for those who don't want to just wait it out

like the song says this is a blog for someone who wants to say something (anything) and who's happy to wait and see what time will bring...

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Reason # 5 - Um, I might be scary?

A couple of years ago I was getting a lift back to a campsite that a group of us were staying at, when one of the guys in the car was talking about his first impressions of meeting me. He said he'd thought I was scary, that he had (initially) felt intimated - partly by my personality and partly being knowing what I do for a 'job'. He said something along the lines of not being sure how to approach me (even in just a friendship context) and that it took a while to get over his preconceived notions. I was SHOCKED! Me? Intimidating? Considering I know myself, and I know my weaknesses and insecurities it was hard to see how this apparently confident, secure and self assured individual could have felt that way. But he isn't alone is he? We all have different notions about what a person might be like before we actually dig a little deeper and get to know them.

So I've saved the trickiest reason for why I am currently single for the last of these series of posts. It's one that, although I have theories about (naturally), I don't really have any answers or conclusions to give. This one is out of my hands so, if they're bold enough, I'll leave it to the boys to respond to...

Here goes, reason # 5 for singleness: because I'm in full time (paid) ministry.

I was 'warned' while at college that it would be harder. I was told that Christian women in ministry are almost 3 times more likely to stay single than their male counterparts. That guys find it much harder to ask out a female in paid ministry for any number of reasons. Two of the biggest being a feeling of intimidation or an uncertainty about whether they can lead a woman who leads others.

It sucks. I don't like it but I think I knew what I was getting in for when I started so I'm not really complaining, just stating what I see as a contributing factor.

I get it - but I don't. Feel free to enlighten me guys...

PS - here ends this series of posts; next week, preaching conference and the Word.


  • At 1:20 pm, Anonymous alex said…

    Well, being a girl, I'm not going to answer your question. But I will say thanks for a great series, Jodi! I've appreciated your thoughts.

  • At 1:56 pm, Blogger Lunch said…

    I think a lot of guys would find it intimidating.

    But I also think a lot of guys are a little bit on the soft side.

  • At 8:14 pm, Blogger jodi said…

    any particular reason lachlan? (for the intimidating rather than soft?)

    - or anyone else for that matter...

  • At 8:33 pm, Blogger Lunch said…

    How did I know you would ask for clarification!

    I guess the idea of leading a woman who leads others is one reason. But there could be many more besides.

    I don't know that I can be any clearer than that coz I've never had to deal with this issue first hand, and if I ever had to -- before I got married, of course -- I'd like to think that I wouldn't have had a problem with it.

    I guess also it may narrow down the options to a guy seeking to work in ministry also? Further diminishing the pool, so to speak.

  • At 12:20 am, Blogger timbo said…

    Lunch is married, so i might chime in.

    One issue I'm having at the moment is the issue of leading someone. Not the issue of me being ready, but one of the other persons readiness to be lead.

    - Sensitive content starts here -

    A while ago I was in a relationship, and the reason it ended was because she refused to be lead.
    I was willing and able to lead [I really wanted to do it, and well!], but on every occasion my enthusiasm was met with unwillingness.
    Don't know what that adds to the discussion, but I'm still quite confused by how the whole situation unfolded, and [with a Christian Girlfriend] why it happened for that matter.

    - Sensitive content ends here -

    But, on a lighter note, I have never found you either scary or intimidating jodi!

  • At 3:27 am, Blogger EmP said…

    Jodi, I've actually been a long term reader of your blog (mainly coz Alex refers to it and i feel out of the loop if i don't know what she's talking about) but have yet to comment! Until now.

    I think this final reason was the first thing that came to my mind when you first proposed to answer the question of "why am i single?" And not for you, Jodi, specifically but for all the amazing christian woman i know who are part of full-time paid ministry and are single.
    In reponse to Tim's comment; it is a struggle for any woman to be ready to be led just as it's a struggle for us to constantly put our trust and reliance on God and not on our own strength. But I do think that it really comes down to the two people in the relationship. I don't know whether it's personalitiy types or what but there are always going to be certain people where the struggle isn't as hard. But you're right it's a two way thing both people in the relationship have to desire to own the roles God has bestowed on us and strive towards living that out.
    And i guess (guessing- because I'm NOT a guy) that there can be the assumption that a woman who "works" as a leader and leading comes naturally to them won't be able to submit to a guy. But that's rubbish! If any woman can submit, it's someone who is grounded in their trust and knowledge of God and his guidance which has led them to serve Him in full-time ministry. The assumption that those who lead can't be led is so far from the truth and i think that thinking needs to change. And if it does maybe guys will be less intimidated by women in full-time ministry.
    But Jodi if I'm going to be totally honest here I have to say that I personally did find you intimidating and slightly scary when I first started to get to know you back in 1st year. But that's definitely more a reflection on me rather than you ;) Now it's just your tough questions that scare me not you!

