation—
“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”
To “work it out” means to not have all the answers and to not be enslaved to perfection. Remember in the Hands Chapter when I talked about that mission trip I led? Well, one of the biggest problems with that whole trip for me was that I spent the majority of the time trying to be perfect. I could not separate in my mind the idea that being a good leader meant being perfect. And let me tell you, it is quite hard to hide your imperfections when you are sharing a room with seven other girls and sharing a house with twenty people and having only sleep time and shower time to yourself. Like a coke bottle that has been shaken up, when the pressure got to be too much, I just exploded. Instead of my imperfections trickling out like a leaky faucet, I was a rushing river of issues. Not pretty, people. Not pretty.
I say all this to remind you that being a leader doesn’t mean your sneakers have to stay brilliantly clean. Leading your friends to Christ, or just leading your Christian friends in life choices, is going to be messy. You are going to make mistakes and bad things are going to happen to good people and you are going to have to trust God anyways. Life is messy. Life is unfair. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be a leader to your friends, family, team, or church. Remember this verse—
1 Timothy 4:12
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”
Set an example. How? By being an orchestra of instruments of righteousness. Live in such a way that your life tells the world that you are working out your salvation.
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Tomorrow… encouragement for small group leaders!
From this week…
Monday- Meet Annie Downs
Tuesday- An interview with Annie.Leave a Comment
Great job, Annie!!! I love you, so proud of who you have become! 🙂
not hiding imperfection is something I really needed today. Thank you!!
Love this Annie! 1 Timothy 4:12 is my 11 year old’s favorite verse! I’m going to share this post with her!
Teri @ StumblingAroundInTheLight says
“To ‘work it out’ means to not have all the answers and to not be enslaved to perfection.”
WHY do we think that our salvation means ‘being good’ and ‘having it all together’??? Holiness is somehow measured by the cleanliness of my laundry room, the behavior of my kids, the color of my manicure???
Ahhh, for freedom, in His messy, cleansing Love!
Thanks for pointing us to Truth –
Dawn Camp says
Annie, I just love you and spending this time here reading more about you. I’m so thankful that my daughter was able to meet you and has your book.
Jodi Thurman says
I can’t wait to read this book. I emailed you about ordering it for my group of girls at church, ages 13-16. I need about 13 books!