A fine line runs between being bossy and resilient. My late husband Jack always said: “If you want to get the job done, hire a woman.” With a grin on my face I always responded with: “Yes, and we could also run the world.”
But that’s part of the problem; our greatest strength of being responsible and capable can sabotage our health, rest and relationships. Being overscheduled and with little time on our hands our words can sound like machine guns. “No, put it over there; not there!” “You were supposed to bring the hand-outs as well!” “What, you forgot we were meeting?” That approach may get the job done but leaves a pool of blood and a wake of crushed relationships.
For years I chalked up Abigail as being bossy and emasculating her husband Nabal as told in their story of 1 Samuel 25: 4-41. Beautiful Abigail that ended up being David’s wife not because of her arrogance or brashness, but because of the following four marks of a resilient leader:
- v. 18 “Abigail lost no time.” When disaster hung over their household and prosperous Nabal would not feed the men who had protected his sheep, Abigail swung into action. In those days the custom demanded that travelers, be fed. A resilient woman senses upcoming doom and steps up to resolve it in whatever way she can.
- v. 23 “…with her face to the ground.” When Abigail delivered the food she fell at David’s feet and said: “My lord, let the blame be on me alone.” Wow, she took the blame for Nabal’s failure to act. But Abigail was part of a household that dropped the ball, and when one part wouldn’t take responsibility; she did. A resilient leader steps up to the plate and takes responsibility as times even when it isn’t her fault
- v. 28 “Please forgive your servant’s offense.” Not only did Abigail ask for forgiveness, she continued to speak words of encouragement. Her kind and persuasive words not only calmed David, but it blessed him.
v. 33 “May you be blessed for your good judgment.” David continued by saying: “If you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak.” By Abigail’s quick and wise movements, she not only saved hundreds of lives, she fed and blessed David and his 600 men.
Bossy women eventually push people away, but resilient women draw others into her circle. Abigail hadn’t attended Leadership seminars or workshops, but she used whatever abilities she had to skilfully negotiate with David. She did this with humility and kindness. That is a resilient woman.