Monday, June 11, 2012

Balancing it all

There just never seems to be enough time to do all that you need to do. I remember writing in my journal (on more than one occasion), "I feel pulled - pulled in so many directions. My family needs me, the church people have so many needs, my church obligations require a lot of time, my house looks neglected...the list could go on and on!

How can you balance all that you need to do?

Judy Puckett, a former church planter's wife, offers some very wise advice, "In my opinion, being a good wife and mother is our first obligation and primary service to God (Titus 2:5). You are the only wife the pastor has, and the only mother your kids have. Raising godly children and maintaining a happy, comfortable home for your husband is one of the greatest contributions a woman can make to the world. No one else in the church can do your job, so you must do it, and let others do the things you cannot do."

Brenda Lewis, another former church planter's wife, said that she had to constantly remind HERSELF of her priorities. "Never did we want to let our kids feel like they did not have priority.  In turn, as they got older, they began to get involved and take responsibilities and ownership of our church as well.  When we had to change plans to meet church needs, we tried to make it up to them later."

There are no hard and fast rules, but usually we know in our guts when it's time to pull back---but we don't always do it. Sometimes our own expectations and/or the expectations of our husband or even what the church people want can drive us to do too much. Brenda remembers that it was easy as church planters to try to pick up all the pieces when there were not others to do so. She says, "At some point, I had to learn to 'let' others take some responsibility even when I thought I could do the job better myself." 

I'm not saying that I always get it right, but it is wise to learn from your mistakes and the advice of others.

Here's some more wise advice from Judy:

You and your pastor/husband must decide how involved you will be in church activities. These will depend on your spiritual gifts, your home/work obligations, and your unique family situation (i.e., number of children, their ages, your health, and your resources). Of course, you should attend all regular church services when possible, but you cannot and should not be at the center of every ministry the church is involved in. Give others the opportunity to grow by taking the leadership role.

Don’t allow other people to commit you for duties.

If asked, don’t be ashamed to politely decline other obligations. Instead of just saying, “I don’t have time,” thank the person for his/her vote of confidence in you. Explain that you are involved in several ministries (you may want to name them) and that you want to do a few things well rather than try to spread yourself too thin. People will usually understand, but if they don’t, you don’t owe any other explanation.

Making time for all you need/should/could do requires much thought and prayer. I found that making a list of what I am doing and would like to do helps me see it in black and white. Some things may have to be crossed off permanently and some temporarily. The list is constantly changing, so keep re-visiting it to see if what you are doing matches your priorities. I know you know all this, but sometimes it's easy to lose sight of what's most important in the thick of doing ministry.

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