Kay is the Chief Knowledge and Research officer at the DXM Institute for Changemaking Innovation. Hailed as the “The Questions Lady,” Kay is a national leader in research for faith-based and mission-driven organizations. For more than 30 years, she has provided customer research, market analytics, planning, collaboration management, and organizational development to both for-profit and nonprofit organizations, including Cru, Chick-Fil-A, and Thrivent. In her knowledge-leadership role for DXM™ Institute, Kay drives the development of the Institute’s platform. She is a frequent speaker on the topics of listening and relationship-building strategies for leaders, understanding what customers value, and how generational change impacts organizations. Kay believes that great leaders don’t have better answers; they ask better questions. Her greatest joy is helping leaders understand what the world most needs their organizations to do.
Kathleen Cooke: Today’s culture is about wanting clarity, so your job as a researcher is vital. The facts tell the truth but not always the whole story. We are bombarded with identity dysphoria today. What has God been teaching you through your work and perspective on why knowing who we are in Him is how we can know the facts and the whole story?
Kay Edwards: That He has called me perfect, not because of anything I have done, but because of what He has done. His finished work is my identity. Too often, women are taught to work hard to be good so that they can be loved. I have lived too much of my life terrified of not getting it right, terrified that God would be disappointed in me.
When I was growing, up my parents taught me that no matter how hard I tried, I could never please God and that He was always angry with me for not being good enough. If I had set out to create a belief system to drive someone intentionally away from God, that would have been it, and I am saddened that that was the best my parents had to offer. How terrified they must have been, too.
I am just now learning how settled God’s love is, how the moment I accepted Jesus, God’s love settled around me like clear Jesus skin that God sees me through. I don’t have to earn His love. I am inside of His love forever. I am inside of Him.
Kathleen: As you began to grasp your identity in Him and knowing that you have been made perfect through nothing you can do but through Christ’s redemptive love, what steps did you take to grow that trust within yourself?
Kay: For most of my adult life, I got up early to read the Bible and pray. The darker it was in the morning, the holier you were. But most mornings, it felt like I was on the Prayer Trampoline. If I could just bounce high enough, I could reach God. Every few moments, I thought I caught a glimpse of Him. And then I fell back to earth again. The best thing I ever did was stop trying and sit still. I asked God to find me. I threw away every “should” and sat still. That is when God found me. Now, I can’t wait to get up in the morning to hear His voice.
Kathleen: It’s about our engagement in the Bible and prayer with Jesus, isn’t it? It’s up to us to choose how we spend our time so that we have the time to hear Him and wisely choose His will and purposes and not our own. The world’s messages are loud and often overwhelming today. Through your years of engagement with Jesus, what’s He taught you about overcoming those influences bombarding our lives and, more importantly, using our influence so that others see God living in us?
Kay: If I pursue influence or do things in order to have an influence on others, I usually end up being manipulative. If instead, I pursue that unique set of problems that God has created me to solve, influence follows.
Influence is the beautiful gown that my Father dresses me in because He delights in rewarding His daughters. Do I need influence to feel good about myself? No. Do I welcome it? Yes, like I welcome any gift from my Father.
I can pursue the gift, or I can pursue the Giver.
Learn more about Kay Edwards’ work at the DXM Institue by clicking here.