Living Life As a Woman In Ministry

Archive for the ‘Etiquette’ Category

I Choose To Believe

Michael Moss

Michael Moss

 

“I choose to believe that people can handle the truth.” ~ Dr. Laura

Today Dr. Laura Schlessinger told a story that stuck with me. Here is how it goes.

A woman took her car to a mechanic because of a noise it was making. The mechanic popped the hood, adjusted something and closed the hood and said, “That will be $100.”

The woman was outraged and said, “$100?! All you did was adjust some little part.”

The mechanic looked at her and said, “I didn’t charge you anything for the adjustment. I’m charging you $100 for the knowledge.”

I loved that story. We’re always so busy tip-toeing around the truth because we’re afraid of hurting someone’s feelings, but if they don’t know any better? What is that worth to them?

I loved the day when a beautiful friend, MaryLou Lerma, came up behind me at church and untucked some hair in the back of my head that was crunched under the headset microphone I was wearing and then adjusted my look. She’s a lioness. Lionesses will groom each other. She was making sure I didn’t embarrass the tribe. I love her for that. She didn’t worry about whether I’d be offended that I didn’t check myself before I got ready to go on the platform in front of a live audience and Internet. She did it for me, and for our team. This is her using her truth, her information, of a situation.

It’s quite a bit different from the woman who uses her truth to be mean. “That dress is hideous.” While it may be truth, it doesn’t need to be spoken. She is not a lioness as she is on the attack due to her jealousy and low self esteem. She uses her truth to wield a sword. Women such as these can dish it out but they can’t take it.

Now, could it be that there would be a time to give wardrobe advice? Of course! When you’ve developed a relationship and you don’t feel superior but know you can be at service and have the trust of the person you are speaking to. Quite a different scenario.

I choose to believe that people can handle the truth.

I choose to believe that not all truth needs to be spoken.

I choose to believe that one day as strong mature women, we’ll all figure out which is which and which is witch.

Rants Cause More Anger

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Rant – verb- speak or shout at length in a wild, impassioned way.

Rants seem so justified in the moment and that’s the problem with them. Afterwards, when you need to find a way back into fellowship with the person you just unleashed on, you have two choices; you can either pretend like nothing happened which is a lie, and more than likely not going to fly, or you can apologize, which is rather the grownup thing to do.

Rants are happening more and more with social media. It’s easy to hide behind a computer and spew, it’s quite another to go to the person you are angry with and have a conversation. It could be that the person has difficulty expressing anger. It happens, you get mad in a moment and you say something dumb. I’ve done it. You then have to go to the person and repent.

I’ve found that people who rant on a regular basis often have issues with their family and friends. Most of the time people say they rant to make them feel better but studies shows that rants don’t make you feel better, they make you feel worse. They make you dwell and they solve nothing. Sometimes they incite a reaction that is equal to the action making it worse. One  study I read from the University of Wisconsin said that ranting is linked to fighting and that the person ranting generally has two physical or verbal fights per month. I actually think it may be more than that.

So why rant on social media? I talked to an acquaintance of mine who says she does it so that the rant gets back to the person. Another acquaintance says she does it to gain people who are on her side, still another one said she does it because you don’t have to look the person in the eye. And there’s the problem because if you aren’t willing to say it face to face, then you shouldn’t post it on social media. The passive aggressive verbal jab is to no effect, especially when it doesn’t make you feel any better.

Words produce action. The action you get from the rant about the carpool line or the political state of the union is so much a different thing than the rant you make about the people in your life. If you are constantly ranting, it shows to everyone that no one is really safe with you. You will throw anyone under the bus at any time. Why not face the issues? It’s a lot easier to work things out, if that’s the motive. If it isn’t and you enjoy the high drama of a fight, rant on, and be prepared for the consequences.

 

 

 

 

Genuine Kindness

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Proverbs 17:17 – A friend loves at all times. 

Something happened at TLC last week that just made me smile!

I preached a message on purses. I talked about the stuff we carry in our purses, what is necessary and what isn’t.  I grabbed the purses in my closet and went to church and set them up. There were 8 of them. Four of them are going to be cleaned up to donate to the RMA thrift store and four of them I keep for sentimental value. A purse that my husband bought me on our first Christmas, one which was handmade in Africa, one that is from the 40’s that I use for decorative purposes, and one which was a splurge.

One of the women of TLC asked, “Susan are those all your purses?”

I said yes and then held my breath……..

I love clothes and shoes and purses and as a woman in ministry it is often a place of criticism. I had a Pastor’s wife come up to me once and say, “Just how many pairs of boots does one woman need? Don’t you know there are people who have no shoes?” I do in fact know that, and I do in fact, give to many missions projects but this type of judgment happens all of the time, not just to me, I’m not special. I once heard a person say, Bill Gates wasn’t being generous when he gave a gift of $100,000.00 to a project. They said, “$100,000 is like me giving $10. Bill Gates could afford to give more. Only, to me, $100,000 is not like $10, it’s like $100,000. Bill Gates could have given nothing at all.

