Six Phrases that Prepare Us for Leading

anxiety blog emily p. freeman lead phrase May 15, 2019

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?

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