One of our hardest jobs is introducing women who are so inspirational, grounded and out there doing what God has called them to without sounding cliche. Lerato Thekiso fits the bill but is so much more. If you have attended a few Top Women for God events you will know that she is no stranger to the organisation. Over a few cups of coffee, tea and a couple of emails we went deeper with this former beauty queen, mother, wife, corporate lawyer, entrepreneur and the very apple of God’s eye.
What would you say you do for purpose, passion and paying the bills?
My purpose is to empower people and to help others unlock their full potential. It is to aid and call up, it is to encourage and build up. So whatever I do, this is a consistent theme. I find expression through platforms like the Unleashed Woman, mentoring and essentially using all the skill sets in my toolbox to live out this purpose. I am an attorney and use this in more an advisory capacity to assist companies in their overall governance and compliance requirements. It is in these spaces that I meet the very people who are desperately seeking wisdom and out of the box solutions but mostly seeking the assurance and love of Christ. This is where I yearn to release His fragrance of love and grace.
Sounds great but how about life ten years ago? Where were things then?
Ten years ago I was an optimistic law graduate from the University of Limpopo. At the time, I was privileged to be serving articles at one of the big five law firms in the country located in the heart of Sandton. Though I did frequent trips to Johannesburg to visit relatives and search for opportunities, I had just officially relocated from Limpopo to start a new chapter in my career in the city of gold. I was single and had every intention of using the season to focus on obtaining my admission as an attorney. Serving articles was not all smooth sailing, board exams were real and I was confronted with the various realities of being a woman in corporate South Africa. The resounding questions for most of my time during articles was “is this what I want for the rest of my life?” Do I really want to climb this corporate ladder? What is the price I am willing to pay for what is deemed successful? What is success? It was a season where my aspirations and my realities collided and I knew that there was more for me in the field of work/vocation. I quickly realized that being in partnership with God would eventually grant me the success my heart yearned for. Being in His will (no matter what others thought) was the safest place for me. It was in this season that my relationship with God was deeply entrenched and so the journey continues.
If you were to have the opportunity to see and speak to your younger self from ten years ago, what are the ten things you would tell her?
1. Take God at His word
Over the years and in the ever changing seasons of life I have learnt to take God at His word. It is and He is the only constant. have realised that when I am single minded about what God says and believe it for what it is – I see Him
“I am convinced that God, who began this good work in you, will carry it through to completion” (Philippians 1:6).
2. A cheerful disposition goes a long way
Proverbs 15:13 says “A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.”
Don’t take yourself too seriously, laugh a little and at yourself sometimes.
3. Less is more
Focus. Focus. Focus.
If you are like me, you want to explore different things (within your strengths of course) but I have come to respect the truth in this scripture:
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
I have learnt that it is better to do a few things excellently as opposed to scattering your strength and being substandard on different things. Be a good steward of your time and talents.
I would tell my younger self to take time asking God for clarity in each season and pouring my energies into those things that God is pointing me to for that season. Focusing purely on those things. I have seen that when I spend time investing in certain areas, it enables me to immediately know what commitments I can take on and which ones I need to forego for that time.
4. Slow is fast
“Quick” fixes are not so quick after all. I believe that God builds our character over time and through varying experiences. As the saying goes, Rome was not built in one day, we need to count the cost of what are committing ourselves and our lives to and build brick by brick.
Any decisions I made in haste were often, in hindsight, decisions I regretted. So pace yourself and consider this very sobering scripture:
“For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” Luke 4:28
There are truly no shortcuts to a successful abundant life.
5. Own your stuff
I have learnt to take full responsibility for my decisions and my areas of growth and development. By that I mean when God shines a light on an area that needs to be worked on – it’s better to work with Him as He graces you in those areas. Don’t blame shift – own your portion, in every circumstance.
6. Invest in your happy few
The happy few are your inner circle. The people that are walking with you through life. Your safe space, where you can be truly known. These are the people who know the song in your heart.
Isolation is dangerous – it’s a place the enemy floods with lies and deceit. We were made for relationship and so it’s important to make time with your happy few.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good [more satisfying] reward for their labor.” Ecclesiastes 4:9
7. Be True to yourself
Only you know what is deeply ingrained in your heart. Some dreams don’t make sense to others and sometimes even the process of walking in the fullness of what God has called you to may not be conventional. Remain anchored in Christ. Balance faith and wisdom and even after having sought counsel and input on stuff, reflect pray and be true to what God has called you to be. You will be accountable to God for what He has entrusted you with.
“For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9
8. Tithe lovingly, save aggressively and give generously
Not all of us were taught from a young age how to use our money wisely so when that first paycheck clocks in, we are sometimes not prepared for it. I’d say tithe your 10% to the Lord as an act of love, gratitude and obedience to the Lord, save aggressively and give a percentage that works.
9. Everything is a seed
Whether it be the words we speak or our conduct. This principle has helped me to be conscious about my actions.
“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” Galatians 6:7
10. Pursue intimacy with God above everything else.
Seek God out, pursue Him, chase after Him. It’s truly in Him that we find satisfaction. Nothing else will satisfy.
Lerato Thekiso is an attorney of the High Court of South Africa, specialising in Mining and Environmental Law. She is an entrepreneur, mom, wife and President and Founder of Unleashed Woman.