So why did I hold my breath?

The comments. The people who are ready to pounce with condemnation. I held my breath because even though I work through the comment,  it still makes me sad that I live in a space where it even matters. I realize that the comments are not my problem. 

The response surprised me.

“Susan, we need to trade purses sometime. You have some I like.”

YAY! There was no negative comment or judgment. I loved it. It made me happy.

I went home and told my husband.

I told a few close friends this past week, each time with a smile on my face.

So I asked her which of the purses she liked the most? She liked an animal print one I had. You know something?  I was going to give her whichever one she chose, sentimental one or not. Someone who was genuinely happy. I shared it at TLC last night and there were lots of smiles! It felt good not to be on the hot seat. It felt really, really good!

God is working on me. I pray he is working on you as well this week. May you experience little moments of happiness as you cross hurdles into your most excellent future.

 

 

At War With Women

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I was raised by a first generation feminist. My mother broke into a male dominated field full force. Her generation was the one who shouted, “I am woman hear me roar!” Her generation demanded to be treated as equal in the workplace and not just a piece of meat, “a honey”, or “a sweetie”.  She brought to the table the intelligence to do her job and the strength to push through boundaries of race, culture, and gender. My mother used terms such as Male Chauvinist Pig to describe men who tried to objectify her and tried to take her back to where she had to use her body instead of her mind as a way to move forward in life.

In the beginning of feminism it was about equality. Knowing you were a woman, but not limited to roles in job or pay. Today feminism, like every other movement, has gone to places I can’t follow. They have created a chaos in women’s identity but the one thing they still revere and I still appreciate is that they believe intelligence doesn’t favor a male, in fact, it is equal to those who choose to apply knowledge.

So what is the deal with women today? We have decided cleavage is power. Once again we don’t feel smart enough to compete in the workplace so we use our body. There is a term that when I first heard it, made me cringe and not believe it, but I have to be honest, I am agreeing with it these days. It’s called Female Chauvinist Pig and she is empowering men once again to objectify women by issuing her own war on women by allowing herself to be defined by her body. What causes her to breakdown the work of the women who forged a path for her? Clearly, it’s a self-esteem issue. She doesn’t think she has the smarts to win the battle in the workplace. Women admittedly say they showed cleavage because mistakes on the job were overlooked. Really? So when we don’t have a brain we show our body because being objectified allows us to keep a job we aren’t qualified for? I don’t think so. Women fought hard so that a woman was viewed as a whole person and not just the sum total of her breasts.

In Kathy Shiffer’s article Cleavage=Control? I Don’t Think So, she refers to an article written by Marge Fenelon entitled Cleaveage Does Not Rule where Marge Fenelon makes the statement:

Let’s go back to the title, which suggests that a woman can and should use her cleavage as a means of control over her life. In actuality, it’s not the woman’s life she’d be controlling with her cleavage – it would be the people around her and the way they perceive her. To take it a step further, she wouldn’t really be controlling her life; she’d be controlling the way people respond to her generously-revealed breasts.

Sorry but cleavage isn’t sexy when it’s free to everyone and no one ever looked down a woman’s blouse thinking she was wise.

Seizing Power

 

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Last week I wrote about the word bossy here as it pertains to women, primarily how it pertains to me. The gist of the post was about how I don’t find the word bossy to be bad. When bossy is used correctly it is necessary.  It describes a female leader. A male is described as a boss but the role is still the same. Since I post here and I link it to my Facebook and Twitter pages I was asked about a term I used. I wrote, “I know myself and I know what I am not. I am not a usurper, meaning I don’t seize power, and I am not emotional.” So that brought about a series of questions.  What is a usurper? And then isn’t a bossy woman seizing power?

Usurp – verb -1.  to seize power by force or without legal right 2. to advance beyond proper established limits or to trespass

First we define bossy – ordering people around, overly authoritative

Notice, bossy isn’t usurping power, it’s using power given, sometimes overly using power, I call this rookie mistakes, but within a legal right. The word boss means a person who makes decisions, exercises authority, dominates. A boss has a legal right. It makes sense though that people would think bossy and usurper would be the same thing, because we don’t understand the context in which power is used, and let’s face it, we don’t like power very much except when we have it. The difference is being bossy doesn’t mean we have the right to rule over someone. It’s not the one who barks orders and is demeaning. That isn’t leadership, that’s what I call the Bull In China Shop kind of person and I’ll discuss that in a later post, this person’s style is emotional.

A person who usurps takes over without right. It’s sad when we see it and it isn’t exclusive to women. I’ve seen men try to take over as many time as I’ve seen women.

In marriage, usurping authority are things like siphoning money from the family budget to buy things we want knowing that our spouse wouldn’t approve. It basks in contradiction, and it brings about disunity.  It’s saying you don’t care what the other person wants, it’s going to be your way. It’s threatening and not caring what is best for the whole, but only what we think is best. It can be abusive.

