Confessions of a Woman in Ministry (& 5 dangers to avoid)

| January 15, 2018
Confessions of a Christian Woman in Women's Ministry

I can always tell when my priorities are out of whack because life seems to be thrown into a downward spiral I just can’t seem to recover from. Everything seems totally out of control, and I feel like I’m working overtime, yet succeeding at nothing.

Can you relate?

There have been many times over the years when I’ve missed the forest for the trees when doing ministry, for all sorts of reasons, and lately I find myself struggling again. So I thought that while I’m in the thick of things, maybe it would help me and benefit you, too, if I reflected on some warning signs that it’s time to take a step back from ministry to re-assess our priorities.

5 Danger Zones Women in Ministry Need to Watch For

Danger #1.) When Your Joy is Gone

“I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” – 2 Samuel 24:24 (NIV)

This quote comes from David when a man named Araunah offers to provide everything needed for David’s burnt offering sacrifice to God. But David would have none of it; he actually took delight in giving to God – it was an act of worship, done from a place of love.

If you find yourself dreading a ministry or consistently feel like it’s a burden, something is wrong. It may be that you’ve been going through the motions rather than offering God an act of worship from a place of love and devotion to Him. If the joy is gone from your ministry, take some time to assess why you’re in it.

Is it because you feel called?

Is it because you wanted to fill a gap you thought nobody else would fill?

Go to the Lord, sincerely open to what He has to say about the place and priority this ministry should have in your life. It may mean that you’ve just lost focus, or it could mean you’re not operating in your gifting or your calling.

Danger #2.) When You Get More Excited About Your Success Than God’s Glory

5 dangers women in ministry should watch forI published my first book last year. It truly was an act of worship for me. But sometimes, the idea of becoming a well-known author or speaker seems really exciting, and there are times when how to get more website hits or book sales becomes more of my focus than being a good steward of the message itself, or the “smaller” tasks God has called me to. Recently, God spoke to me through this scripture: “The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:11 NIV)

What I heard Him say was this: Live low. Be humble. Wash feet. Wipe snotty noses. Weep for the lost. Pray with the hurting. There are so many needs right in front of my face, so many ways to minister! I don’t need to be on a podium looking down. I need to be on my knees looking up.

When a ministry causes you to feel more concerned with your own success than the Lord being glorified, it’s definitely time to pause. I’m not saying you need to necessarily give it up, or even give up big dreams of God using you in big ways – as long as they’re for the right reasons. But you may need to get back to a place of spiritual prostration (just like I did). You could be the most famous Christian leader on the planet, and still be the most humble before God.

When our delight is truly in Him, the desires of our hearts – and sometimes even our wildest dreams – will follow (Psalm 37:4).

Danger #3.) When You Feel Like a Failure in All Facets of Life

Sound familiar?

This is me right now. Feeling like I’ve just dropped every single one of the fine China plates I’ve been trying to juggle, and am left holding the bill, wondering how on earth I’m going to pay for them.

When God hasn’t been ordering your ministry priorities, you will feel like a failure at everything. E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. That’s not to say the Holy Spirit won’t sometimes convict you of areas that need improvement, but it’s the Enemy who condemns and brings feelings of worthlessness, despair and self-loathing.

If you feel like a failure in all aspects of your life, if you’ve just broken a bunch of fine China plates, it’s time to reassess. You might be juggling the wrong plates (God’s not the one ordering your priorities). Or there might just be too many (you need to get rid of some ministry clutter). Or you might need some juggling lessons (like maybe you need to take some time to pray and ask God for wisdom and seek godly counsel or practical help).

Just remember, even when you fail, and are left holding a huge bill for the shattered fine China, you have a loving Father who can pick up the pieces and bail you out, so you can start fresh.

Danger #4.) When Your Family is Suffering

Oh, this one hurts. I’ve been here too many times to count. I get so wrapped up in ministry of all sorts that I lose the forest for the trees and forget to minister to my own people.

I’ve written about discipling your children and being a good shepherd as I plop my kids down in front of the TV so I have peace and quiet to write. I’ve taught a Sunday school class where we discuss the importance of loving your neighbor as yourself, then later the same day selfishly put my wants and needs before my husband’s.

If ministry is causing you to neglect the home front, it’s a sign that your priorities might be a little (or a lot) off.

