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The Emotionally Honest Preacher

How strong leadership and vulnerability work together.

The Emotionally Honest Preacher
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"Listening to our emotions ushers us into reality. And reality is where we meet God."
(Dan Allender and Tremper Longman, The Cry of the Soul. Word, 1994, p. 24.)

I don't fit the typical emotional profile of "strong leader." Tears come easily to me—of joy, sadness, frustration. And every effort to stuff them only intensifies them. So how am I supposed to preach as my true self and still be taken seriously?

When I first stepped into the preaching role, I noticed how many of my fears grew from gender stereotypes. I was afraid to be a cliché—the "weepy woman." Would my joy seem childish? My lament manipulative? My first sermons were all buttoned up. I wrote out complete manuscripts, practiced them carefully with references to emotion but not much show of it. I felt very competent and controlled. But to my listeners, I was stiff and distant. Soon the disconnect forced me to confront a choice before me: be taken seriously as a leader or be ...

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