Six Phrases that Prepare Us for Leading

As Unhurried Living has grown, so have my opportunities to speak with people. From the quiet space of a spiritual direction room, to a talk on retreat, to a workshop in a church building, I (Gem) have had multiple chances to talk about what I know.

Over the last few years I have ridden waves of anxiety about the situations mentioned above, as well as everything in between. It usually comes in “what if” form. What if I forget what to say? What if I don’t have an answer...or a question? What if I look or sound stupid? What if I make a mistake? The list goes on and on.

As I’ve been learning to quell and dispel my anxious thoughts, I’ve been collecting ideas and phrases that help me take courage before I speak. They help because they are simple and true. And simple truth trumps anxious “what ifs” any day.

As I look at them now, I realize that they can help in almost any situation that involves interaction with others. I hope they prove useful to you as well. These phrases can help us to rest deeper inside so that we can lead better wherever we go.

Insights from Romans 12:5–9

These verses came to me one day as I was preparing to lead a day retreat. They leapt out at me from Romans 12. I immediately resonated with the truth and knew I could live both of these phrases.

  • Why don’t we just all go ahead and be who we were made to be. (I can do that!)
  • Love from the center of who you are. (I can do that too!)

Insights from Emily P. Freeman

A while back I had an email interaction with Emily and I asked her how she prepared for speaking and what she told herself to quell any nerves. Here was her simple and helpful response:

  • I am a person and so are they. (Ridiculously and helpfully basic and grounding.)
  • I know how to say words. (I actually do!)

Insights from the Posture of Spiritual Direction

These two paradigms are central for spiritual directors. I have taken on this paradigm and it helps in every situation that involves people.

  • God is already at work in peoples’ lives. (The pressure is off.)
  • I come in presence. (I simply show up - body, mind and heart.)


  • How do you rely on God when your anxieties show up?
  • What do you say to yourself when you need a little extra encouragement?
  • Which of the six phrases above helps you the most? In which current situation might it help?
  • How do the six phrases help you as a whole?

Photo by Plush Design Studio on Unsplash


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