Danger #5.) When You Are Neglecting Your Personal Relationship with God

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” – Luke 10:27 (NIV)

Our highest calling is to love God. Period. All else stems from that, so when ministry is actually tearing you away from God, something is really, really wrong!

It may be something as simple as needing to carve intentional time into your schedule to spend time with God, or it could be that your ministry has become an idol. Whatever the case, it’s time to take a step back and assess your ministry and your priorities. Ask the Holy Spirit to search you (Psalm 139:23-24) and reveal any impure motives or wrong thinking.

Serving God’s People For God’s Glory

Grace and TruthGod made us to minister! By no means am I suggesting that these warning signs are reasons to quit a particular ministry. But when we see these red flags, I think we can all take some time to step back and assess our priorities and motives so that we’re sure we are on the path God has called us to. Anything else is just going to lead to frustration. When the Body of Christ is healthy, there’s room for everyone to use their gifts for the glory of God in a way that honors Him and brings joy to His ministers.

How have you recognized a need to step back from ministry to assess your priorities? Do you have a story of how you’ve regained the joy in ministry? Share your story!

There are so many women in ministry now days that make it look easy, but the honest truth is, it’s not. Giving your life to Jesus is hard work, helping others do the same is even harder. Let’s be honest and share our struggles. Because even though it’s hard, there is joy to be found in living for Jesus.


Related Reading

                                            

(Reminder: We use Amazon affiliate links)

You Might Also Like

36 Comments

  • Reply Heather Hart January 15, 2018 at 7:53 am

    I have so been there, Jaime. Sometimes God is asking me to let go of something I am doing for the wrong reasons, sometimes He just wants me to realign my heart. To remember why I do what I do. Like church in Ephesus, I have left my first love and I need to come back to Him. I don’t need to step back, I need to press in. I think it’s different for each of us though. We all have to do what He is calling us to do. We all have to pray. We all have to be careful not to give Satan that foothold when we get into those danger zones, because I do think we all stumble into them from time to time.
    Heather Hart recently posted…Goals, Plans, and JesusMy Profile

  • Reply Maryann January 15, 2018 at 11:41 am

    Yes, and thank you. These are all very good points and reminders of where our focus should be.
    Maryann recently posted…False Alarms and The Supremacy of GodMy Profile

  • Reply Jessica Schneider January 15, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    This is wonderful! I actually had a women’s ministry “meeting” today, and shared a small portion of this. This post I will need to come back to often 🙂
    Jessica Schneider recently posted…When Passion Invades Your HeartMy Profile

  • Reply Melissa January 15, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    This is something I have been praying about – making sure that I’m staying aligned with God and His path for my future. I’m a full-time Christian mental health therapist and I started my blog back in August. I feel like God is leading to bigger and greater this for His glory but I know I will need to continually make sure that I am not allowing pride to drive and rule my behavior. Thank you for these reminders.
    Melissa recently posted…Working Moms – You are Still Important and Relevant to Your ChildrenMy Profile

  • Reply Katie January 15, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    These are such great insights! I think most of us at times have been guilty of most if not all of these. Keeping in prayer over our commitments is so important. The enemy wants to distract us and discourage us or make us ineffective. Assessing our ministry in a healthy way is always a beneficial activity!

  • Reply Tressie Burdette January 15, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    This really spoke to me because lately I am so busy I don’t know if I am coming or going. You are right that this happens when we get our priorities out of whack or try to set our own priorities without listening to God.

  • Reply Julie January 15, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    I think these are great tips to watch out for. Like anything else, we can spend so much time trying to serve God that we neglect the other callings He has for us. Great post!

  • Reply Kaalu January 16, 2018 at 12:56 am

    Fear God

  • Reply Katie Braswell January 16, 2018 at 7:53 am

    This rings true as I start the new year out. My “goal” for this year is to seek God… the helps combat most of these danger zones if not all.You are so right! When we are serving, it is to be for His glory not our own. When we start crossing that line… we invite Satan in to our ministry (that’s a very dangerous zone). We absolutely need to be evaluating and in constant communication with our Lord. We must align our motives, our spirits, our actions with His will and way! Thank you for sharing! It was absolutely important for me to read!

  • Reply Vicky January 16, 2018 at 8:45 am

    This resonates with me so well. I sometimes plunge myself into God’s work but forget about God himself! This year I am trying to spend time more wisely to make sure that God is not neglected.

