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Can I Laugh On Your Shoulder?

Aug 21, 2019

Sharon Hodde Miller is an author, speaker and church planter who is passionate about cultivating the gifts of women through ministry. In addition to leading Bright City Church in Durham, NC with her husband Ike, she has released two books: Why Life is Better When it’s Not about You (2017), and Nice: Why We Love to Be Liked and How God Calls Us to More (2019). Join me to hear Sharon’s wisdom about the power of our words, speaking with bold conviction, and how we can change our “nice” habits into substantive kindness.

4:30 - The Sharon 101

  • Sharon decided to pursue a doctoral degree in Educational Studies to find out what motivates women to go to seminary when so few women are in seminary.
  • After working in ministry from some time, Sharon realized that women build platforms from their stories. Sharon felt that the best way to be a good steward of her platform was to pursue formal theology education and training.
  • After finishing seminary at Duke Divinity School, where the gender breakdown was fairly even, she pursued a PhD from Trinity Evangelical Divinity school, where there were far fewer women.
  • Sharon made it her mission to figure out what was working for women who were already studying to earn a Master of Divinity degree.
  • Most of Sharon’s research came from STEM fields, and the common thread for both women in STEM and the ministry field was that someone identified their passions and encouraged them to think about pursing them.

12:51 - Your Words Have Power

  • It doesn’t matter if you yourself are in a place of visible leadership, we all have the life-changing ability to encourage others to step into their God-ordained gifts.
  • We know words are powerful because we are made in the image of God, and God SPOKE creation into existence. God can use our journey, no matter how big or small.
  • It’s freeing to know that we don’t have to handle everything on our own. God will never give us more than HE can handle.

17:31 - On Being A Nice Christian Girl

  • It can be rewarding to be the “nice Christian girl.” Sharon recognized quickly that she earned a lot of praise this way, but started questioning whether she was honoring Jesus, or seeking the good feelings for herself. 
  • She noticed this question creeping back up again as she became involved in ministry. She sees it now when she feels the Holy Spirit prompting her to write about something difficult or controversial.
  • People love hearing about spiritual discussions that help them through their private life, but many people don’t like controversial topics pertaining to what Jesus speaks about in the bible.
  • Sharon’s most recent book NICE came to be when she started examining these questions centered around the nice Christian girl image that looks like the real thing but is motivated by something else.
  • Jesus talks about knowing a tree by its fruit. It’s important to know the bad fruits of niceness. We also have to be careful not to reward people for the same bad fruits. 

24:00 - How God Calls Us To More

  • If we excuse bad behavior in leaders because they are nice to us, we’re not loving the people under their leadership well.
  • There can be pushback when you speak about God’s heart, but that’s what we should be talking about. It’s a natural overflow of loving Jesus and wanting to serve him.
  • We have to be careful in these moments not to be angry or self-righteous. God calls those to correct the people who listen to us without becoming sanctimonious.
  • It’s important to understand the difference between being nice and being kind. Kindness has conviction, niceness does not. Niceness will appease or shatter and is replaced by cynicism.

47:19 - Getting To Know Our Guest