Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Guilt and Approval

I wish I could say that I have it all together as a pastor's wife. But I am definitely a work in progress, a study in contrasts, as we all are. One example would be how I have such a self-deprecating sense of humor, and honestly feel like my self-esteem is okay, and yet, I care deeply what other people think of me.

Another example is this: I like to advocate for balance in marriage, church, family and "Sara-time," and yet I still feel guilty when I live it out.

 I have a heart for food and hospitality (sometimes), and for discipleship. In ministry, my favorite age group is the young adult crowd. I am not a social butterfly and I do not like schmoozing out on the church lawn after church. I love hearing how people are doing for real, and I love building deep relationships with people, yet that takes time. In women's ministry, I use the motto "I reserve the right to be a participant(and not a pastor's wife!)." In other words, as a pastor's wife, it is easy to get over-worked in lots of really great things. But some of those things may not fall in line with our gifting or passions. If I participated in every good thing, I would have a mental melt-down and possibly end up bitter towards the church or in a "somethings gotta give" situation where my marriage or my kids might be suffering. Therefore, my motto. I participate in bible study and attend the retreats but I try hard to not be on planning committees or go to all the social get togethers, teas and talks. I don't always have to be on the leadership side of things, and I allow myself (in theory) the option of saying no.

I prefer to use my energy and time to invest in those areas that I feel particularly called to and passionate about. The problem with this lies in the faces of the women who I turn down when asked to be a part of said planning committee. The problem with this lies in quiet whispers in the pews when the pastor's wife didn't show up to a much-hyped church event. The problem really, truly, lies in my own heart's desire to be liked by everyone, and that just will never be. That desire fills me with guilt and fear every time I say no to something even though I know I can't do it all. That desire is decidedly not what the bible refers to in Galatians 1:10 when Paul asks himself.."am I now trying to win the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man?"

Though this blog post may not be the most cohesive ever, I hope to raise two challenges by it. The first to those of you in the church who may have been an eye-raiser at one point or another, when someone doesn't serve where you think they should serve or participate when you think they should participate. I fall into this category without question. We cannot judge this and we need to allow people in the church to say no without guilt. Leave it up to the Holy Spirit to get them there if it is God they are running from. But if it is simply a boundary, a choice to focus on one area over another, or just not their thing...it is not up to us to judge. And for the pastor's wives (or anyone actually!)out there, and to this category I also fall, the challenge is to ever strive for a life that pleases God and not man. That is a hard, hard thing and a principal I have yet to master.

Tonight as I write this, sitting next to my sleeping 5-year old, many women from my church are at an event together. I could be there, and it could be a really good thing. But I am not there, and hopefully I am right where I need to be.

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