  • Reply Lynn Baber January 16, 2018 at 10:04 am

    Wonderful observations. I recognized previous places and one current in your list. When the joy is gone. My expectations of one Bible study I lead isn’t being met. Why? Because I love to dig deep and discuss application with other mature Christians. Rabbit trails connecting various books and scriptures are bliss. One study I lead is precisely that. I benefit as much as anyone from the group. But not the other. The lack of joy means my expectations are out of whack.

    You nailed it on the head. I’m seeking the wrong result. The right result is speaking what is needed. Connecting them to God’s Word more simply and leaving the deep thinking for the future. Get the foundation in place first. It’s not about serving me, but serving the One who blesses me with abundance in every way. From life to eternity.

    May you find the blessing behind the migraines and may God be glorified.
    Lynn

    • Reply Jaime Hampton January 16, 2018 at 12:44 pm

      Lynn, I love what you said here about unmet expectations. I am praying now that God will give you glimpses of the fruit that is coming from the study where you’re not finding joy at the moment, that He will allow you to see the reasons you’re part of that study and the divine appointments He has for you there. Thank you for that profound insight!
      Jaime Hampton recently posted…Did we Miss the Boat? 5 things to keep in mind when leading a young child to ChristMy Profile

  • Reply Jess January 16, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    I think I’ve experienced every one of these, even during my short time in ministry! But I have taken steps back every so often, when I feel that pull to focus on worldly desires instead of God’s desires. And thankfully, He has always forgiven men and helped me to get back up again, stronger and more assured in my purpose to spread His good message!
    Jess recently posted…Marriage ResourcesMy Profile

  • Reply Victoria Grace January 17, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    Hi Jamie,
    Thank you for this beautifully honest post. As I read through, I felt both conviction and reassurance. It also explained years of struggling through church obligations that I consistently dreaded, as well as the joy I have now. Your article is a wonderful reminder that we always have to keep our priorities and purpose in line. Ministry is about God working through us, not us showing what we can do for Him.
    Victoria Grace recently posted…Ten Ways to Grow in Your Faith – #6-#10, FocusMy Profile

  • Reply KellyRBaker January 18, 2018 at 8:06 am

    Wise words, Jaime! God says to seek Him first and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you. It’s the Holy Spirit that helps us walk in balance.

  • Reply Timberley @ Living Our Prioritites January 19, 2018 at 11:41 am

    All 5 of these are right on point. I especially like #2, too many leaders seek success in their role, and elevation as oppose to seeing others elevate in Christ and giving all the glory to God. Great post, stopping by from Grace and Truth Link Up.

    • Reply Jaime January 19, 2018 at 3:50 pm

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Timberley!

  • Reply Jennifer January 19, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    This post was so very helpful – and timely. So glad to have come across it today and thank you for articulating several things that have been on my heart. I am especially burdened (and praying about) being motivated and excited more about my success than His glory. How humbling!!

  • Reply Aimee Imbeau January 25, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    Jaime, thank you for your post and I appreciate you sharing it on Grace and Truth. As a blogger for Christian women as well as leading WM in my church, I found your post valuable and insightful. I’ve chosen your post as this week’s feature on G & T. Head on over tomorrow to get the “I Was Featured” button for your post. Thanks again for sharing.

  • Reply Candace Playforth January 26, 2018 at 7:08 am

    I must admit to finding myself in every one of these danger zones. I couldn’t agree with you more on spotlighting these incredibly important 5 areas. I’ve finally learned the gift of stepping away when needed to reassess. As a blogger, I feel the need to do this often to make sure my reasons and goals are in line with Him. Thanks for your inspiring words here!
    Candace Playforth recently posted…When It’s Time to Start OverMy Profile

  • Candidly Christian is designed to be a safe place to where Christian women can get candid. We won’t be publishing any harsh comments directed at other commenters or our bloggers. We retain the right to moderate our comments as we see fit. By submitting a comment below, you hereby grant us the irrevocable, non-exclusive right to edit, delete, copy, adapt, modify, publish, broadcast, and/or distribute the submitted content on this website and/or other material created by us.

    Remember: From our side of the computer screen, we can’t see your tears. We can’t see your beautiful smile. We can’t hear the emotion behind your words or the tone of your voice. All we get are your words. Write them with love.

    Leave a Reply

    CommentLuv badge

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Read previous post:
    When fear doesn't rule in the heart of the storm...
    When Fear Doesn’t Rule in the Heart of the Storm

    What would you do if you didn't fear? Go on, think about that for a minute. What would you do,...

    Close