The past few weeks have been filled with a sea of uncertainty and dread - navigating life around a long-term health condition, work, family, a dear friend who is going through cancer treatment etc… However, in the midst of what I would call several ‘nayhee!’ moments (the Punjabi version of ‘noooo!’), I have heard a constant reassuring reminder from heaven: I am about to do something new…
These encouraging and comforting words caught my attention and filled my imagination – forcing me to change gear, disposition and to revisit my own scripts. While the temptation to dwell in the past, recite the long list of ‘what if’s, perhaps and maybes,’ is ever present… along with my preoccupation to over-think, over-stay, indeed to over-dwell – I sense a call to resist my tendency to stay stuck in a particular groove and instead to re-envision God’s opportunities and God’s possibilities against the backdrop of the ‘confusing, discouraging, divisive’ scripts vying for my attention – from every sphere - local and national, personal and political.
I’m reminded that while the future may not look too bright on the home front or indeed internationally – depends where you stand of course – I am in exactly the right place, in the right location and poised to fully engage and even to ‘help’ shape God’s ‘new thing’!
So what does the ‘new thing’ look like for me? So far, it’s required me to speak up, stand my ground and to allow a new level of resistance and resolve to emerge. It’s required me to take my place and to add my voice in different places and spaces, thus helping to create an environment for breakthrough, success and even an opportunity for all to thrive.
As some of you know, this year marks our launch of ‘She Rises’, which is turning out to be part declaration, part programme and part movement. No doubt, there’s a need for all leaders to reclaim, redeem and restore their vision and purpose, so that we and those we lead can break through to the next level and embrace their next opportunity – whatever that might be. However, I believe that in this season God wants to do something ‘new’ for and through women.
I used to think that a good measure of ‘success’ for my endeavours in this arena would be to support as many women as possible in their leadership journeys, to help them (and the men who also want to help them) to break through the glass ceiling and indeed the stained glass ceiling. Then I was faced with the very simple fact, that I don’t have the luxury to entertain such thinking… I realised that my perspective and my vision was too limited. Therefore the ‘new thing’ for me demands I have the courage to broaden my imagination and aspiration to include freedom from marginalisation for all women and girls.
As you can see, I am not a passive recipient of this ‘new thing’, none of us are. Instead, we are invited to take notice of what God is doing, even if the signs are barely visible, and even if the environment is less than favourable. Hanging on to some ideal or wishful thought from the past is not an option but embracing and promoting God’s ‘new thing’, whatever that may mean for you and me – is.
18 “But forget all that - it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. 19 For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43: 18-19
Rev Cham Kaur-Mann has nearly 20 years leadership experience, in the church, charity and voluntary sectors and is a mentor and coach to leaders. She is the first (and currently only) Asian woman minister within the Baptist Union of Great Britain.
Cham is Co-Director of Next Leadership and also works with the Cinnamon Network as the Trainers’ Team Manager, delivering leadership training across the UK.
She is a motivational speaker with a unique and compelling ability to ‘story a story’. Cham mentors, coaches and supports leaders from a variety of sectors. She is author of ‘Images of Jesus’ and ‘Are there traditional “women’s ministries”?’
Cham is a Certified Stakeholder Centered Coach.