I was born a leader. As the oldest of three children growing up in a family of strong-willed Christian women, I don’t see how it could have turned out any other way. It was not until my senior year of high school that I recognized that God had called me to leadership.
In the eighth grade, I was voted president of the student body and you think that would have clued me in to this reality. Sure, I ran a nice campaign and took on additional responsibilities at school, but I didn’t understand why the teachers, counselors, and administrators held me to a higher standard. I was never allowed to make the same mistakes that other kids made and when I did, my chastisement was quite painful and public. (I recall getting a spanking from my second grade teacher in front of the entire class for lying about writing this guy a love letter. What was I thinking?)
My peers voted and again I stood as Student Body President to represent them during my senior year of high school. That was a very special time in my life. I was given the opportunity to administer meetings, lead projects, build teams, and lobby the administrators and local community leaders. I could motivate people to work together and achieve the desired results. Most importantly, I cared about my classmates, my school, and my community. There is so much more to this story, but long before I knew it, God was training me for service.
His calling on my life led to my attending the United States Naval Academy (USNA). The mission of USNA is to graduate leaders, and I am a product of that institution. The majority of my learning and character building did not take place in the classroom; however, my life was changed in fellowship, Bible study, worship and prayer with other Christians that I met while in college. During that time, God provided me a Godly woman mentor (or my “Titus 2 Woman” as I often refer to her) and other wonderful examples of what it means to be a Christian leader. God used me in that capacity to mentor, counsel, befriend, and train other young ladies attending the male dominated institution.
The leadership journey continued as I humbly served six years as an officer in the United States Marine Corps. Those years were filled with tough lessons about faith, endurance, and love. I continue to walk the narrow road that God has put before me, and I love walking along side women and men who are passionate about the Gospel of Jesus.
So you see, I have had wonderful opportunities to learn and people have supported and encouraged me along the way. The question as to whether or not I can be a woman and a leader has never been asked of me directly. Most of the people that God has placed in my life assume that I can, and I am encouraged to focus on Jesus as my best example of a servant leader.
I am finding, however, that many women have not had the same opportunities, education, nurturing, and mentoring to support their leadership abilities. Therefore, I am providing an opportunity for you to share and connect here. Look for leadership and mentoring topics on Wednesdays.
I am excited to have you join me on this journey. At times it can be challenging, risky, and downright hard. But, I stand confident in this, “that he who began a good work in [me and you] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). Amen.
Let’s start here: What has been your most important leadership lesson to date? Any words of encouragement for women who lead are also welcomed.
© Natasha L. Robinson 2010