Last year when my husband Jay and I were living on Vancouver Island, we had the honour of screening our documentary about sex trafficking at an event hosted by Miss Canada 2011, Tara Teng. Back then she was just days away from winning the Miss Canada title, a platform that has provided her with opportunities to fight for the exploited all over the world this past year. One of those opportunities included a 4 month internship on Parliament Hill with MP Joy Smith, who champions the fight against human trafficking in our government.
Since that event in BC, we have become friends with Tara, and she is truly one of the greatest abolitionists of our time. Don’t believe she is more than a beauty queen? Read our interview with Tara!
In addition to catching up via Skype dates over fair trade tea, I love following Tara’s blog. Recently she wrote a beautiful post about conviction. Here is an excerpt from that post, followed by a recent Relate Church video interview that is so powerful.
I’ve learned many things over the past two years but one thing that I learned is that the spotlight reveals truth. When all the glitz and glamour fades away, all that will remain is your character. It doesn’t matter how much you shine from a distance, it is only by the strength of your character that you will ever be able to influence others.
Strong character inspires respect. It is by your character that you leave a legacy worth remembering. Good leaders are not born through the spotlight; their character was cultivated deep within them far before they stepped into the spotlight.
Character is only strengthened through intentional discipline to apply integrity to our daily lives in every situation that we encounter. Character is refusing to back down from your convictions and choosing to do what is right, regardless of personal cost.
True leaders have taken the time to invest in the growth of their character. They know that their convictions and integrity must be intact before accepting any position of leadership or platform. I walked through years of character development and learning hard life lessons before I ever stepped up to the platform of Miss Canada or Miss British Columbia. I went into the pageant with a clear focus, end human trafficking and the sexual slavery of my sisters around the world. I was intentional in my decisions leading up to the pageant and throughout the pageant. No revealing evening gowns, no fake hair extensions, fake nails or bra inserts and no swimwear competitions…No matter how fierce the competition may be, I refused to alter who I was or water down my message. Winning a title is never worth compromising in your convictions.
God is daily challenging me to deepen in my convictions and strengthen my character. I named my blog “With Conviction” and I sign all my emails with the signature “With Conviction” because I want everything in my life to be drenched with conviction. I’m not perfect but I’m willing to learn the hard lessons in life because I know that it is through these that my character is strengthened.
Thank you Tara for reminding us that we have such a responsibility and opportunity to promote justice and freedom in our world!
**In case you missed it last week, check out Eye See Media’s interview about human trafficking with me here.