Even though it was 12 years ago, my first She Speaks was revolutionary for me, and I still retain memories of some of the important talks and lessons I learned there.
In one session, three different speakers from the speaker team spoke on three seasons of ministry: Go, No, and Slow.
At this point on my journey, I’ve experienced all three. Go is definitely my favorite. No is hard, and I often chafe in a wait. However, at least there’s a clear boundary. It’s Slow that I think is the hardest.
Just last week I got an email from a woman filled with longing. God had opened a few doors, but she wanted so much more. She wanted me to tell her how to create more, but I didn’t have much of an answer. Sure, I can tell you about word-of-mouth, contacting MOPS groups, and how to do a mailing. But there are times that no matter what you do, there’s no more. It’s just a slow season.
For about the last year and a half, I’ve been filling a new volunteer position for Proverbs 31 Ministries as the International Initiatives Coordinator. “What?” you might be saying to yourself. “I didn’t know P31 has international initiatives!”
Well, that’s because we don’t… YET. You probably know that Lysa and her family did a wonderful project in Tanzania for the release of The Best Yes. Now we’re trying to figure out as a ministry where God is taking us next. It’s my dream come true, but it’s slow.
Next Step is slow too. We’re all gearing up for the holidays, not thinking about starting a big, fresh project. I get it, and I know coaching will pick back up in 2016. For right now, though, it’s slow.
Even though I’m thinking every day about getting out the message of Breaking Up with Perfect and still working hard to that end, it’s still relatively slow. Anything compared to a book launch is slow!!
All that to say, I understand slow too. Slow is hard, but I’ve come to believe that slow is important. Think about all our heroes in the Bible who had significant waits and slow times.
I’ve been pondering those purposes to raise my spirits. Here are some wise words from Lysa TerKeurst mixed with some of my own.
Things to Do In Seasons of Slow:
- Pray. In our conversation about international initiatives, Lysa reminded me of her visual of a fly-wheel. The best real-world fly-wheel that I can think of is the merry-go-round on playgrounds when I was a little girl. It’s hard to get a merry-go-round started. Sometimes it’s a long time between the first muscle-tearing push and when your pigtails blow in the air. The beginning of the ride is slow and takes lots of effort. The effort in ministry should be prayer. Lysa reminded me not to be discouraged by how slowly things are developing but rather to see the slowness as a gift–an opportunity to fervently seek God and His best. I came away from that conversation so encouraged, and I hope you are too!
- Look for the lessons. If we believe that God embeds every season with purpose, then we should watch for His purposes in our seasons of slow. For me, He has used these seasons to refine my motives. I’ve usually wanted more, not for the Kingdom, but for my own name’s sake. I know. Ewww. When things are slow–speaking events are few and far between, my sparse writing is heavily edited, coaching clients contact me in a dribble–I’m dependent on God and able to see His hand move. What are your lessons in this slow season?
- Prepare. When our schedules are busier, there’s less time for refining the ministry pieces we already have in place. In this slow season, I’m scheduling some time to work with my tech team to update and upgrade my websites. I’m listening to sermons and reading books to fuel myself spiritually and spark new ideas. Importantly, I’m spending relaxed times with family and friends that get scarce when the calendar is full. We want to prepare for busy by keeping love tanks full!
What do you do in seasons of slow?
Note: When I went to get the link for She Speaks included in the first sentence of the post, I realized that there’s something new this year. There’s a holding page where you can sign up to be alerted to conference updates. So great!
If you’re thinking about attending next summer, I highly recommend going to sign up. I’m sure you’ll only get a few emails, and it’s important to know when registration opens. Last summer we had as many women on the waiting list as women who attended. If you don’t want to be one of those sad women on the waiting list next year, go sign up for the updates so you can register as soon as it opens. You’re welcome.