By Helen Gibson
Through her books, Bible studies, and talks, author and speaker Priscilla Shirer serves as a helpful teacher for people all over the world.
But right now, Shirer says she’s learning the most from someone else—three people, to be exact.
She says she’s learning from her children.
“Sometimes kids can be the best teachers in helping you to see the world in a different light and also helping you to see yourself more clearly,” Shirer says on a recent episode of the “5 Leadership Questions” podcast, hosted by Todd Adkins and Eric Geiger.
“It’s like staring in a mirror and recognizing there’s some stuff that needs to be straightened out.”
With the oldest of her three sons in high school, Shirer says her family is in a “transitional phase.” She describes it as one in which she sees her children thinking more clearly and asking compelling questions—questions that often require more than surface-level answers and lead to conversations that are important not only to her children’s lives but also to her own.
“As you’re thinking through that, it begins to change the trajectory of your life because you find yourself thinking about things you wouldn’t normally think about,” Shirer says.
And this is teaching her a lot about the importance of humility, she says.
“Humility is really the key for relationships, whether in a family structure or in a working relationship, on a job or in ministry, corporate or otherwise,” Shirer says. “Humility is really what lays the framework for effective relationships to be smooth. And so I’m learning that dynamic with my children.”
Knowing—and leaning into—your weaknesses
Along with humility comes a recognition of one’s own weaknesses—something Shirer says she tries to champion and celebrate in the people around her.
“Instead of letting someone’s weakness be what makes them feel discouraged, I actually want to bring out that thing and sort of highlight it and say, ‘OK, this is the platform on which God’s strength is going to be displayed in your life,’” Shirer says.
Most people don’t typically think of weakness in this way, she admits. Often, people allow weaknesses to develop into fear, which is something she’s seen in her own life.
“Fear highlights the weakness,” Shirer says. “It makes your weakness so big and so overwhelming, which is the enemy’s ploy, that it will paralyze you so that you never step into the very thing that is the opportunity for God to display His strength.”
If she had remained fearful about her own weaknesses, she says, it would have kept her from writing, speaking, and even acting in Christian films such as War Room and I Can Only Imagine.
Instead, she challenges people to take their weaknesses to God—and watch His power be made perfect through them.
“When I’ve gone to watch Him make His strength perfect, that’s the most stunning and staggering and effective thing you could ever experience in your whole life, and I want others to experience that as well,” Shirer says.
Advice on humility for a 20-year-old Priscilla Shirer
Toward the end of the podcast, Adkins asks Shirer what she would tell her 20-year-old self about preparing to lead if given the opportunity. Shirer responds with two pieces of advice, both of which relate to a stance of humility.
First, Shirer says she would tell a younger version of herself to learn how to submit well before getting married.
“I would tell her, as a single woman, not to become so independent and autonomous and strategic in the way you want your life to run that you also don’t put that much time and energy into learning how to yield,” Shirer says. “Meaning, put yourself in scenarios where you have to be submitted to some sort of spiritual authority in your life—because that’s not a characteristic that just jumps on you when you walk down the aisle and say, ‘I do.’ That’s something you need to practice.”
Shirer also says she would encourage a younger version of herself “to be a continual learner.”
“I would tell her to do less talking and more listening and learning because that would make me a better leader in the future,” Shirer says.
Two decades removed from her early 20s, Shirer says this is something she’s learned to do, but it has required humility.
“Just gleaning and listening and being open to the conversation—that right there teaches you more than you even think you need to know,” Shirer says. “But you’ve got to be humble enough to be receptive to it.”
- Priscilla Shirer’s ‘The Prince Warriors’ Tackles Spiritual Warfare
- Can We Talk? Hearing God Through Scripture
- Q&A With Priscilla Shirer, Author of ‘God Is Able’
HELEN GIBSON (@_HelenGibson_) is a freelance writer in Cadiz, Kentucky.