downsizing and unloading

>> April 14, 2010

Here I go again…It is the middle of April, and my life is about to go into a tailspin. There’s my Family Presentations for the evangelistic series to prepare for, VBS to plan, campmeeting to direct, the school year to finish, Eager Beaver Investiture to coordinate, Pathfinder Camporee to attend, etc….. Am I a “typical” PW, or am I the only that does this to myself?

This came to mind after reading Rachael’s post about simplicity (see Monday’s post). I love the Dick and Jane books, and I truly appreciated Rachael’s reminder to live simply. The main reason I quit my job as a teacher 2 years ago was to simplify my life. My hubby and I both felt like life was out of control, and that we and our children were suffering. We found we were just reacting to life, rather than living purposefully. We wanted to be more intentional and proactive with our boys’ upbringing, as well as our ministry. We knew that living off of one income would be tantamount to financial suicide, and that we would have to downsize. In fact, we lost our home over it. However, my husband and I agree that our lives are much more peaceful and simple now than ever before.

Yet, I find myself filling my plate with too many church responsibilities. When I was working full-time, I could excuse myself from duties without guilt or explanation. But now that I’m “not working” people expect more from me. The fact is, even though life may be simpler, I am busier now than I ever was! And to top it off, my house is even messier because we are home (there’s more opportunity to mess it up!). Yes, I am loving the quality time with my children and husband. But I have to constantly pray to God that He will help me to “downsize” my agenda.

As PWs, we fall into the trap that in order to be a part of our husbands’ ministry, we have to be actively involved. I do believe we have the responsbility to work in our churches, as much as every believer. But we need to remember that (in most cases) our husbands are the ones getting paid--not us. The most essential role we have as PWs is to support our husbands, holding them accountable to God and their family, and to bring up our children in a loving, godly home. We have to guard ourselves from the guilt of saying, “I’m sorry, but no.” But easier said than done, right?

God doesn’t want us to overload ourselves so that we can feel important, or because we think we can do it better than anyone else, or because we need to feel validated and affirmed. He does, however, want us to serve where He leads us to serve. So my challenge to myself, and to my fellow PWs, is to downsize and unload. Downsize the to-do list of meaningless tasks. Unload our shoulders of unnecessary responsibilities. Unload our minds of the guilt of not doing enough. Unload our plates of the burden of meeting everyone’s expectations.

Jesus said: "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:29-30.

What has God led you to downsize and unload in your life?

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Anonymous,  April 14, 2010 at 12:34 PM  

I had a similar "downsizing" in my life a year ago. I nearly had a nervous breakdown. After vomiting daily for 2 months & suffering numerous panic attacks where my entire body would go numb from all the stress of working full time, trying to be mom to 3 kids under the age of 4 and a PW of a church plant, we decided that I should quit my managerial job that was taking me away from home 11-12 hours a day. I have since found something parttime that allows me to still help financially and bring my kiddos to work with me! My family is much happier too and I now only co-lead one ministry at church. I attended a weekend seminar last year for women in ministry and the main point that they emphasized - accept only what no one else can do. No one else can be the pastor's wife. No one else can be your children's parent. There are certain ministries that no one else can do but you. Huge impact!

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