Matters of the Heart

People’s attitudes have changed since God has started using me
I am a young woman, active in my church youth group, and am sometimes asked to speak. It’s an honour to serve God in this way. I also get invited to speak at other church youth groups which is humbling. However, I have two questions for you. Firstly, how do I deal with my friendship group, who have changed since God has started using me more. They don’t seem as accessible; don’t invite me out as often; and sometimes make snide remarks like “There’s more to life than ministry” or “Haven’t you noticed most female ministers are single?” or “Don’t think you’re better than us just because you’re preaching.” And secondly, jealousy. Ever since God started elevating me, I have noted that (some) people have changed their attitude towards me; are not as friendly; and are accusing me of becoming too “full of myself”. I don’t understand it, as I’m the same woman I’ve always been. Please advise.
Shenika, Luton

Pastor Yvonne: Thank you for your questions. It made me think about how we as church see ministry and prepare individuals for it. If there is a call on your life and your leaders are using you in ministry, there should be some form of mentoring to develop you — even if it is informal. You should receive clear directions to transition. We can tend to put those we see as anointed on pedestals and engage in ‘people worship’. Maybe the friends who have started treating you differently assume you may want homage and are making it clear that is not going to happen. They may resent your growth and spiritual progress and may actually be jealous. Please know that a good friend sticks closer than a brother; maybe God is weeding people out of your life.

Let me share with you what I have discovered about ministry. As ministers, we become servants of God’s people, not people becoming our servants. The onus is on us to build relationships with people. We have to therefore constantly examine our attitude and character and ensure that we are portraying Christ. Self-examination, meditation and prayer are in order. Is there any truth in the opinion that you are full of yourself? If it’s not true, then move on. You can earn the respect of others through your conduct. “I know the thoughts I think towards you,” saith the Lord “to give you an expected end.” Finally, I encourage you to live for an audience of one.

When will it be my turn to get married?
I am 45, a lone parent of two children, never married or lived with a man, and have been a Christian for several years. However, for the past few months I have found attending church demoralising. Almost every week there’s an announcement of someone either getting engaged, married or a christening. Hearing this good news makes me ask God: “When will it be my turn to marry?” I have become so demoralised I have stopped attending church on a few occasions and started questioning my faith. Why is it God answers my other prayers but not my prayer for marriage? I would really welcome your guidance as I’m at my wits end and thinking the only way to move forward is not go to church and, instead, watch an online service at a different church. 
Mary, Bedford

Pastor Yvonne: I have written multiple answers to your question. I can genuinely see your predicament and know that your feelings are real. Did church take control of your life and the responsibility for the outcomes that you cite in your question? The Church is there to support and build you up as you build your personal relationship with Christ. I encourage you to recommit your life and ask Him to lead and order your steps. Your main task is to listen to God and take action. Continue to develop yourself spiritually and naturally. Get involved in the activities in your church and local community as a way of giving back. What are your interests and what do you do in your downtime? Don’t stay away from church; find someone you can talk to about what you are feeling. None of this means you will find a spouse, but you will be living your best life.

If you would like help with a problem, email editor@keepthefaith.co.uk. Your details will not be published.

Pastor Yvonne Brooks is a co-pastor at New Jerusalem Community Church, Birmingham, and founder of Woman of Purpose, a ministry that encourages women to fulfil their purpose. She is also a speaker and author. For more details, visit www.yvonneelizabethbrooks.com

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