"How do you balance family life and ministry life?" [PART 1]
This has to be possibly THE most frequently asked question in forums like this, and especially by young women in that fabulous season of early motherhood. However having said that, the question applies to pretty much every season of life, because there isn't a season in any of our lives, where we don't (or shouldn't) feel something of the stretch and pressure of that new season.
Have you noticed that one word dominated this first paragraph ... Seasons!!
FAMILY LIFE is full of seasons and MINISTRY LIFE is full of seasons ... and the "art of balance" is to recognize, discern, adapt, navigate, appreciate, be thankful and of course, apply WISDOM to whatever season or "collision of seasons" you are experiencing.
Sometimes the imbalance might be for valid reasons - you might be neglecting something important or you might be honestly going about something in the wrong way ... but I also think that God sometimes allows us to feel "off balance" in order to wake us up and teach us precious lessons.
Example … When we were young and Brian was starting to travel and experience the world AND MINISTRY, I could have easily felt like asking this question. I had to stay home, work, figure the church and look after three young children. Ministry invitations back then didn't offer the spouse a travel ticket, and forget the luxury of mobile phone, skype and instagram.
I remember one early trip where he was going to be away for FOUR WEEKS (Perspective deficit: I momentarily forgot my father married my mum and ten days later went to war for FOUR YEARS) ... Anyway, I remember feeling like there was no consolation prize for being the faithful wife. But God knew better and allowed that moment of intense angst, endless tears and the feeling that there was no one there to console, to be a moment where I sensed His Presence enter my bedroom in the small hours of the night and say, "Bobbie, your reward is with Me". That moment sealed and settled a personal revelation that "time apart" was not going to hurt my family or children because our reward was with Him, which means He watches over us in the good times and also in the times when it's more challenging.
Our kids grew up sharing their parents with ministry. I'm sure there were times when they felt it (and perhaps cried out to God themselves), but I am confident that they have not missed out or had their childhood diminished. In fact, I think they are stronger, better and more flexible human beings because of this environment and I have watched GOD reward my children again and again and again because they approached their parents "ministry" with a sense of personal ownership and release.
That little story is just one example and the answers are endless, so here's a handful of random responses that come to mind:
· DON'T SEPARATE THE TWO ... family and ministry should be beautifully intertwined. God blesses us with children to bring on the journey of life and ministry, and if navigated with wisdom and grace, there doesn't have to be casualties along the way – (and if there have been casualties in your journey, remember that God is the God of the impossible and impossible situations can be redeemed).
· GOD GRACES US FOR BOTH ... Family is critically important to God and so is the extension of His Kingdom in the earth, so seek the Grace ... and you will find it!
· AS A FAMILY, SERVE GOD WITH GLADNESS ... if it becomes a negative issue for you, it'll become a negative issue for your kids.
· MAKE CHURCH/MINISTRY/LIFE FUN and NATURALLY NORMAL ... don't be "super-spiritually intense" (in a weird way), it ultimately turns kids off. It may not show up when they are little, but will when they are more independent as teenagers and young adults.
· Make serving God irresistible and awesome and genuine ... and you'll RAISE A GENERATION WHO PASSIONATELY DRAG THEIR PARENTS TO CHURCH!!
· ADD SPONTENAITY AND ADVENTURE to the journey ...
· Keep stupid/nasty/un-Christlike CHURCH POLITICS away from your children and teenagers ... Little ears are often listening to more than we realize and its potentially harmful for children to see their parents either hurting or contending about stuff
· Pay attention to the SPECIAL SEASONS in your kids or families lives ... Give them your attention and trust God to help you figure your busy schedules (He honours what is right, and paying attention to ones family is important to Him)
· Involve the HOLY SPIRIT ... He's masterful at helping us figure what's important and what isn't.
· FACTOR REST .... Work, rest and play is a healthy combination ... figure what has to be done NOW and what can WAIT till later.
· Apply HEALTH PRINCIPLES to BODY, SOUL AND SPIRIT ... If you start to feel physically or emotionally pressed, you should stop, pay attention, ask God for wisdom, seek godly wisdom from people you admire and whose life inspires, apply the wisdom and PRESS ON!
· APPLY DISCIPLINE … Sometimes a sense of imbalance is because we are actually undisciplined in some things ...
· GET ORGANISED and build more productive hours into your day.
· TOUGHEN UP ... The stretch is so we can GROW IN CAPACITY and fulfil potential ...
· AND NEVER FORGET THE SWEET PERSPECTIVE THAT GOD IS FOR YOU AND IT'S AN HONOUR AND JOY TO BE INVOLVED IN KINGDOM CALLING ...
Well, I'm sure there is more and they'll probably surface in other questions. This is enough for now. Hope it helps someone. Have a glorious day ... See ya in the next post!!!
Click here to read Part 2 of this blog.
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