Do you ever get the irresistible urge to laugh during a serious moment? Chalk it up to immaturity, but I find myself in these moments frequently. I was in church recently during the pinnacle of a lesson and discovered a large spider slowly crawling up the speaker’s shirt.
The word refresh means “to give new strength or energy to; reinvigorate.” With technology we refresh our devices – we restore their settings and clean out clutter so they function better. We need to refresh and restore our souls so we function better. Everyone around me is looking forward to having vacations or family reunions, but now that we are freer to enjoy life “as we think it should be,” how will you refresh your soul?
Knowing the by design ministries’ mission “to develop women who are servant leaders for the equipping of God’s church and the enlarging of His Kingdom” was freeing, as I wasn’t being recruited for something new but being fed, encouraged, and equipped to go back to my home church and serve where God had called me.
In a quick Google search, you can easily find multiple studies that speak of the loneliness and isolation that can come along with being in ministry leadership. Leaders are often overextended, lacking in support staff, and so focused on serving others that they can forget to actually jump into the communities they are bringing together. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I know that, for myself, the first things to go when I am stressed or busy are spending time with God and quality fellowship with others.
In my skewed thinking, however, I put most of my energy first into ministry and expected my closest loved ones to understand and be satisfied with my “leftovers.” As tension mounted, I absurdly prayed that the Holy Spirit would reduce the amount of “need” my loved ones had for me in order to match the amount of “free time” I had available for them. Never underestimate the evil of over commitment!
No man is an island, but it’s possible that in ministry we might feel like we’re isolated on one sometimes. The New England reality we all know is that our churches and ministries are typically not very large. The role that you are serving in most likely has some element of solitariness to it. Especially in the particular responsibilities you carry. Especially in leadership.
Women in leadership in ministry and beyond tend to be at a crossroads of expectations. They are often expected to be both meek and strong, in charge but not bossy, compassionate but not too emotional, in control but not heavy-handed, etc. This can create pressure to be perfect, to put on a facade, or to be “on” all the time. This becomes exhausting.