As the founder of Women Ministering, I have a lot to say about the subject of women in ministry and thus do a great deal of thinking about, considering and examining my own reflections of a woman in ministry. At the same time, I realized that my reflections on a lifetime of ministry as a woman are the source of my zeal to see others navigate this privilege more easily than I did.
What Does It Mean to Reflect on Something?
Recently, God started showing me some things about ‘reflecting.’ I have written another blog – What Does It Mean to Reflect – that goes into the meaning of reflecting and how we can use it to take our thoughts captive and you might want to read it as well.
One of the definitions of ‘reflect’ is to think deeply or carefully about. That is what I am doing in my reflections as a woman in ministry.
The Pastor is the Servant
As I have said before, women have always been in ministry. Today, that may hold a slightly different meaning since most people equate it with being a Pastor in a position of authority over others.
I view the position of Pastor in the exact opposite way. The Pastor is at the bottom lifting everyone else up; pouring their lives out to benefit others; putting themselves last so that Jesus is always first. They are not over, they are under. They are with Christ, at His feet. So, when I was a ‘pastor,’ I never viewed myself as an authority figure. When I spoke, I simply shared what God was doing in me with the hope that someone else might find their way.
That is how I view ministry in general. It is service. Years ago, the leadership team my husband and I were part of was required to go through a study entitled Jesus on Leadership: Timeless Wisdom on Servant Leadership by Gene Wilkes. The title tells you what the point was – being a Servant – to lead by serving – by being last.
Jesus led by Dying
So, in my reflections as a woman in ministry, I have deeply considered servanthood and how Jesus led by dying. I have seen trends in church where Senior Pastors felt they could not speak with the people on Sundays. Instead, they surrounded themselves with their Intercessors so that their anointing would not be broken. For me, this was a direct contradiction to what I saw in the Bible. Jesus’ anointing was not so fragile. He demanded that no one be kept away from Him. He waded right into the crowds and His anointing was strengthened as He served.
That and many other incidents led me to not only reflect but also to re-flect. The second definition of ‘re-flect’ is to throw back light, heat or sound without absorbing it. I began doing some ‘throwing back.” For many years I had been a sponge, absorbing all the teaching and instruction I could get and that was good. However, I came to realize that not all of what I had absorbed matched my own convictions. To me, somewhere along the line, the teaching and Scripture had been twisted. So, I began a process of carefully and deeply considering things I had been taught. I compared them to the Word and asked the Holy Spirit to lead me into truth.
Taking Off the Thoughts of the World
I had been told what many of the passages in the Bible meant and believed all I had been taught. As I began to read from a ‘reflective’ point of view, I realized this would also be part of the re-flecting – the throwing back of sounds (words, teaching). So, even though I had started to absorb those things, I was still able to throw them back and replace them.
Reflecting and re-flecting are both steps in finding who you truly are – the woman God created you to be – not the woman you were told you should be. Reflecting and re-flecting is a process of taking off. Taking off labels, peeling off burdens of “you must” and “you can’t” and “you should.” Taking all of it and thinking deeply about it with prayer.
Putting on Christ is a Learning Process
I don’t think most of these things were purposeful lies or twisting of Scripture. We all go through growing pains and learning debacles! The problem wasn’t others – it was me. I absorbed without questioning because I wasn’t confident enough in my own ability to discern.
Questioning is a good thing. Not criticism. Not tearing down. Just questioning and examining for yourself like the Bereans in the Book of Acts.
“The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, [j]and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, [k]for they received the word with [l]great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed, [m]along with a number of prominent Greek women and men.” Acts 17:10-12 NASB
The Bereans did two things. First, they received the words of Paul and Silas with great eagerness. Second, they examined the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so! That’s what I began doing.I want to encourage you to be a Berean. Be one in regard to the things of the world and the things of the faith. Click To Tweet
Take Off the Words Said to You and About You
Reflect on the sounds. Re-flect the sounds that bring pain or discomfort. Take off the words that mask the woman God created you to be – your best you. You may take off something that others are putting on. That’s ok. We are all different and must follow our own conscience and leading of the Holy Spirit in line with the Word.
To all you wonderful women in ministry, all who are servant-leaders, I want to tell you that you matter and what you are doing is important. When you feel invisible, know that God sees you and is overjoyed. When you are exhausted and it seems that nothing you do matters, remember that God’s view is eternal, not momentary. What you are doing is also eternal.
Fight your way out from under the world’s view of what you should or shouldn’t be, say, do, think, look like, or sound like. They don’t know the truth of who are. They only know their world view and if you don’t conform to it, they are afraid.
What Reflecting is NOT
Reflecting is NOT a process of looking back at everything you did wrong. It is the opposite. It is a process of confronting what’s wrong and embracing what the Spirit is saying to you right now as He leads you in truth.
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.” John 16:13 NLT
Reflecting is NOT about regret. Regret has only one purpose – to learn from. Once you have done that, discard it because after that it is simply destructive.
Reflecting is NOT a process of finding fault with others. it is a process of building yourself up in the faith. It has nothing to do with anyone else. It is between you and your God. If someone else was wrong, that is on them. Your only job is to find the treasure and then move forward.
Reflecting is NOT about self-pity. Self-pity can turn into a trap. We all feel sorry for ourselves on occasion. I actually planned a pity party for myself one time and told God all about it. It had a start and end time. I cried, screamed, told God repeatedly about how wrong my situation was. At the appointed time, I ended the party and dumped the self-pity in the trash where it belonged.
What Reflecting IS
Reflecting IS about finding the good in everything. It is about moving into the future; finding what is right and true; finding the life that fits you. It’s all about the positive.
No matter what type of ministry you are engaged in, it matters. Maybe, your entire ministry right now is at home. That means you are in the best college and the most important ministry you will ever be in!
Maybe you feel that what you do is meaningless. It isn’t. Maybe what you do is clean the kid’s classrooms when church is over. Remember what it meant to be a leader? It means being a servant. It also means something else. Someone is watching you. Someone who may not even feel worthy to do what you are doing. Don’t minimize your chance to lead by example.
Seeing the Invisible Ones
I once had a life-changing moment with a victim of domestic violence. I was in a small, closed room with her as she cried and poured out her story. She smelled terrible which made the whole ‘closed room’ thing harder. Then she said this. “At home, no one hears me. When I talk they don’t even listen. They don’t talk to me. I am invisible.”
My heart was pierced and I decided from that day forward no person would ever feel invisible again if I could help it.
When you were cleaning that room, did you have a chance to thank the teacher, smile at one of the kids, hug one of the struggling Moms? If so, you are a woman in ministry making sure that no one, regardless of their circumstances or smell, is invisible. That is a true servant leader. That is Jesus in action!
Be proud of what you do! Be proud (in a humble kind of way) of yourself!
- Remember to be a servant
- Put yourself below – at Christ’s feet
- Reflect and re-flect
- Focus on the good you do and not the mistakes you may make
- Don’t let anyone be invisible
- Stand tall as a woman in ministry
- Don’t ever let shame or shaming stop you
- Follow the direction of the Holy Spirit in everything you say, do, think and are
- Be the best ‘you’ possible – the one God created you to be and do it your way, not the way the world or others may tell you to do it
- Don’t be weird – you know what I mean