I work with a lot of phenomenal women who are stepping out boldly in ways that they never thought were possible.
The reason they’re finding so much joy and freedom in everyday life is because they’ve stood toe to toe with the lies that have kept them trapped. The lies that have kept them small, and fearful, and hidden, and they’re learning to step fully into who God says they are. So today I want to share with you five lies that every woman faces. Five lies that each of us has to stand up against and unchain ourselves from in order to really thrive:
Lie #1: You’re not enough.
The first lie that keeps you from thriving is that you’re not enough. The world will tell you that you have to get out there and hustle, get more education, buy more things, have a bigger family, etc. in order to be enough, in order to be happy. This is the whole thing that the marketing industry plays on, is our fear of not being enough, and we fall for it regularly. Even in our churches we fall for it. If we just sign up for the next conference, the next bible study, if we just serve on the next mission trip, all of those things will make us enough, but that’s actually a lie, because enough is an identity. It’s not a checklist or an exam that we can take and as long as we’re getting a 90% then we must be enough.
Enough-ness is an identity, and because it’s an identity, it can only be obtained at the feet of Jesus. It’s something that’s in you already and needs to be recognized and cultivated. So when God says “Hey go do this thing” or “Come to me and rest.” He’s already saying that you’re enough.
And the ways that we’re not enough? He’s already covering those. That’s the whole purpose of grace. So the #1 lie is that you’re not enough, but if you stop running, if you can find a place to get really still and quiet and sit with God, you’ll understand that being enough isn’t actually the goal. Being enough isn’t actually something that you have to overcome. Because with the very breath of God within you, you’re already enough.
Lie #2: You’re too much.
The second lie that I see women get tangled up in the most is the opposite of not being enough. It’s being too much, and I have to say this is a real personal struggle that I have faced. How many of you have ever heard “You’re too much. Too loud. Too bossy. Too strong-willed. Too (fill in the blank)”?
For a long time, I wrestled with this.
I walked tight rope, trying to balance my feelings of not being enough with my feelings of being too much.
It’s that same lie as the first one, just in a slightly different package, and what it’s saying (what both lies are saying) is that your identity is incorrect. That there’s something wrong with who you’re trying to be, and it needs to be changed.
I’d love to refrain this lie for the whole world, so that when someone says you’re too much, instead of absorbing that as a statement about our identity, we add this little thing on the end that says “You’re too much, because I don’t know who I am.” So maybe we are too much for where people are at in their lives. But guess what? That’s their baggage. That’s their fear, their uncertainty. That’s not something that we need to change. When you start to fully step into your identity as a leader and as a child of God, there are going to be some people who aren’t ready for that, and that’s really really hard, especially when the people who aren’t ready are the ones you love the most.
But God says you are enough AND you’re not too much. It’s like Mary Poppins, we are “practically perfect in every way.”
((((Except we don’t actually have to be perfect.))))
Lie #3: I can’t trust this because it’s going to end badly.
The third lie that I see women struggle with a lot is I can’t trust this because it’s going to end badly. I don’t want to lead because I’m going to hurt people, or because I am going to fall flat on my face. We go into it with this feeling of inadequacy and we say “I can’t step into this. I can’t do it. I’m not enough. I’m too much.”
What it really comes down to is whether or not you trust God’s ability to discern what is right and what is good and whether or not you put the responsibility on his shoulders to create it, or if you’re just trying to put everything on your own shoulders.
I agree 100% that most of these things God is calling us to, if we try to do them on our own they are going to end badly. They’re going to fall short. If we just try to muscle them into place it is going to be a really messy situation and maybe we’ll have a little bit of success, but just trying to strong arm everything is not going to help us stay connected to God. It doesn’t allow us to serve from the feet of Jesus every day, and so the results are never going to be the amazing things that God has given you the vision for.
However, if we can learn to trust that God not only sees this thing in you but He sees what you lack in other people and He’s calling you together, it’s creating a community of people who are able to meet the needs and fulfill the vision, putting that responsibility square on His shoulders, releasing us from the pressure of trying to be perfect, of trying to make all the things happen and it allows us to just focus on the part that He’s called us to.
I remember when I first started my company there were so many things to do and it got really hard because I was the only one doing it. As soon as I started bringing in team members, sharing the load, and even sharing some of the big heavy decisions with my husband who was still working full-time, it really started to lighten the burden. Then I started to recognize that if I could hand off some of the tasks that weren’t my responsibility I could focus on the parts that God was saying “This is what I created you for.”
Once I was able to release the idea of having to be all things to all people, I got to sit back and create some amazing posts, write a book, and a bunch of other awe-inspiring things, but it only came through getting down off of my personal cross, not trying to be the martyr that was responsible for everything, and letting God take care of His part.
Lie #4: The cost is too great.
