The Summit Empowers Me to Overcome Fear & Pursue My Dream
I was born in England to Caribbean parents. They’re amazing people who wouldn’t let me take the easy path. I didn’t have a lot of options available to me as a child as far as being able to express myself artistically. But the Lord definitely planted a love for the arts in my heart.
I have had to continually dig my way out of this warped self-perception through the help of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word.
I lost my right eye when I was an infant. It’s always been a burden and a challenge for me emotionally. When I was little, I was very withdrawn. I walked with my head down and I wouldn’t even swing my arms. Although I have experienced great healing such that I am much more outgoing than I was as a child, my prosthetic eye is still a perpetual pre-occupation. Consequently, it has been difficult to think of myself as beautiful or as somebody someone would want to look at, much less think of as beautiful. I have had to continually dig my way out of this warped self-perception through the help of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word.
My family moved to the United States shortly before I turned 16. I struggled to know my calling, but eventually decided to attend law school. Having practiced law in Virginia for several years, I moved to South Florida in 2008 to work for the Department of Homeland Security. I now serve in the Department of Justice, where my work is often intense and fast-paced. When I’m not working, I’m grateful to have safe places where I can express myself artistically as a liturgical dancer, singer (backup!), and writer. I have always been told I should write or act (or be a standup comic). It tickles me when friends in ministries like the Int’l House of Prayer are shocked to learn I’m an attorney, because they only know me as an artsy, expressive worshiper and they can’t imagine me in a profession that requires me to be so cerebral.
The Dreams I Carry
Every day, I carry around creative dreams that I have hesitated to pursue due to fear—dreams of being an impactful, value-adding, paradigm-challenging and problem-solving author; dreams of becoming an empowering coach, interviewer, and voice over artist.
I’m becoming more open to pursuing the dreams God has put on my heart, despite my fear.
I love encouraging people; if I had a superpower, that would be it. I love coming alongside people and praying for them and pressing hope into them in areas where life might have sucked them dry. I love to pour courage and strength into people until they catch a gust of hope to help them along.
I’ve wondered if God has called me to be a judge—I’m great at counseling young people who may or may not be Christians yet, but who need guidance. I can see myself being the kind of judge who has compassion whether that be in the juvenile justice system or in another setting where I can empower people.
I’m becoming more open to pursuing the dreams God has put on my heart, despite my fear.
My passion to ‘die on empty’ and free from regret pushes me forward. But I do have a lot of fear—fear of my family’s disapproval, fear of messing up, fear of being an idiot, or fear of being thought an idiot. I have always scoffed when my mother has told me I’m a perfectionist. But the longer I live, the more I see what she means. It takes me a long time to finish some things because I want to get them right. And the newer and the more intimidating the task, the longer it takes me to complete. It’s exhausting.
My passion to ‘die on empty’ and free from regret pushes me forward.
But something in me has been shifting for some years now.
In 2016, I was invited to take part in a triathlon. My young colleagues told me, “Michele, you’re in great shape. You can do this—it will be easy for you!” And I said, “Please! I’m much older than you, and I don’t want to drown!”
But as I walked away from that conversation, the Spirit of the Lord whispered to me, “Do you remember when you wanted to do a triathlon?” I had completely forgotten! The memory was distant, rusty, and almost entirely unfamiliar, as if it had been someone else’s thought altogether. But when He whispered that to me, I gasped, because it came rushing back, with an accompanying sense that I was neglecting my dreams and allowing them to die.
That day, I asked the Lord to remind me of the dreams, visions, and ideas that I have stuffed or forbidden myself to pursue because of fear, busy-ness, or the need to be “practical.” He’s been revealing them to me ever since.
The Global Leadership Summit Spurs Me Forward
I now recognize that fear has counseled me in pretty much every area of my life, especially in the area of launching out into my creativity. This is where the Summit has helped me find the courage to launch out!
The Summit resonates so deeply with me. It is very inspiring, encouraging, and edifying—it is a reminder that who I am has value—and that my dreams have value. We hear that we have value in Church, but we don’t often hear that the dreams God planted within us (which are often God’s dreams for us) are valuable too.
…the Summit is a reminder that who I am has value—and that my dreams have value.
One of the biggest surprises I’ve had on my leadership journey is that not only are my dreams important to the Lord, they are also a mandate from Him.
In the Church, we are often taught (or we get the impression) that we must die to the things we enjoy; we have to die to our dreams. I agree that we have to come to the Lord and lay down our lives and die to ourselves. We are to surrender our lives completely, pursuing Him, running after His heart, and making sure we are connected to other believers who help us stay fasted, sharpened, tender, and accountable. For those who live in that place before Him, shunning lustful indulgences and wary of comfort, I think He says, “I gave you this dream! In fact, you are my dream! I’m so excited for you to live out this dream…what are you waiting for? You’ve been ‘waiting on’ Me, but I’m here waiting on you! Get up off your blessed assurance and let’s go!”
It’s not that He wants us to run amuck, but I think for me, the Summit sparks me into that awareness that my dreams are valuable to Him, and that I am to be attentive, rejecting passivity as I advance in surrender and humble boldness. I might not be in a place where I’m completely happy or completely fulfilled. But that doesn’t mean I’m supposed to wait on the Lord to swoop in and rescue me like prince charming and shift my circumstances like a fairy godmother—He invested His creativity and resources in me for today. So, now it’s time for me to step up and press in!
Why you should attend the Summit
I don’t know any other opportunity for believers or non-believers to get a concentrated dose of empowerment over a two-day period. We have conferences all over the United States, but this is not a conference to get happy. This is an event where you can come from any avenue of life, whether you’re a single mom, stay-at-home dad, CEO, janitor, marketplace believer or a ministry leader. You can come with your emptiness and get filled with encouragement and empowerment. You will come away with the awareness that first and foremost you are “a leader,” and secondly, there are ideas and visions that are only revealed to you and that will only be birthed by you. It’s a sobering and beautiful thing to wake up to this truth, by God’s grace, before we die.
I know we hear this said a lot, but I truly believe you won’t leave the Summit the same way you came.
I don’t know any other place where you can get invaluable marketplace insights that are nourishing and biblical (God knows all good sense comes from Him, we’re the ones who don’t get it). For that reason, I would encourage all leaders to attend and bring their teams. There’s no other place to get this for believers and non-believers alike—the content is so rich, so deep, and so strong…and it’s so clear the whole event has been bathed in prayer.
I know we hear this said a lot, but I truly believe you won’t leave the Summit the same way you came. There’s just no way. You will make a decision, have your attitude adjusted, get some great idea or revelation on something you have been grappling with, or you will just simply be inspired to step up your game because you have been undervaluing yourself and your impact. Without a doubt, something in you will necessarily shift and as a result, so will the world around you.
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