Shame Is An Ineffective Motivator

animal print shoes

There is an epidemic of shaming others into service or change that unnerves me.

After spending last week with some ministry wives and hearing stories that were ABSURD, I felt like it was time to shed light on what is no longer working in leadership.

A friend of mine is young, gorgeous, and loves God with all of her heart. Not only that, she absolutely loves her role as a pastor’s wife and spent her whole life preparing for what she is doing now. She also is fashionable and likes funky, high heels.

Recently, she had a woman confront her about wearing “stripper shoes” and even told her that her shoes were causing her to have PTSD because of her “former” lifestyle.

This pastor’s wife was hurt because she felt misunderstood, but she worked through all of that and ending up having a conversation with this lady that brought them together and addressed the lady’s real issue. It wasn’t about another woman’s shoes; it was deeper than that.

It was a heart issue.

It’s always a heart issue.

The term modern day pastor’s wife was used to describe me recently in a wonderful conversation. Honestly, I was so surprised by this. I don’t feel modern and I’m even good with being misunderstood, so I don’t mind clarifying my calling and season. This is what we can do to come together and love each other well: communicate clearly why we can’t just conform to personal opinions.

This modern day woman feels an urgency of living in what I believe are “the last days.” Jesus is coming back, y’all. We have work to do.

I choose obedience over modern. Loving and letting go instead of harboring offenses.
My heart is stirred to do the work that I do while supporting you as well.

It’s important to ask ourselves some clarifying questions when it comes to leading. This is something I do almost daily.

Am I pushing an agenda or meeting a need?

Am I longing to reach a different demographic or generation, but continuing to do the same things expecting different results?

Meeting a need will always be the precursor to filling seats. After all, this is about souls not egos. 

Ask yourself your “why” for having or adding another event or obligation.

Spirit-led trumps “should” always.

This generation is a slave to the calendar. I want frustration to no longer be your fuel. Somehow lost in translation, this thing of showing up to church and serving became a noose around a few necks. And as much as I hate to even type this…they love Jesus but had stopped loving the church.

Maybe it’s because I have served in just about every capacity in the church that I wholeheartedly reject the shaming approach to servanthood. Not because I don’t love working in different roles, but because I love serving in the right roles.

Shame is the most ineffective tactic for recruiting workers and boosting attendance. It’s not very helpful for trying to motivate leaders either.

I want to spend my days well and I want to listen to the Holy Spirit, that is why I will opt for doing what I can and what I am called to do over being seen and keeping up appearances.

Almost seven months ago, I was asked to step into a role that was clearly God’s plan, but one person attacked me and it broke my heart. During that time, my mom woke up in the middle of the night multiple times to pray me through this, and hear from God when my heart was too cloudy to say yes to the hard things. Mom told me to feed God’s sheep because that is the talent God has given me. How can you argue with that solid, scriptural advice? The word of God will always be stronger hurt feelings.

My husband told me just the other day that ideas fade, but callings don’t. It’s because they are not allowed to. The gifts and that crazy, holy call you feel tugging on your heart are irrevocable, so don’t try to hand it back to God just because you found this whole thing weighty and weird. Not everyone is going to applaud you for stepping in the roles that God has called you to. That’s okay. Love them anyway.

Be a sheep feeder. (John 21:17)

Wear those strappy shoes.

Let her serve faithfully where she fits and trust in the God that is leading her just like he’s leading you.

Untie her hands, and yours, because you both need each other.

Take “should” off the table and you will find your “why” for getting up every morning. It’s the best feeling in the world and so fulfilling.

Being modern is so overrated, but living the obedient life and loving others well will never, ever go out of style.

We are in this together, I need you.

So much love to you,

Jennifer

“For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” (Romans 11:29 ESV)

11 thoughts on “Shame Is An Ineffective Motivator

  1. Jennifer, If I were near you I would give you a big hug and tell you thanks for your transparency and realness. As a fellow Pastor’s wife I have struggled with being the me God has called me to be in contrast to what others would have me be. I think the lost and the struggling need to see real people serving God in a uniquely designed way. It is then that we draw men to Christ.

    1. Oh wow, I completely get this because I have lived it. Keep being who God has created you to be and know that is more than enough! Big hugs to you. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  2. “It’s always a heart issue.” Absolutely right. And those heart issues – those heart needs – are only solved by the One who created our hearts. Only He can answer these questions. When we RELEASE ourselves from the responsibility of solving the issues, of answering the questions, of pleasing the ones who attempt to shame us…when we allow God to be God, the more free we are to do His will…even if it doesn’t make sense to everyone else.

  3. Great word Jennifer. Three things I love in this, and they were all from the same paragraph. (For me, the rest of the article was also good, but these 3 thoughts stood out the most. 1) Ideas fade, but callings don’t. It’s because they are not allowed to. 2) The gifts and that crazy, holy call you feel tugging on your heart are irrevocable, so don’t try to hand it back to God just because you found this whole thing weighty and weird. 3) Not everyone is going to applaud you for stepping in the roles that God has called you to. That’s okay. Love them anyway.- So well written. – Thank you.

  4. Thank you Jennifer. I really needed to read your blog this morning! My heart weighs heavy for work related things & the words of wisdom in this spoke directly to my own heart issue. God bless you & all your ministries!

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