Some tips for pastors’ wives to avoid the stress of people pleasing.
I chatted with a woman from our congregation the other night. She was so kind and so fun to talk with that time just slipped away from us.
Around the time the conversation was to end (about 7 minutes is my limit), with her best intentions, she said:
“I keep you in my prayers, I know how hard life can be for a pastor’s wife”.
I paused, pondered those words and responded “Actually, my life is rather simple and uncomplicated. But, I appreciate your prayers so much.”
She relented and said: “no, I know you have to deal with so many people and that can’t be easy. I bet they always have something to say”. She chuckled.
My response: “No, it’s not hard. People have very little effect on my life and I care very little about what they say”.
One of my family members heard a bit of this conversation and giggled on his way out of the room. He knows me.
Sounding mean or callous is not my intent. In fact, it never is. I certainly hope you don’t take it that way. But, the truth of the matter is my life is uncomplicated because I choose- no, I’m committed – to make it so.Senior Pastor's Wives: Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10 Click To Tweet
Even before I was married to a pastor, I’ve lived long enough to know that there will always be people judging, commenting and talking. Someone will always “have something to say”. Thank God I have somehow, by His grace, not let them affect me. If I did, I think I’d be depressed and on someone’s anxiety meds.
For example, years and years ago I had one of those situations. I could have chosen to fight back, lash out in defense of myself. But, thank God, He gave me the wisdom to see their spiritual immaturity and He stirred compassion instead of anger. I surrendered that situation to Christ and let Him deal with them. I don’t have time to absorb other people’s issues. Neither do you. It’s better for pastor’s wives to pray for them, feel sorry for their silliness and live pressing toward the mark of His high calling for your life.
I hope you feel the same way. If people want to judge you, ignore them. You be you and focus on maturing in Christianity. Then you focus on your life as a wife. The rest, in my opinion, is just extra. If people don’t want to be around you, reconcile that and say “ok”. Don’t push, struggle and fight for their acceptance. God called you for much more important things than that.
What if Jesus had chased the Pharisees around saying “Hey….talk to me…please accept me…please like me? How foolish of a thought! No, Jesus was confident in His mission and was laser-focused on that and that alone. He was not comparing Himself to them or even worried about them. Follow His example.
Further, banish your need for attention or to have your face on everything. Those things are carnal; those desires for attention derive from something you didn’t get in your life. If could have stemmed from rejection. Whatever the source, get whole. Don’t burden the Kingdom with your need to shine. Only Jesus should shine. Pastor’s wives, in fact, all Christians should want Him to shine.
Instead, allow God to lift you up and exalt you in the hearts of His people. You just be humble. Then, they will be able to turn to you for support and help when they need it. That’s your service – to His people – while all the glory goes straight to Him. The best part is if no one knows all you do, fine. You don’t live for them. You live for God and that keeps your life uncomplicated. His yoke is easy, but the burden of people is not.
You know, anything can be complicated if you allow it to be.
Driving can be complicated if you close your eyes. So you open them.
Eating can be complicated if you don’t chew. So you do.
Talking can be complicated if you don’t open your mouth. So you speak loudly and express yourself.
Being married to a senior pastor can be complicated if you lock your eyes on people, overly focus on your own needs and care too much what people think.
Eschew the complicated; embrace the simplicity of freedom in Christ. Amen? Amen.
|Leading and Loving It: Encouragement for Pastors’ Wives and Women in Leadership
By Lori Wilhite & Brandi Wilson / FaithWords
Being a woman in ministry, whether you are partnering with your husband in his calling or serving in your own leadership role, is challenging. While serving as mentors, counselors, advisors, and even cheerleaders, women carry numerous responsibilities. Lori Wilhite and Brandi Wilson know about this first-hand as the wives of two well-known pastors in America.
Everyone has an image in their mind of what they think a pastor’s wife should be. The trouble with this picture is that it has never been and never will be accurate. Ministry wives and female ministry leaders face the same real-life struggles as their church members, but have the added stress of sharing in everyone’s burdens as well. They are held to impossible standards by those they serve, and the more this ideal of women in leadership is expected, the more we turn up the intensity in the pressure cooker that is life in ministry.
In Leading and Loving It, Lori Wilhite and Brandi Wilson offer a support system to help women make connections to get the encouragement that sustains them and become equipped for the ministry God has called them to pursue. They give readers tools for understanding that external pressures and expectations are only important if they fall in line with what God intends for your life and ministry and they give answers for how to deal with criticism, isolation, finding your personal calling, what happens when you reach a place of burn-out, and more.