The fourth lie that I see women get tangled up in all the time, especially in leadership, is that the cost is too great. I have to tell you guys, this one really is one that is cultivated within us from a very young age. You see this in the secular world, in Hollywood, magazines, and interviews where women are expected to be a certain way, and if we’re not then we’re somehow misled. We’re somehow wandering.
One of the things that a lot of the powerful actresses in Hollywood are pushing back on right now is that when they get interviewed one of the number one questions they get is “How do they balance life and family and work?” whereas the male actors and producers never get asked that question. It’s just an example of this idea that the cost is too high, that if you’re going to have a job outside of the home, if you’re going to be a leader if you’re going to follow God into some really scary territory it’s going to cost you: It’s going to cost you your family, it’s going to cost all these other things that you were actually created to do.
But that’s a lie. God is never going to call you into something for the purpose of destroying your family. He’s never going to give you something that’s going to take precedence over your marriage or your relationship with God, and He’s not intentionally calling us into things that are going to potentially blow up our faith.
The opposite is actually true. If God is calling you to something, it’s with the goal of deepening your relationship with Him, expanding your influence, and strengthening your identity. So actually the cost of not doing it is too high. If we start looking at how to do things with God instead of only doing things for Him, it changes the cost. It changes the equation in a way that gives us peace and creates space for family and for worship and community and all of those things that are so important to God that they were in the original design.
Lie #5: It’s all or nothing.
The 5th lie that I see women getting tangled up in is this all or nothing idea that if I don’t know how to do this, if I’m not fully confident in this then I’m only going to make it worse. We tend to think that if we don’t do it perfectly, if we’re not ready, if we move into a situation without being fully confident in our own abilities that we’re going to make it worse.
Here’s why that’s a lie: There are so many things about leadership that you can’t learn until you’re leading and making mistakes. Not doing things well is actually what makes great leaders.
It creates resilience and develops us as individuals and it shows us time and time again that our perfectionism is not the goal. Our posture, sitting at the feet of Jesus every day and allowing Him to pour into us and direct our steps, THAT’s the goal. Remember, your number one calling is to sit at the feet of Jesus every day and everything else that we do comes from that. It’s where we serve from. So chasing the perfection, chasing the confidence to know fully what needs to be done every single day becomes an idol, and it keeps us locked down, and we kind of use this excuse I guess you could call it of I don’t want to make things worse.
But here’s the thing: By not stepping into the arena and bringing your voice, discernment, and presence to the table we ARE making it worse. When we stay small, there’s always going to be inner conflict, there’s always going to be a discontent with who we are. Once God shows you the bigger vision that He has for you, and He shows you this path for restoration, not going down it is always going to create tension within you, and it’s just going to get in the way. So recognize that feeling like you’re going to make it worse is a lie. It’s a myth. Are you going to go into a situation and do everything perfectly? No of course not. Just ask my husband, my kids, or my team. I definitely don’t do things perfectly and there are times where I’ve made messes and we have to go in and do extra work to clean them up, but out of those messes, out of going to God and saying “Yeah I don’t think I did this right.” comes really powerful stuff. Some of that is what I share with you, some of that is solely for pouring into my family, some of that is for strengthening my marriage.
But if you trust that God is in this, then even if you go in imperfectly, and make things messier, or you take the wrong turn and have to double back, if you trust that God is in it, then it’s always going to work, and it’s always going to create some healing and some growth and some restoration.
I think the best advice I can give you here, is to face these lies head on, and every time you find yourself bumping up against one of them, stop and ask God what He says about it.
Shut the world off for a minute, get really quiet, get really still, and slow your breathing. Get out in the sunshine, or the moonlight, just get out of whatever spot you’re in physically and sit with God for a few minutes and say “OK. Here’s what I’m feeling. What’s really going on here? What’s the truth? What is it that you’re trying to draw out of me that I don’t even know I have?” And then give Him the opportunity to work on you as He works through you.
What other lies would you say keep women from leading and stepping into their God-given calling? Let me know in the comments! And if you’re looking for a community filled with fearless, faith-led women, don’t forget to join our group Christian Women Who Lead!
Angela J Herrington is founder of Broken Beautiful BOLD online women’s ministry and Life and Leadership Coach for Christian Women.
In addition to operating a successful boutique social media agency, she teaches women how to recognize, cultivate, and unleash their God given leadership ability. She holds a BA from Indiana Wesleyan and a Masters in Leadership from Wesley Seminary. Her graduate research project focused on leadership development and opportunities for Gen X women in the US church.
Angela is a Lark’s Song Certified Life Coach who reaches hundreds of thousands of women in 40+ countries each month on Facebook, IG, Twitter, Pinterest and two blogs. She is Director of Communications for Wesleyan Holiness Women Clergy, a women led organization dedicated to engaging, empowering, and equipping women to lead in the church.
She is the host of the soon to be launched God Sized Calling Podcast and has also been published in Hope for Women and HOPE is Now magazines.
Angela is a also wife, mom to 6, and proud resident of Marion, Indiana with her family when they’re not traveling the US in their RV.