During our first annual International Women’s Day Panel, you submitted so many excellent questions to our panel that we weren’t able to answer them all. So, we asked professional women from our GIVEN network to respond to them through our Blog! In this post ( 3 of 3) Beth Leverich shares her thoughts on motivation in a period of waiting, prayer, and more!
The first article in the Q&A series, written by Meghan Cokeley, can be found here. The second article in the Q&A series, written by Rachel Bulman, can be found here.
This is the third article in the Q&A series.
How do you maintain motivation and positivity when you’re in that time of waiting, discerning your gifts?
For me, the key to maintaining motivation and positivity during seasons of waiting is to keep my eyes set on the Lord. If my eyes are focused on the gifts or the good things to come, I find myself quickly disappointed – because I’m putting my hope in the wrong place. I’m either placing my hope in myself – in my own gifts, strengths, or abilities – OR in the gifts that I’m waiting to receive – marriage, family, children, career. My hope can’t be in any thing or any person that isn’t Jesus.
When my hope is in the wrong place, I’m tempted to believe the lie that the Lord will leave me wanting or that my dreams and my hopes don’t matter to the Lord. This simply isn’t true. The Lord has good, exciting plans for your life and mine, and He is working, even now, to bring them to fruition in the most beautiful way. The truth is – the Lord has a wonderful, exciting life planned for you, and He’s so eager to share it with you.
If I place my hope (and excitement) in Christ’s glorious plan for my life, in a relationship with Him, and in the adventure that He’s inviting me to embrace – I’m not so easily discouraged.
How do you use your gifts to glorify the Lord?
For me, glorifying the Lord with my gifts only happens if I first glorify the Lord with my life. Which begs the question – what gives God the most glory? Perhaps this is controversial, but I would argue that I give God the most glory when I am fully myself – when I am unashamed and unapologetic about the woman that He made me to be and when I step into my true identity as His daughter, His friend, His sister, His love. I have found that God places a higher value on “being” with Him than “doing” for Him.
In a data-driven world fueled by “success” and numbers, this seems backwards. But God’s love doesn’t work the way the world works; God’s love isn’t based on metrics. Of course God cares about our goals, our gifts, and our ambitions, but He’s more concerned with our freedom, our joy, and our intimacy with Him. He is a partner and friend, a lover and confidant, a father and provider. He most desires that we are near to Him.
SO – I would argue that the best way to use your gifts to glorify God is to be with Him, to partner with Him in all things. If we glorify Him most when we step into the identity that He’s bestowed, then operating our gifts from that place – the place of intimacy, prayer, and relationship – is enough on its own, and His glory is no longer dependent on results or “success.”
How do you pray in the morning? What is your prayer routine like as a single woman?
Prayer time rocks as a single woman – it’s rarely interrupted, and we have so much TIME.
Naturally, I would not self-identify as a morning person, but the fruit of my morning routine is so rich that I find myself getting up earlier and earlier. Usually, I get up, do a quick at-home workout, and head to my prayer chair.
My prayer time varies day-by-day, but I begin by inviting the Trinity into my prayer time with a few simple phrases, “Come Holy Spirit. Come Abba Father. Come Lord Jesus” followed by a simple devotion, “Lord, conform my heart to Your will.”
From there, my prayer becomes more spontaneous. I often bring headphones with me into adoration so I can start with at least one worship song. Even if I’m not singing aloud, I like to put myself – body, mind, and spirit – in a position of praise and gratitude.
After worship, I unplug and take time in silence. If I’m having trouble “settling” into prayer, I turn on soaking worship music.* Then, I start by asking God, “What do You want to say to me?” And we go from there. As I said, my prayer time varies day-to-day. Sometimes, I just sit in His presence. Other times, I’m glued to scripture and use the daily readings as a launching point. But usually, I’m a real chatterbox so the Lord and I simply have a conversation, and I keep notes/transcriptions in my journal.
If you’re new to prayer, I’d recommend starting simple. Find a peaceful spot without a lot of distractions, grab a journal, turn on some soaking worship music, invite the Holy Spirit, and ask God what He wants to say to you. Give Him a few minutes to respond, and, as you begin to hear Him, jot down what He’s saying in your journal. I’d start by giving God 10-15 minutes – you’ll be surprised how much ground He can cover.
* Soaking worship music is a category of music. If you pull up Spotify or YouTube and type “Soaking Worship Music” a ton of options will pop up.
What is the most impactful thing you/your parish community has done to support young women in the growth of their faith in your community?
I see two main ways that our communities care for young women well:
- Diocesan Young Adult Ministry. In my area, many young adults bounce around to different churches or attend different mass times each weekend. Individual parishes don’t have that many active young adults, and it can be a little sad at a parish level. BUT – when we combine and function on a diocesan level, our young adult community is much larger. Now I know this example covers both men and women, but all young women need vibrant, faith-filled communities to encourage us, call us on, and allow space to have fun together. It’s just depressing when your young adult community only consists of only 3 people. Broadening the reach of young adult communities will result in larger groups, more organic friendships, and deeper conversion (not to mention holy vocations).
- Small groups. I’ve been in small groups for years, and they’re one of the best ways to grow in holiness. Whether your small group shares about life, follows a bible study, or reads a spiritual book, it matters that young women have consistent accountability and friendship from 4-5 other sisters in Christ. As women, I think we’re a little prone to loneliness, so community is especially important for us. Community and friendship are always a good investment, and there’s no better time to make big deposits than as a young woman. Those investments will certainly pay off later. I’m sure you’ve all heard some iteration of Jim Rohn quote, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If those five people are all striving towards the Lord with you, there’s no way you’re going to miss Him.
This is the third article in the Q&A series.