Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead is a book written by Sheryl Sandberg, the COO (Chief Operating Officer) of Facebook. It is both highly reviewed and strongly denounced. In a simplistic summary, Sandberg postulates that the world needs more women in power and more power in women.
Women, she writes, must stop trying to be liked and fearing failure. Today there are Lean In Circles and professionals who travel to motivate businesses to provide opportunities for women to grow.
I get it…I think. But it leaves me with a lot of questions. How does a Christian lean in to the “Power of God?” Is the leaning into thePower of God something very different from the power that Sandberg is advocating? How does a man lean in?
The Power of God, understood as The Holy Spirit, is the third person of the most Holy Trinity. The Holy Spirit is a practical force in everyday life. The Spirit is a mindfulness, it helps us live what Blessed John Henry Newman taught: each of us has a unique, God-inspired and unrepeatable mission in life, which will be left undone for all eternity if we don’t “suit up” in the power of the Holy Spirit and live for God now.
This means that, once we discern our field of mission as ordained, religious, or lay people, we have to discern (Lean In) every day, to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit, to fulfill God’s will for us. The daily and ordinary drama is ongoing, because the action of the Holy Spirit is always with us.
Called and gifted we are to be more than generic Christians! Our gifts or charisms are given to us so that others may experience the presence of God. Perhaps I am a gifted painter, have a beautiful singing voice, or a marvelous cook. I may be a compassionate pastor, a person in the health field who cares deeply about another…the examples are many. These gifts are the power of God. When we actively use these for others it is the opposite of the treadmill of mediocrity. When others are moved toward God because of my gifts, I am conveying the Spirit of God.
I may be in a place or situation where no one has ever been. I may be asked to do something I have never done. I may be asked to assume responsibilities I never thought possible. I may be faced with incredible suffering or joy!
The Holy Spirit does not reside in a galaxy far away! The Holy Spirit does not come to us once (Baptism) but comes over and over. The POWER of the Holy Spirit is witnessed when the person or group loves and serves the other. We have this incredible power to lean into…simply by asking for it.
This is the POWER that the world needs so badly.
Sr. Brenda Hermann MSBT