Does this look like a group of pastor’s wives to you? Does this group look armed and dangerous?
I’m really hoping you answered “no” on both accounts…..(though it might be kinda cool to look armed and dangerous for a day:))
Last week I had the honor of attending a retreat for pastor’s wives in Nashville, TN. That may sound like the most boring thing on planet to you if you have the stereo-typical picture of a pastor’s wife surging through your brain. You might be thinking it went something like this: sit in a circle and share quotes from the Bible, practice our piano playing, put each other’s hair in buns, measure the hemlines on each other’s skirts to make sure it’s appropriate, share new ways to be your husband’s secretary, the children’s pastor, lead the music, and women’s ministry all at the same time.
Our retreat had a Charlie’s Angels theme and went down like this: meet other ministry wives in teams such as “The A-Team”, “Mash”, and “Chips”. Enjoy deliciousness from the chocolate fountain, complete a mission impossible task “Amazing Race” style around downtown Nashville, play “Just Dance” and “Rock Band”, worship with top-notch musicians, stay up late into the night having a great time, all with awesome conversations and prayer times in between. Meet a marketing executive from Century Fox and discuss how to have a stronger voice in Hollywood. Listen to some super awesome pw’s speak on very relevant and encouraging topics. And most importantly, make new friends.
The gals I met are an absolute blast! A breath of fresh air! And a force to be reckoned with! Why, you say? I’m so glad you asked:)
Many women, not just in ministry, but everywhere, live their lives on the go and isolated at the same time. We go, go, go, perform, perform, perform, and live isolated, isolated, isolated! Sure, there are many people around, and we have some good friends, but how frequently do we let them into what’s really going on in our lives? How frequently do we go out and just have fun with them? Isolation is a destroyer. When we are isolated, we are weak, lonely, depressed, prone to anxiety, and vulnerable to the lies the enemy whispers in our ears…..”you have to be perfect”, “no one cares how you feel”, “don’t bring anyone else down with your problems” , “if they knew the real you, they’d RUN”, “they’re too busy to listen to you”, “no one understands”, “you’re the only one who feels this way”. LIES, LIES, LIES!
On the flip side, when we open our hearts to a dear friend, it breaks the isolation, setting us free from the power of those lies. Someone else is there to speak truth to the nonsense, listen to the real issue, and maybe just make you laugh! You might already have people in your life who have similar values, understand the shoes you walk in, and that you trust, but you might not. You might have to reach outside of yourself to find those people, but it’s not only worth it, it’s life-changing! I implore women around me not to remain in isolation. You may think it feels good to withdraw, hide in the bedroom, and pretend everything is okay. Or you may be around people all the time, but choose to never really let anyone in, to “self-preserve”. But that behavior will set the tone for a downward spiral, a vortex of depression, and an intense state of loneliness.
I have so many great people in my life that I am thankful for; friends in my church, outside my church, in OH, KY, and other states even. God has now added a number of friends in the ministry that are an encouragement to me. There is power in laughter, openness, and the linking of arms with others who share your passions.
And, I learned some really cool things this week:
1. I can run a mile and half in 90 degree weather in jeans without puking.
2. I can learn to line dance, and enjoy it….who knew?
3. I’m not the only “not your typical pastor’s wife” (I actually knew that, but it was awesome to see so many of them!)
4. How to be a thermostat and not a thermometer in my home (more to come on that, thank you to the awesome Lisa Young!”
5. Not to let fear establish the limits of my life (more to come, thank you Brandi Wilson!)
6. There is opportunity for community all around us, if we’re willing to seek it out! (Thank you Lori Wilhite)
A real and growing relationship with God and consistently infusing His Word into my life are number one, but linking arms with those around me is definitely next in line for keeping my attitude, perspective, emotional health, and decision-making in check. I didn’t even realize what I was missing in the ministry area of my life and you might not either! If you have a church home, dig in! Serve, join a group, take it to the next level. Darting in and out will not build community in your life. If you don’t have a church home, find one! There are so many different flavors out there and there’s one that suits you!
Say “no” to isolation. You too, will be armed and dangerous: a warrior for the Kingdom of God!