Cover art for podcast Christian Woman Leadership Podcast

Christian Woman Leadership Podcast

144 EpisodesProduced by Esther LittlefieldWebsite

It's time for you to embrace your God-given gifts, skills, and passions and lead with confidence. Host Esther Littlefield is a pastor's wife and business owner, and she is joined by co-host Holly Cain. They discuss issues related to leading as a Christian woman, and they also interview other women w… read more


49: Dealing with Stress and Developing Healthy Habits with Marnie Swedberg [Wellness Series]

What is the #1 way you can reduce stress in your leadership life right now? What’s important to remember about how you’re wired as you fulfill basic life responsibilities? What set of habits are critical to you as you lead and live?

Author, entrepreneur, and international speaker Marnie Swedberg and I talk about living out your faith when it’s hard, the one key to leadership,  and four habits that will make you a more effective leader. If you wonder how doing basic and unseen tasks like changing diapers or filing reports has eternal significance, this is a must-listen episode for you.

Marnie’s Leadership Journey

Currently, Marnie leads, an organization she founded that matches Christian speakers with event planners. She also founded and directs Bible Expo, an event that showcases authors of Bible studies. And on top of all that, she continues to speak at international events.

How Marnie Got Started in Leadership

Marnie started helping in a four-year-old Sunday school class when she was 11. However, her first leadership position came when she was 17 when she managed an entire health club.

She felt her role there was to cheerlead her team. Now her cheerleading has evolved into mentorship. She enjoys coming alongside different types of leaders to encourage, help, and provide the next step through coaching and counseling.

Life Events that Contributed to Marnie Growing in Leadership

Three major life events happened when she was four years old:

  1. She fell off the outside of an escalator as she climbing it externally and was caught by a vendor below.
  2. The neighbor’s dog knocked her over and knocked her out.
  3. A storm split a tree in her yard in half.

Because of these events, she realized she needed Jesus.

Professional and personal coaches have also equipped her throughout her adult life.

Marnie’s Mentors

Each year, Marnie selects one person that she’ll learn from. Last year, she selected Brene Brown. When you select a mentor, it doesn’t need to be someone you personally know, but someone you can learn from through books, blogs, and podcasts.

How Marnie has Grown in Her Faith Through Speaking Internationally

Traveling to developing and impoverished nations is scary for Marnie. Through 2009, she said no to international travel. Then God gave her a vision of a global map then gave her the opportunity to visit Peru.

Leadership Lessons Marnie’s Learned

Practice humility. Elisabeth Elliot defined humility as flexibility. Marnie wants Jesus to be the distinguishing factor in her life. Remember that we are not irreplaceable.

Marnie’s Advice for Younger Leaders

Remember that we are all a project and God is so patient to free the beauty He planted inside us. Flow God’s patience and grace to those you lead.

How Marnie Discovered Her Wiring

Marnie started kindergarten at age 4 so she didn’t feel ready. In fact, she already felt behind so school was a real challenge. She didn’t learn to read until she was an adult.

After she graduated from high school, she could just relax and read because the pressure was off and nothing depended on reading so she started to love it.

She struggled with why God put her through those treacherous school years so she asked Him. He told her she hadn’t started school when she did, she never would have met her husband. She also struggled with staying at home with her children after so much success in the workplace, and she wondered why she wrote worship songs that no one else could hear.

She wrote the book Flow Through Vessel to share that anything God flows through you has an eternal reward.

Dealing with Stress as a Leader

For Marnie, the key to how to deal with stress as a leader revolved around understanding how to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). We are earth-dwellers and prayer-breathers. You can turn every emotion into a conscious awareness to talk with God.

The #1 stress reliever is to remember that any emotion is a cue to talk to God.

How to Create Healthy Habits

Be kind to yourself and remember that you’ve practiced saying, “No, I’ll do it my way” about a million times since you were a toddler. Focus on making smaller habit changes instead of trying to revamp an entire area of your life.  As you practice breaking bad habits, you get stronger at habit-breaking so you can break more habits faster.

Marnie’s Habits
  1. As she goes to bed, she asks God, “How was it with us today?”
  2. Before she gets out of bed, she prays the Lord’s prayer in a personalized way.
  3. After she gets up, she prays for countries and through the promises of God.
  4. As she showers, she puts on the armor of God.
Leaders Are Learners:

Marnie is learning the power of prayer and recommends the life-changing book Enjoying the Presence of God by Jan Johnson.

Key Quotes from the Episode:
  • “Everybody’s leading somebody.”
  • “... taking the time to invest in yourself ... is so worth it.”
  • “God likes to take us to the deep waters where we’re going to drown if we aren’t looking into His eyes.”
  • “God created you just like you are for His glory, His honor, and His purpose.”
  • “You’re the only person in the entire universe who can worship God the way you can.” 
  • “If I’m going at anything without getting God’s input, I’m being proud.”
  • “If that’s where God has you, be there with your whole heart.”
  • “When you work on the spiritual habits, everything changes.”
Episode Sponsor: Audible

Today’s show is brought to you by Audible. Audible is offering our listeners a free audiobook with a 30-day trial membership. Just go to and browse the unmatched selection of audio programs – download a title free and start listening.

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Connect with Esther and Holly:

This episode was originally published on

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