Very recently, I missed an important event to one of my closest friends. And let me just be honest; I’ve missed a lot of important events. Not intentionally, but none of that matters to the one who’s upset that you didn’t make it…again! I’ve beat myself up about it, and it doesn’t get any easier, cause every missed event reminds me just how much I suck at being a friend.
Now that you know how terrible of a friend I am, let me state my case. I figure, since you too, are a woman in ministry, maybe you can better relate to my struggle. I don’t make excuses for my lack of attendance or participation, but I have to be honest about where I am in this season of my life. So much has changed with in the last 5 years.
When I finally surrendered to the call of pastoring on my life, I had no idea of the type of demands, responsibilities or sacrifices it would require of me and from me. I realize that everyone doesn’t have my struggle, but starting a church from ground zero is not easy. One because, you’re building, while others have already built and are enjoying the luxuries of having everything and everyone in place.
I’ve found that when you’re in a building season, it requires a lot of attention, commitment and sacrifices. For me, being a pastor who doesn’t have everything in place yet, I don’t have the freedoms and flexibilities that I had before saying Yes to God! I don’t get to wake up on Sunday mornings and say, “I don’t feel like going to church today.” No, I have to go even if I don’t feel like it. I don’t get to take many weekend trips out of town that would require me to miss Sundays from church. And one of the hardest realities is—I don’t get to go to all the fun and important events that family and friends are having, at the same time, something is going on within the church. This of course, leaves me feeling like an awful person, and on the other hand, makes a lot of people disappointed and upset with me, which adds another whole stack of weights on my shoulders.
It would be so much easier, if everybody in your life or circle could really see your heart and the struggles you deal with internally, when it comes to choosing your calling and your assignment first. Even though it hurts, I’m learning to accept some real truths about myself and my situation. Here’s a couple…
These are my truths-
1. I am not as available as I use to be. I have way more responsibilities and a lot of people demanding my time and attention.
2. My memory is not long term. I will not remember events, birthdays and other important dates without an invite to post up somewhere, and/or seeing it on a calendar. If someone tells me something in passing, more than likely I’m going to forget.
3. I’m just one person. Can’t do it all. Can’t be everywhere.
4. I’m tired of apologizing. (This was just a venting moment. Read it and forget I said it).
Learning how to balance life and ministry is definitely a challenge, but today is not about balance. Today I want to let you know that just because others think you’re wrong or even yourself, for not showing up, you’re not always wrong. As a matter of fact, I want to show you in the word, where you’re probably more right than wrong. It just doesn’t always feel good.
Luke 9: 57-62 NKJV
57 Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.”58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”59 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” 61 And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” 62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Here’s what I’m learning more and more, as I walk this journey…
1. The call of God on your life really does cost. Not just money, but sometimes time, family, friends, and rest, just to name a few.
2. Sometimes choosing to follow God will cause you to miss important events with family, friends and others. It’s not on purpose, but it’s your purpose, and others may not understand it, and can I just be honest…sometimes I don’t either. It doesn’t always feel good to be judged by others who have no idea the internal struggles you are already battling, trying to just be obedient to the call of God on your life. There’s a quote that says, “Don’t judge me until you’ve walked in my shoes or lived a day in my life.”
3. Sometimes the call of God will literally make you say “good-bye” to some people. There will be people that you will have to let go, in order to move forward. Your life and theirs are going in two different directions and where you’re going, everybody can’t go and truthfully, don’t want to go.
So ladies…there’s my story; my truth. I’m sure we can use help with balancing life and ministry and I will definitely try harder to be available when I can, but when I can’t, I can’t and I have to be OK with the choice I made to follow Christ.
I pray that my truth has encouraged those of you who struggle with not always being available for others because your ministry and calling requires your full attention and commitment. You’re not heartless. You’re not insensitive or unsupportive. This season of ministry is just a little more demanding of your time and attention. If no one else understands, know that I do.