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Are you a woman who looks in the mirror and is daring to be more? Do you need a gentle push or shove in some cases to take a risk and step out to the assignment God has purposed for your life? Are you longing for encouragement, inspiration and affirmation to help you get started?  In this new book Unlocked, these questions and others will be answered as you read the accounts of women in scripture and true to life stories from women around the globe.You will get a glimpse of how they overcame their own obstacles and fears resulting in a turnaround of displaying a godly confidence to step out.

In my experience, I have witnessed scores of women stay stuck in their life issues and it makes me sad to think what is lost when a woman can’t see past her circumstances. I know first-hand what it looks like to be stuck in pain and disappointment, I’ve been there–own the video and the T-shirt! I wrote this book because I am motivated to help women move beyond their life situation and to realize that they are a catalyst for leading and influencing their world. We have a misconception of what leadership is and in this book I am hoping it will tear down some of the myths women believe that keep them from stepping up and taking action. This is what drives me passionately to teach and write, to empower others and help them see that God delights in moving us past our issues and embracing our brokenness–that is what I believe gives us credibility in serving others!

When I began writing this book, I surveyed my network of leaders from Canada and the United States. I asked them to list the reasons why women are reluctant to step up. From that research, I found several common reasons  why women have trouble embracing their potential. These became the myths in the book that we need to dispel in order to realize our potential and as the Nike commercial says, “JUST DO IT!”

This book is for anyone who has a desire to believe Ephesians 3:20, that God wants to do “above and beyond all that we could ask or imagine” and just needs a jumpstart. It is for you who might lead a small group, work at a school, are the Mom in the neighborhood, a woman  who holds a leadership staff role in the church, you may lead in a Christian organization or anything in between. It also is helpful to use as a resource to lead a team of developing leaders, teach a seminar, or one-on-one mentoring of an emerging leader.

Questions & Answers

What inspired you to write this book? Would you say it was more your own experiences in learning to follow God and step into leadership, or what you observed other women struggling with?

It makes me sad to think what is lost when a woman can’t see past her circumstances and embrace who God made her to be. I know first hand what it feels like to be “stuck.” And as the saying goes, I bought the T-shirt and own the video! I wrote this book because I am motivated to help women move beyond their life situation or the myths they might believe to realize that they are catalysts for leading and influencing their world.

You write that a lack of experience is the leading impediment to women jumping into leadership. Why do you think this one myth has such a stronghold on women?

In our North American culture, there are extreme expectations placed on us as women which I believe leads to feeling the need to attain a level of perfection before we see ourselves as qualified to be leaders. We equate effective leadership as a “position or role” rather than a person of influence.  We limit ourselves based on our experience or lack of when God says just the opposite, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” I Corinthians 12:9 NLT.

Can you name a few female spiritual leaders who have been positive, powerful influences on you? Why were they so important to you?

A life long mentor and the dean of women at the college I attended recently graduated to heaven. Shirley had a significant influence in my life. She taught me the importance of hiding God’s Word in my heart and trusting those seeds of truth to navigate through the storms and decisions of life. Beth Moore has influenced my life in a profound way both in her teaching and her writing. I’m not sure she would refer to herself as a leader but we both know she has influenced thousands and in my view, is a leader! She has led by example in that brokenness is the highest qualification for being called by God to lead effectively. I identify with the insecurities she has faced and have come to understand that my strength as a leader comes from the depth of security of my identity in Christ. These two women and others have been the touch points along the journey that have given me courage to embrace God’s calling.

The five myths you mention that keep women from being influencers are fairly pervasive in our culture. For women who are raising and loving daughters, nieces, granddaughters, and goddaughters, how can we help to prevent some of these myths from implanting in our girls?

I think helping our girls understand the core of their identity is the crucial key to unlocking the door to their influence. It has to start with us; we have to lead the way. Too often we do the negative self-talk over our appearance, our abilities and our life situations and they are listening to every word that comes out of our mouths! We talk ourselves out of God’s design for us to flourish in life no matter our circumstances. We as adult women, mothers, aunts, grandmothers and god mothers have to speak truth of who these girl are and be confident in our own identity rooted in Christ. We have to help them realize that their identity isn’t shaped by our culture or the media, but by the God who designed them, “fearfully and wonderfully.” (Psalm 139).

You’ve just published a book! What’s next for Cynthia Cavanaugh over the next year?

More writing, speaking and teaching of which I am passionate about and the message of Unlocked is the launching place to encourage others to be influencers and world changers!  I hope in the next year to expand and develop some online tools and resources for women to move head with their dreams and be equipped to lead well. The other dream I have is to prepare to take some teams of women overseas to help encourage women in leadership and help equip by serving them to expand their influence in their own country.

Free Stuff

Under the Broom Tree: 10-Day Devotional and Journal for Women Struggling with Depression

This is a personal journey of Cynthia’s struggle with depression in a 10-day devotional with a glimpse of how she coped with depression from entries of journal. There is also a place to record your own thoughts and prayers with words of encouragement and scripture to give you hope and comfort.

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