Book Club: Leaning In Into the Unknown

My husband just dropped me off at the airport. I haven’t seen my daughter all day. My two sons put themselves to bed. At least, I think they did.

I’m leaning in, and I have no idea what I am doing. I wish I had a clearer picture, but I don’t.

Sojourners and its founder Jim Wallis wanted to invest in a group of emerging leaders – not emerging as in the emerging church but emerging as in developing, in process, growing. I am honored to be a part of this group, and from the initial invitation I have been challenged to reconsider my presence, privilege, and power. I have asked myself what a suburban wife of one, mother of three is doing in a room with national leaders in social justice, advocacy, and public policy. I am not a pastor, social justice worker, founder of anything.

But apparently those weren’t the only qualifications. I continue to wrestle with the imposter syndrome, wondering when someone will figure out I actually DON’T belong in he room.

Have you ever felt that way?

But here I am waiting for my flight to D.C. – the last flight out today so I could catch my son’s last middle school band concert and still make it in time for the morning session.

My husband, as usual, told me I had to do this. And since he hears this so rarely…

He was right. I had to do this. Sandburg’s big picture message for women is that we shouldn’t take ourselves out of the game until we have to. That means silencing self-doubt, even when it’s REALLY LOUD. It means listening to God and knowing the talents and gifts He has given us are to be stewarded and developed, not buried, ignored, diminished, or disregarded.

I’m scared. I’m intimidated. I’m confused. I’m excited. I’m open to learning, failing, and leaning in.

Is it OK to admit all of those things?

Will you still like me? Wink, wink.


  1. deanneliu May 16, 2013

    you’re amazing, Kathy! I’m excited to hear what comes of this trip. Have a safe and affirming trip.

  2. Hillary L May 16, 2013

    “So please ask yourself: What would I do if I weren’t afraid? And then go do it.” (p. 26). I love that you are going to D.C. and sitting at the table.

    Growing up, I saw a lot of strong male professionals, including my dad who I love and respect for pursuing his vocation with passion. However, knowing our home life reality, I couldn’t help but think, “behind every strong man is an even stronger woman!” With you, Kathy, I know a different reality; my husband is my strongest supporter. I’m not in Ch 8 yet, but I’m grateful to have a real partner.

    I also love that you were invited and said yes. After an amazing 17 years of training, I am grateful to be starting my first “real” job. It is scary. I have to trust that the process that helped me to get to this point (read, the support of many friends), will help me through all the transitions to come. I don’t feel ready, and yet today I was encouraged to consider whether we should submit a major project related to HHS’s $1 billion effort to improve health outcomes as part of the Affordable Care Act. My training doesn’t seem sufficient… it’s so hard to silence doubt.

    What have others said “yes” to?

    • Kathy Khang May 29, 2013

      Hillary, you may be looking at your first “real” job, but you do know that those 17 years count. I’m not sure if we are ever ready, but you are correct. It is incredibly difficult to silence the doubt, especially when doubt grows louder in the absence of affirmation and confirmation.

      May God continue to provide those strong voices for you to silence the doubt!

  3. Gail May 18, 2013

    Love that you are being brave and doing this!

  4. Fred Mok May 20, 2013

    Kathy, I would be suspicious of any ambitious trailblazer that felt no fear. The fact that you do and are willing to admit it as well as embrace the tensions that accompany what you’re doing speak highly of your character and resolve.

  5. ajummama May 22, 2013

    really enjoyed this. for now, i am choosing to stay at home for my toddler and not-yet-weaned infant but i am not taking myself permanently out of the game!

    • Kathy Khang May 29, 2013

      As the mother of three, you are certainly not taking yourself out of the game! Staying at home with two means you are playing zone, no longer one-on-one! Glad you enjoyed the post and doubly grateful you do not see yourself out of the game.

  6. idelette August 8, 2013

    I appreciate this post. In October, I agreed to speak at a women’s retreat that falls on both my and my son’s birthdays. I said yes, because this is what I love doing, but I am reminded of the cost of this leaning in. I get home on the day of his birthday (he’s my youngest), so we can celebrate at dinner, but I won’t be there when he wakes up. He turns 6 and it’ll be a first.

    I feel Peace over this, but the cost is still there. And it also feels like laying down my life. Just like there was a season when I stopped doing these things, because my children were so young, and that felt like laying down my life.

    By the way, I just love your honesty and vulnerability in this post.

    • Kathy Khang August 28, 2013

      I’m thrilled you’ve dropped in to my little space. It has been a month of fan girl moments for me, and this is another one.
      Yes, leaning in comes at a cost, but your comment also reminds me of the blessing. Those “lean in” moments are an opportunity to once again commit our whole selves to obedience. Every day we must choose to lay down our lives. Some days it’s tougher to do so than others.

      Come back and visit anytime!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *