a thick skin & a tender heart

I wish I’d thought of this phrase on my own. (I didn’t)

I’ve read it in several pastor’s-wife/ministry-women blogs now; sometimes I love the way it’s used, and sometimes I hate it. (I’m difficult like that.)

here’s the thing: I’ve always hated the idea of having “thick skin“. something about the term makes my toes curl and fists ball. I guess it’s just always seemed dull and numb to me, the idea of having thick skin. it’s reminded me of people who are distant, unfeeling… people who it’s impossible to offend simply because of their apathy, all shut up in themselves like a boarded off and condemned home. it’s just seemed… well… depressing.

so when I heard this phrase (a thick skin & a tender heart) something inside of me rose to meet it. it felt biblical. it felt strong and kind. it felt… right.
thick skin tender heart

if you are a woman who serves in ministry as a form of leadership, you know the pain and heartache and hurt that can come from the idle hands and loose tongues of those who don’t have the same weight on their shoulders.

leadership & ministry are hard. put them together, and it’s pretty much a minefield of either teary nights for the tender-hearted lady or power struggles for the thick-skinned woman.

but picture a godly, amazing woman for a moment. a woman whose beauty shines bright because she is able to extend grace to the untidy soul, reclaim peace for her own unsettled heart, and speak truth into the stubborn life. this is a woman with thick skin and a tender heart.

here are four ways you can be a woman with a thick skin and a tender heart in your field of ministry:

1.) be a woman of the Word, not a woman of the world.
women of the word are understanding of the human condition. they are understanding of their own shortcomings. most importantly, they are understanding of the heart of their God, because they spend their time at His feet. all of this understanding leads to an attitude of grace & forgiveness towards those who hurt her.

2.) don’t apologize for having your heart hurt. but don’t harbor the hurt, either.
being hurt is no sin. harboring this hurt and allowing it to make you bitter or fill you with a grudge IS a sin. speak your truth and be honest when you have been wounded. and then make like Elsa and let that crap go.

3.) take the reigns: be firm. be true.
you have the responsibilities you have for a reason: wise people have seen your potential and believe that you are the right person for the job. it’s your responsibility to wield your power with grace and truth. and that means putting your foot down and taking a stand on the truth of the Word when you need to. don’t be afraid to take control where you need to take it and lead others when they need to be lead. and then follow up on what you say you’ll do. speak truth. speak firmly. know your responsibility, and walk in it.

4.) stay humble; the teacher can always be taught.
know your humanity, and be willing to admit it. it’s hard for a follower of Christ to argue with a woman who knows her human-ness and is willing to continue to learn and grow into the image of Jesus! if you are humble, if you are teachable, others will want to be taught by you.

may we all have a thick skin & a tender heart ❤

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