Dear Misunderstood Woman in Ministry

Dear Misunderstood Woman in Ministry,

Hi. How ya feeling today? WAIT! Don’t even smile and breezily say “fine!” when inside you’re hurting.

Honestly, I am hurting too.

Being a woman in ministry is incredibly hard and there was no Bible College course to prepare any of us for what could or would possibly happen when you step into these roles.

I’ve been the youth minister’s wife, the senior pastor’s wife, the christian blogger, the christian influencer, the christian author, the christian podcaster, the christian drama team leader, the christian women’s ministry associate…

And I have felt misunderstood one way or another by someone during each and every one of those ministries.

You are not alone if you feel misunderstood.

I promise there is a HUGE group of us nodding along and saying “Yep, I’ve felt that. Yes, I’ve experience that. Mmmhhmm, been there.”

Your feelings of hurt are valid. It is incredibly painful to be misunderstood.

Here is what I have learned and am still learning about this whole subject:

In ministry there will always be someone or someones who will put you under a microscope and NEVER stop observing what you do, say, act, assume what you’re thinking, and judge every single move that you make.

Some people spend time doing this like it is their ministry – to pick apart everything about your life. Sweet sister, these people need Jesus. The True Jesus. Because knowing Jesus truly would lead people to understand that NO ONE is perfect. We have all fallen and none of us are righteous. (Romans 3:23) Even our good deeds are seen as period pads (so gross I know but this is Bible) to the Lord. (Isaiah 64:6)

YOU’RE GOING TO MESS UP!!!! But a person who is one with Christ wouldn’t jump on accusing you when you do make mistakes. They’d come alongside you in understanding, prayer, accountability, and grace.

So let your shoulders relax. Breathe. YOU ARE NOT CALLED TO BE PERFECT. You are called to love God, obey Him, AND receive His grace when you do (AND YOU WILL) fall short.

Which brings me to my second point, YOU ARE NOT CALLED TO PLEASE MAN. And here is where a lot of misunderstandings happen.

People will take their man made traditions, customs, their culture and make them Biblical Law. This is not Christianity. This is what Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for over and over and over again.

If you are in the Word and you are seeking Jesus, leaning into the Spirit and praying about the understandings of what the Word means…PLEASE leave everything else out of it.

Honesty time:

I have never dressed appropriately to please everyone.

I have never had the right hair style or color to please everyone. Can you believe this is even a thing?

I talk about uncomfortable issues for some people. Yep, there are still people who think the church shouldn’t mention anything about sex or sexual sins. I guess they’re fine with letting the world be the only one with an opinion on these things: teaching young people what to believe. But I do not believe this. And so yea, I talk about it because it’s needed, because women are struggling with these sins, and we need a Biblical perspective to be known and heard.

I have never been calm enough for some people.

Yep, there are still people who believe a woman in ministry should look a certain way, talk a certain way, dress a certain way, and serve a certain way.

As for me, I have never fit into a box of conformity and thankfully I never ever will.

God did not make a cookie cutter mold for women in ministry and thank goodness for that!

Do you see what I’m getting at? SOMEONE is ALWAYS going to find a reason to be disappointed in you but we don’t do anything for MAN but we do it ALL for GOD.

And this is something I am having to remind myself of DAILY.

I’d bet money that the people who misunderstand you sweet friend are the same people who have never had a heart to heart conversation WITH you. I’d bet lots of money on it. I bet they’ve never inquired about your walk with Christ, that they’ve never taken the time to get to know you, your past, your background, your heart.

Tell me, am I right?

Because if you’re a woman seeking God and doing ministry then I’d also bet that you reflect on your choices … a lot.

I always say, no one is harder on me than me. NO ONE.

That dress I wore that someone still thought was too immodest. I wrestled with it. I asked my husband what he thought of it. I decided that it was modest and appropriate for me to wear. But there’s going to be that someone who looks and judges and doesn’t take any time to understand or go to the Word themselves to see if they’re in the wrong.

That choice I made…I prayed over it. My husband prayed over it. My mom was praying about it. I talked to my Christian best friend about it. I fasted over it. I felt God saying it was okay…it was good…to move forward.

In ministry, you’re going to be judged and even gossiped about (which….is so painful. I am so sorry on behalf of any Christian who has ever gossiped about you. This is so satanic and it shouldn’t be happening in the church but it does and I apologize on behalf of those who do it. They are 100% wrong and God takes this VERY seriously, just rest in that.)

They say the best part of doing ministry is people and the worst part of doing ministry is people. And boy is this true.

Sister, we work out our OWN salvations with fear and trembling. Philippians 2:12. OUR OWN. God doesn’t need mouth pieces to speak into your life about things He has already told you in His Word. People who insert their own standards and thoughts and comforts and traditions are attempting to not only speak for God but to add to Scripture.

YOU NEED ONLY TO FOLLOW WHAT THE BIBLE ACTUALLY SAYS. 

Pray for discernment and yes, seek wiser counsel but these would be people who have your best interest truly at heart, who have taken the time to know you, and who have no interest in being RIGHT but in being RIGHTEOUS.

Please also remember that if someone truly believes that you have sinned against them or that you’re sinning or have sinned, IF THEY THEMSELVES ARE IN THE WORD AND SEEKING GOD, they would do what is Biblical and come to YOU FIRST. Matthew 18:15. They would not be gossiping it, discussing it, and spreading rumors around about you and the situation. The verse literally says “between the two of you.” If someone has not done this THEN THEY ARE BIBLICALLY IN THE WRONG. Period.

The bad news : You’re never not going to be misunderstood by SOMEONE. The best women I know in ministry have all come under scrutiny and trials with another or other individuals. Jesus Himself had how many people misunderstand Him. A LOT. And how blasphemous, right? lol.

The good news: We live for an audience of ONE. Truly. Continue being in the Word, praying, allowing other true Christians to edify and sharpen you.

PLEASE REMEMBER THAT VERY REAL PEOPLE ARE DYING AND GOING TO AN ETERNAL HELL WHERE THE WRATH OF GOD WILL BE POURED OUT ON THEM FOREVER.

These issues that I am sure you’re being gossiped about or looked down on…I bet that they are trivial and petty in comparison to SALVATION ISSUES.

DO NOT LET SATAN DISTRACT YOU FROM THE GOSPEL AND REACHING THE LOST.

DO NOT LET THE TRADITIONS AND COMFORTS OF MAN BECOME PLACES AND THINGS OF WORSHIP IN YOUR LIFE.

YOU DO NOT BEND TO MAN’S WILL BUT TO GOD’S ALONE!

Remember that you’re in good company if you’re being misunderstood in your ministry. My goodness, David danced before God and before the people in only his UNDERWEAR!!!!!!! 2 Samuel 6.

lol.

That would really give the church gossipers something to talk about, eh?

Remember that the Holy Spirit is big enough to convict you. If you’re seeking Him, He will make these things known. And He won’t be using strangers in the church, who are looking for ways to bring you down, to convict you. I promise. He does not bless gossipers or slanderers, those who create division.

I don’t know about you but I feel refreshed after all those reminders.

When we put everything back into a Holy perspective, it really does change the view.

People are dying and going to hell.

People need Jesus, the true Jesus.

People need the Gospel, the true gospel.

And as Christians, THIS is our purpose. THIS is our calling. THIS is the reason.

Be a woman who is wholeheartedly loving God and loving His Word and I promise, NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE ELSE IS SAYING, you’re on the narrow path…the right path.

-Jillian