By Margarita Garcia
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Has anyone come up to you asking about your “word” for the year? You’re probably thinking, “What do you mean ‘your word’? I have goals and dreams, but a ‘word’?” Yes. Many people have what they call their “word” for the year.
In the past few months I have thought about what my “word” could be, but that is a tough decision for me. I like them all! Whenever I think of one particular word that speaks to one area of my life and could represent who I am, I can come up with ten others that speak to other areas. Not to mention that this word is not meant to stick with you for a very long time, but it is supposed to change as you grow and life changes for you. However, the purpose of having a word is to help you stay focused on who you are and where you are heading as of now.
So here is my word, Resilient. Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from difficulties; in other words, to be tough. As I meditate on my leadership journey, I think of the joy I feel when I walk alongside other women in their journey to discover God’s wonderful plan for them. However, I cannot ignore the challenges and difficulties that become part of my daily walk. I celebrate victories, yes, but many do not come until I overcome the trials, big or small, the fears, the challenging emotions, and all the limitations and obstacles that teach me and shape me into the person that God created me to be.
Sometimes, as Christian leaders, we need more answers, we need to wait a little longer, to talk a little more, or to trust a little deeper. Sometimes we ought to be a little tougher and recover a little faster. We often do those things, not easily but naturally, because that is who God created us to be. Does this mean that we are not allowed to slow down, be humans and grieve like everyone else? Are we supposed to toughen up and keep going non-stop? Absolutely not! We grieve, some days more than others. We get tired. We regret not always having answers. And we get emotional, too. Yet, as Christians we approach all our struggles differently. The Bible says that we face our struggles not like the world but like those who have put their trust in the Lord (1 Thess. 4:13).
To be resilient means to find the hope embedded in Christ. This hope comes from trusting that God is in control. It comes from living in God’s love and the assurance that God loved us first. It comes from forgiving and forgetting not because we are better than the rest but because we are forgiven by God and God forgets our transgressions. God never stops working His will in us, and it is in this process of finding hope that God shows us His grace. Peter was reminded, “The God of all grace…will restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast” (1 Peter 5:10). Paul was reminded of the sufficiency of God’s grace, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).
If knowing about God’s grace does not give us hope, I don’t know what will. Scripture reminds me that it’s not about my victories, my weaknesses, my struggles, nor my grief. It is about God’s grace made perfect in me and the hope that I find in knowing that God will make me resilient for the journey ahead. Resilient leaders rely on the word of God for what is ahead. We find power in the Word and we claim God’s promises because we know them. We dive deep into it, study it, meditate on it and live it because that is where the answers are found. We talk about it because it speaks life, and when challenges approach we hang on to it for direction and wisdom.
However, resilience does not happen on its own; it does not come out of nowhere or by chance. You strive for it. God provides people and organizations who are willing to invest and grow with you, but you must get on board. For me it is Christian Latina Leadership Institute. CLLI empowers me to live my word. It promotes growth in me spiritually, intellectually and culturally. As a Latina Leader I am constantly challenged in my journey to seek God more, learn more, and serve more. This is who I am. The journey as a Latina Leader is not to seek the type of leadership that the world portrays demanding power and control at the expense of others. The journey is meant to make a difference in others, and to make you strive for the things that honor God.
We have power only because it comes from the Holy Spirit who gives us courage to speak life (Acts 1:8), from God who teaches us to love well (John 3:16), and from the Son who leads us to give fearlessly just as He gave His life for us (1 Timothy 2:6). About control, oh well, those of us who rely on the Lord know that God leads every step of the way and does God’s perfect will. Isaiah 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand.”
What you see in my leadership as a Latina woman is the impact of those who invest in my life and who entrust me to continue the legacy before us. It is not power and control. It is resilience. It is the power of God’s grace active in my life to recover quickly and be tough. It is a genuine desire to continue to be obedient to the calling that God has placed in me, and an eagerness to make a difference in the lives of those I walk alongside.
What is your “word”?
Margarita Garcia serves as the Bilingual Facilitator/Parent Liaison for the Kaufman Independent School District. She also serves as the CLLI East Texas Coordinator and will graduate from CLLI in May 2020.