As soon as I stepped into the room, I heard a female voice from the stage. As I took a seat in the back of the room, I realized that this female was not introducing anyone to the MOVE stage … SHE was the nightly speaker.
I was 21 years old and it was the first time in my life I had seen a woman preach. I became captivated by the way she chose her words with wisdom and authority, bringing emotion where it flowed naturally and unashamedly. She communicated intensely, confidently and strategically. She was a flamethrower and a trailblazer.
I didn’t even know who she was, but I connected to her and had never wanted to be anything more in that moment than just like her.
If you look at my most-watched YouTube list, you’ll see it’s a recording of that sermon. I laugh to myself about that night now, as my connection with that speaker has evolved from sheepishly asking for her name to spending five out of seven days a week with her. Today she’s my mentor and one of my closest friends, and what seemed so revolutionary to me six summers ago has become a norm in my life.
I love when she teaches me how to budget, challenges me to think differently, calls me out when I need it and speaks encouragement into my relationship with Jesus. But my greatest lessons from her haven’t come in the form of direct conversations, but by watching how she lives.
Your greatest platform may not be in the words you speak or the captions you create, but the way you conduct your life day in and day out.
On that night in 2013, she was just speaking to high school students the same way she did weekly as the youth pastor at her church. She was using her talents to the best of her ability that day. She simply showed up, and God used that moment to empower and encourage me to a think about life through a new perspective.
That’s the kind of impact you can have when you show up. Even when you think no one is looking, someone is watching how you live and they are impacted by it. Before you let that intimidate you, grab hold of confidence knowing that God has uniquely gifted each one of us, and we have the opportunity to use our daily lives to make an impact on the people we do life with daily for the glory of God.
You have the ability to show up today.
You may not ever be handed a microphone. But you’ve been handed gifts, talents and abilities and you can use them – however in-progress or developed they are – for the Kingdom.
So, show up. Because you never know who may be watching.
This post is dedicated to my mentor and friend, Rachel Grindle (formerly Oblon.) After serving for many years as a youth pastor, Rachel moved across the country to serve as the first female Senior Director in CIY history. Currently, she is using her influence in her home as a brand-new mom to two miracle baby boys.
Rachel: You showed up one day and it changed the trajectory of my life. Thanks for the ways you continue to show up for me and everyone around you.
Audrey Wunderlich is a Communications Administrator at Christ In Youth. Audrey creates and strategizes all content for CIY’s social media, serves as Assistant Editor of the Kingdom Worker Connection magazine, and is the project manager for communication projects. Follow Audrey at @audreykwunder or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.