It happened just as God said.  God made earth-creatures in a vast variety of species: wild animals, domesticated animals of all sizes, and small creeping creatures, each able to reproduce its own kind. God saw that His new creation was beautiful and good. And God paused.

God: Now let Us conceive a new creation—humanity—made in Our image, fashioned according to Our likeness. And let Us grant them authority over all the earth—the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, the domesticated animals and the small creeping creatures on the earth.

So God did just that. He created humanity in His image, created them male and female.  Then God blessed them and gave them this directive: “Be fruitful and multiply. Populate the earth. I make you trustees of My estate, so care for My creation and rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that roams across the earth.”

God (to humanity): Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant that grows on the earth and every fruit-bearing tree. They will be your food and nourishment. As for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and every small creeping creature—everything that breathes the breath of life—I have given them every green plant for food.

And it happened just as God said. Then God surveyed everything He had made, savoring its beauty and appreciating its goodness. Evening gave way to morning. That was day six.

(Genesis 1:25-31 VOICE)

For the next year, we’re going to talk about your God-designed influence and impact on this world. Now, I’m going to focus on leadership from a woman’s perspective—sharing stories from Scripture and examples of great impact that’s happening all over the globe. But these lessons aren’t just for women. You see, women have a lot to teach all of us about what it means to lead and serve with grace.

Before I share the stories, I want to begin here, at the beginning. Because it’s here where God first sets the course for leadership, for both women and men. It’s in our identity itself—how He shaped us, formed us, and purposed us.

Unfortunately, we often lose that identity in the chaos of comparison: we view the lives of others, and discount our own life in the process.

We decide we are lacking what it takes to be truly effective in changing the world around us. And that comparison becomes fuel for condemnation.

It’s time for you to reclaim that God-designed identity. So, let’s talk about God’s design of YOU.

You see, before Genesis 2, there was you.

In Genesis 1, God created. A million moments are captured in 31 verses. God spoke. Light. Night. Heavens. Earth. Oceans. Sun, moon, stars. Wildlife. Green.

And then, He formed us. In the midst of it all, with the creation He had spoken as witness, He formed us.

There is such beauty in the way humanity is purposefully connected to heaven and earth and each other. We are not separate, not distant. We are painted into a masterpiece of thoughtful design. God spoke creation. He spoke color and shape, place and purpose, movement and light. He then grew quiet, and scooped up that color and shape, place and purpose, movement and light into His own hands. Masterfully shaping it, He formed us in His image and likeness, creating us carefully to complement the rest of His design. Next, He did something more intimate than speaking. He breathed His very breath into our human lungs, filling us with divine life. A life embossed with imagination, creativity, emotion, connection, eternity. And He didn’t stop there. With the same speech that filled oceans and formed mountains, He said, “This is very good.” He saw man and woman as complete, as equal. He saw them as collaborative, as capable, as complementary, as community, as leaders.

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Now, in Genesis 2, a bit more detail is offered about the “very good” moment, about a deep sleep and God’s skilled hands shaping flesh and bone into new flesh and bone. But before Genesis 2, there is Genesis 1. There is God forming, breathing, deliberate in His design of both man and woman to reflect His full image and likeness. They are designed with the same substance, the same breath, the same connection with creation. He looks at both of His masterpieces of design and calls them “very good.” He blesses them. He then gives them blessing and a charge.

To lead well.

And that same Genesis 1 charge is yours today. God blesses you. And He says, “lead well.”

That is your identity. There’s no need for comparison, no room for condemnation.

What do you want to know about the biblical qualities of leadership? And what does the charge to “lead well” like in your life? Let us know in the comments!