In business usurping authority is seizing power where it isn’t given. It’s playing CEO without the earned right to be CEO. Just because there is a disagreement over a decision doesn’t mean we gossip, set up teams, poke holes in the boat and try to take over. A bossy woman, may in fact, voice her opinion but ultimately she knows where her role and responsibility begins and ends and she will back the vision up.

 

Christianity Leaves Where Facebook Begins

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It’s not as simple as deleting a post or tweet. – Jake Iversen

I took a break from Social Media at the end of the year. I couldn’t take the whining and complaining and the perfection of selfies anymore. Not just others either, my own. I found myself wanting to respond in a negative way and it was no longer fun, nor good. Social media tends to leave manners at the door, and I was no exception. I have gone back on now and I’ve decided not to engage the meanies nor be one either. Some hot topics I will reserve for dinner conversations, live and in person because I have an opinion but sometimes I need you to hear my tone.

In church for the past month my husband has said every single Sunday, that if we have an issue with a brother, we are to go to that person as directed in the bible, not to Facebook. These are the kinds of things that people see and read and cause them to call us hypocrites.

They’d be right.

We can defend nothing.

We use people like pawns, those people who know nothing about the situation rush to the defense of the person who wrote the “cryptic” message, making the writer feel justified. Those who know what’s going on begin to text and call each other. Sadly it sets up a battle right in the middle of the congregation.

Which is exactly what the person posting wanted to have happen.

They won’t go face to face and confront but

anyone can be an attacker.

And it’s not just the church I attend, or the one you attend, or the one your friend attends, this is acceptable behavior in the Christian community, just as it is in any community these days. Only for us who call ourselves followers of Christ it’s not scriptural nor does it follow the example of Christ. And we think we invoke Jesus justifiably. We’ll preface it by saying, “I’m waiting on God’s will for this situation”, or “Is God trying to tell me something?” “I’m praying about what to do.” Then we proceed with the modern day Holy War. 

So when I took my social media break, I thought about not coming back on. I didn’t want to contribute to the negative stereotypes of Christians and because I have a sarcastic sense of humor and very opinionated views, it doesn’t always translate well on paper. Even more than that, I didn’t like how it made me feel and react.

We need to weigh our words. They aren’t anonymous and you can hurt people with them. You become a publisher and it’s more than ink on a page. It’s there for as long as the Internet is around, and right now, it isn’t going anywhere.

 

 

What I Am Not

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Perhaps, when you and other girls hear bossy, you can think of leadership. Perhaps, bossy could mean someone has an opinion and is comfortable sharing it with other people. Bossy could mean someone has a plan, that someone is bold. Bossy could mean that someone is the boss, a leader!~ Helen Drinan 

There is this movement to ban the word bossy. I’m not a fan. My second grade report card stated, “Susan is extremely bossy…” The grades were straight up good. I received the award for most outstanding student, most outstanding reader, most outstanding in math. Here’s what I remember about my second grade teacher. She spoke very broken English and it was very hard to understand her. I remember asking her to repeat herself many times. I was also a rule follower. She would make a rule and then when children weren’t following it, she’d become exasperated and yell and throw chalk, but never followed through on her point system. So I’d remind her. Someone had to. The black and white thinker that I am was already formed at this age. If you said that you’d take points away if we misbehaved, then I took you at your word and felt that you should.

Bossy doesn’t bother me. Female leaders are often deemed bossy but my thought is hey someone has to be the leader. I can get things done, I work very well with others. All that being said, when my mother read the teacher’s comment to me and asked me about it, she smirked. I think she’s always been understanding of the bossy girl that was born to her. I remember explaining the issues to her. She told me to try to get along with her. I do not remember the term bossy hurting my self esteem nor making me feel less than. I know myself and I know what I am not. I am not a usurper, meaning I don’t seize power,  and I am not emotional. When this teacher would yell and throw chalk I would just watch her and try to understand why she couldn’t take control of her class. I would raise my hand and ask why she didn’t use the point system and write our names on the board. Then she would break chalk on the chalkboard writing all of our names on the board. Obviously she wasn’t bossy.

Here is where the misunderstanding of the word comes in. Men are not called bossy and weak men are intimidated by a woman who know what she wants and knows how to lead. I would never be able to married to a weak man. He would not be an equal and it would be frustrating. My husband is an easy-going, super nice guy but he is anything but weak. Everything I do in our life is discussed with him and I get the okay before I move. E V E R Y T H I N G. Some things are discussed longer than others but ultimately his no is no and his no is honored. He is great about directing me. I am heard and he explains why an idea is a go or not. We work well together because he is a visionary but I am a detailer. So when he gives me an idea, I can make it happen.

Where women like me clash is with the personality of what I call the Bull in the China Shop kind of man. They run around barking orders, and puffing themselves up. They lead by bullying. Bossy and Bullies clash. This is why women in politics and female executives get such a bad rap for the most part. I’ll let that sit.

Getting rid of the word bossy will do absolutely nothing about personality types. We need to focus on directing those bossy second graders to greatness.

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