  • At 3:40 am, Blogger EmP said…

    Ok I know I already wrote a fat comment but I forgot to mention one other thing that Lunch brought up;

    "I guess also it may narrow down the options to a guy seeking to work in ministry also? Further diminishing the pool, so to speak."

    If a woman is in full-time paid ministry does that mean her husband should be too? Is that the ideal?

  • At 10:54 am, Blogger timbo said…

    Like Payne, I think that most guys need to get their act together and grow up!

    There are only a handful of people that Men [Boys] should be scarred of, and a woman in paid ministry is not one of them. [if they are men?]

    I'm thinking that being in a relationship with an woman in ministry would be more of an opportunity to really support one of God's amazing ministries? [thats the way I see it anyway]

    After all, ministers are not any more holy than the rest of us, they just know how to speak a little Greek!

  • At 2:20 pm, Blogger Chris Marson said…

    This whole thing is Greek to me timbo.

  • At 8:26 pm, Blogger jodi said…

    Aha - the insights start rolling in. A couple of return comments from me then:

    Tim - first up let me say 'sorry' (if i may) for your negative experience of what it means to lead someone. I can understand that it must be tough for guys to work it out - particularly in a society that constantly tries to confuse our God given gender roles.

    Another difficulty being the fact that until the "I do's" are actually said the issue of leadership (in my opinion) has to be at increasing levels so that the messiness of it all has to be worked out as you go. To be honest I would not automatically submit to a man that I am not married to - but I would certainly hope that as our relationship progresses so would the levels of his leadership (and my submission) as we seek the best for each other...

    Em - I appreciate your comments and thanks for starting to post! And thanks too for your honesty about saying that you initially found me scary - maybe you could tell me a little about it sometime so that I can think about areas to improve how I first appear to people. One of your comments taps into a little of my thinking too - that (perhaps) a woman who leads others is more likely to submit because, after all, what 'she' theoretically does is spend time serving others in a full time capacity...

    Em and Lachlan - 'narrowing down the options' (so to speak) about who to date is a toughy. In ministry or out? I constantly waver on this issue. As much as it may sound like a cop out, I really do think it depends on the guy. It would have to be someone who wholeheartedly supports me being in ministry. Is that more likely to be someone who is themselves in ministry? Perhaps... Either way, yep - it still "diminishes the pool"

  • At 10:13 pm, Blogger Lunch said…

    For what it's worth, Jodi, I find you incredibly frightening.

    Just kidding ....

  • At 4:25 pm, Blogger Louisa said…

    I'm a little nervous about posting, given my last experience (!) however I think I have something I'd like to say that I hope is helpful.

    As a woman in vocational Christian ministry, married to an architect - the journey so far as shown me that a person's character, integrity and commitment to serving Jesus wherever he calls us has proven more significant than the issue of Mark not being in vocational Christian ministry. It's not always easy doing ministry as a woman because many of the structures are set up in ways that work for men and these sometimes make it difficult for women. (I am not talking about women & mens roles in church just some of the structural stuff.) Through the journey so far I am trying to work out what ministry might look like for me as a woman, but having a husband who supports me 100% and is willing to follow the call God has placed on our lives has proven to be an immense blessing.

    I could say a lot more on this topic, but instead I will just say this - marry a man who loves Jesus, who loves you and is willing to go where God calls. Ministry or not.

  • At 4:33 pm, Blogger Lunch said…

    Amen to that.

  • At 12:48 pm, Blogger timbo said…

    Louisa, I echo Lunch, Amen.

    But that brings me back to another comment I made.

    "I think that most guys need to get their act together and grow up! [as Christian men]"
    But maybe ill tackle that topic on my Blog.

  • At 3:36 pm, Blogger Lunch said…

    A little bit of self promotion from T. Stevens.

  • At 6:48 pm, Blogger jodi said…

    tim, you just ignore lachlan - promote away. i for one will be very curious to read what your thoughts are.


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