As many of you have read here my daughter, Ellie, had a “life outside the shell” moment a few days ago when she conquered her fear of going down a big slide. As I have seen her step out and overcome her fear of the slide and then go on to blog about it I have seen and learned some things from a moms perspective that I would like to share.
I have to admit that when Ellie first turned down the idea of going down the slide my initial reaction was “don’t push her”. I remember the feeling of being talked onto roller coasters as a kid and it was always quite a traumatic experience for me. But what The Lord reminded me of with Ellie is that there is nothing wrong with equipping them with the power to try something that scares them then leave the ultimate decision up to them. After he reminded me of that I simply quoted 2 Timothy 1:7(which my kids all know by heart now because I say it so much). The next thing I did was I got up and I went and got in line for the slide before Ellie had even made up her mind to ride it. As she stood there starring at me from a far I waved her over to take a look from up top of the people going down. She was still really nervous but I noticed a shift in her spirit as she said the verse and watched from the top as other people did it.
This whole situation makes me wonder, how often in our lives could we empower someone around us to do something that scared them and we miss the opportunity? We may not want to be overbearing or simply don’t know how to equip them to take a step. So here are a few tips I’ve learned:
1. Give them a word to stand on. People can argue you with you all day long but they can’t argue with God’s word. They may not take a verse to heart the first time you share it but eventually it will produce fruit in their lives. Our only job is to plant the seed and let God water and grow it.
2. Go ahead of them. Something happens when those around us see us first be bold and walk up to that line and do it ourselves. If you are bold and courageous others will follow. Courage is contagious.
3. Let them see the view from the top. Just like Ellie was encouraged seeing that it wasn’t so bad after all, others will do do the same in our lives as we take them to the top and allow them to look at what is to come. Give them a glimpse of the fun they would be missing if they opted to sit by and watch.
4. Once they do it, make a big deal about it! I thought I would blog about Ellie’s adventure but when God put it on my heart to let her do it I knew he was teaching her something too. He wanted me to make a big deal about it for her because this will be a day she will never forget….the day she was bold and then got to blog about it! The really cool thing is that her blog post has gotten more views and comments than anything I have written and I am thrilled about it! There is nothing more powerful than a leader encouraging someone to step out of their shell than applauding them as they rise above the one who taught them!
I have to admit that watching Ellie blog was a little painful because she typed so slow! I could have typed in 5 minutes what took her an hour to type but it wouldn’t have had near the impact that it did coming from her. Another leader tip here: LET THEM LEAD! Everyone has a part to play and if we do it for them we will never know what God wanted to do in and through them.
The best part of this story? After Ellie has seen how fun it was to live life outside of her shell she has decided to start her own blog called Ellie Joy’s Amazing Life. It really does take just stepping out once, seeing how much fun life can be and then you are hooked!
I leave you with this mission:
Think about your family, friends, co-workers and anyone else God has strategically placed in your life. What gifts do you see in them? What area can you encourage them to step out in? You never know the ripple effect that one person stepping out in faith may have on our world. Dare to live life outside of your shell!