We can get ourselves into a terrible shape if we don't watch it. It took a supportive husband, small steps of buying, encouragement from friends, and asking the Lord for help.
Liz Sarno recently wrote a blog post on this subject for Leading It and Loving It. She said, "I’ve gone on quite a few shopping expeditions, where instead of buying anything for myself I’ve spent my money on gifts for my family. I realized that I would pick out some things I liked, then systematically put them all back and replace them with things for my husband and kids. This is not a bad thing in and of itself, but after a few trips where I went home with nothing for myself I realized something. For a few months I had decided that I didn’t need anything and it was more important to be a blessing to my family, so I talked myself out of doing something for me. It is better to give than to receive, this is true, but it’s also ok to take care of ourselves. While being a blessing to my family is actually a good thing, I had to remember that it’s important to treat myself every once in awhile, too...It’s a common trap for women in general to put everyone and everything above ourselves, especially for us mommas, let alone women in ministry who have the added pressure we put on ourselves to take care of everyone in our lives first."
One last post about setting goals and starting anew from Bridgette Tomlin's website, Sanctuary: Ministry to Ministry Wives. Bridgette will be our guest speaker at Refresh Breakaway 2017. This post gives us a little different perspective on making choices that help us to thrive in this abundant life God has given us.
Post from January 9, 2017 by Samalee Allen
There is a better you on the other side of a better choice.
The challenge is not to fail, but to thrive. Abundant life is what Jesus offers us. A better choice. We as Sanctuary and ministry wives know this, all too well, when our hubby-pastor calls for an all-church fast and collective congregational groans ensue. These pew-warmers may choose to see fasting as a restriction from food instead of freedom to make a better choice--that choice being a thriving, deeper relationship with the Lord.
It takes a renewing of the mind to see the better choice...read more
Last week we were asked, "Where are you going in 2017?" In keeping with this new year's theme, we have asked Jerry Harris to help us find our way. Rev. Harris, a big proponent of setting goals, gives us sound reasons why we should set goals, and practical, reasonable action steps to get those goals accomplished. It's with pleasure we welcome Rev. Harris to Refresh.
guest post by Jerry Harris
“He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment.”
(Proverbs 12:11) NIV
This scripture tells us to “work our land.” What is our land? The writer was referring to the plowing and sowing of their land so they would have plenty to eat. They didn’t have a local grocery store to stop by and pick up some milk on the way home. They had to plant and plan so they would have food to live on. This was vital to their well-being and existence. If you didn’t plan ahead, you would be begging in harvest time.
“A sluggard does not plow in season; so, at harvest time he looks but finds nothing.”
(Proverbs 20:4) NIV
If we want to get ahead and stay ahead of the game of life, we must develop a “working our land” attitude. Since we are not farmers, what is “our land?” Remember that the land was vital to the farmer’s well-being and existence. What is vital to our well-being and existence?
If these things are vital to me then how do I prepare or “work” my land? There must be an intentional attempt to make my land better. Just hoping for it to take place won’t accomplish anything but desperation. Just praying for it to take place won’t accomplish anything but frustration...God won’t answer my prayer! He doesn’t care about me!
“Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.”
(Psalm 90:12) KJV
The “number” means to weigh out, to allot, and to prepare. How do we do this? By examining each area of our life and setting goals for the future.
1. Why must we have goals?
Because it is just as difficult to reach a destination you do not have, as it is to come back from a place to which you have never been. In other words, you can’t hit a target you don’t have. A person without a goal is a ship without a rudder. He will drift and float. He will likely end up on the beach of despair, discouragement, frustration and defeat.
A goal is a faith statement! I can’t see it but I believe it!
2. Why don’t more people have goals?
a. Most people have never been convinced they are important.
b. They don’t know how to establish them.
c. They fear they won’t reach their goals and consequently, are embarrassed.
d. They don’t take time to set them.
I would rather attempt to do something great and fall short, than attempt to do nothing and succeed.
3. What are the characteristics of a good goal?
a. Will I be able to know when I’ve reached my goal?
b. With God’s help and a lot of effort on my part, is it within reach and within the time period I’ve set?
c. When I achieve this goal what will be the benefit to me or to others?
Our problem is not the lack of time, but the lack of direction (focus). Our problem is not the lack of time, but our failure to effectively use the time we have.
We must not confuse activity with accomplishment, and we must stop counting our hours and start making our hours count. Consider how Jesus lived His life.
He knew what he had to do and he did it!
“My food (well-being and existence) said Jesus,
is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish His work.”
(John 4:34) NIV
He knew He only had so much time to do it, so he did it!
“As long as it is day, we must do the work of Him who sent me.
Night is coming, when no one can work.”
(John 9:4) NIV
You’ve got to start sometime to give direction to your life.
Use the Adjust My Daily Life, Lord worksheet. Now is the time!
Rev. Jerry Harris is Director of Church Planting for the AG Southern MO District Council, and President of Inner City Ministries of St. Louis and Reach Missouri Network. He and his wife, Lisa, have 35 years of pastoral experience, leading churches in rural, metropolitan and city environments.
Yes, it’s already mid-January, but how exciting to think that God has some amazing possibilities lined up for each of us - yes, even for you. Do you believe that? You should, because God says so in His Word. Consider the words of Paul:
"Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose." (Philippians 2:12-13)
Could it be that part of ‘working out your salvation’ includes setting goals to accomplish what the Spirit may already be speaking to your heart?
I've not always been good at writing down my goals. I've had to learn why I should set goals, how to set them, and how to reach them. More importantly, I've had to learn how to reset goals I may not have met and how to not let discouragement keep me from reaching the purpose God has designed for my life. Yes, that has happened more times than I would like to admit!
There's a lot of information to be found in books and online about goal-setting. Here is what I've found helpful in setting goals:
Yes, January is nearly over, but it’s never too late to seek God’s purposes for your life. Whether we are wives, mothers, teachers, bus drivers, or youth pastors, God has given to us purpose: unique, special, life-changing purpose. As you determine your purpose, consider your gifts and strengths. Ask yourself these questions:
What will accomplish good for the kingdom?
What areas do I need to adjust in my life - spiritually, relationally, physically, and socially?
I encourage you to give it a try. You might be surprised to see what happens!
Q: I am tired of struggling financially. Our salary meets our basic needs, but money is always tight. Today I had to tell my son that we can no longer afford to have him participate in the sport he loves. We have been in the ministry since we married 12 years ago. We pastor a small church. The loving people in our congregation can only afford to pay us a small salary. I am the church administrative assistant and work full-time but receive only a part-time salary. I don’t know how much longer I can stand the financial strain on our household.
A: Financial worries can be emotionally draining and relentlessly stressful. At the same time many people feel it necessary to hide their struggles out of shame. Thank you for your honesty. I assume that you, like most people entering the ministry, have made peace with the likelihood you will not accumulate wealth. However, after a sustained time of scrimping and doing without while others seem to thrive, frustration can easily come.
You mentioned that your salary meets your basic needs, so I am going to respond from that perspective. (If you were lacking in basic needs such as groceries or shelter, I would suggest that you address those needs first by letting your congregation and your district know and by reaching out for assistance wherever it is available in your community.)
A major contributing factor to financial stress is not so much the dollars you earn as it is the reality that our culture strongly celebrates both accumulation and immediate gratification. This tide threatens to sweep us all along toward obtaining more stuff and better technology. Though we know cognitively that possessions do not bring happiness, it certainly appears like they do in commercials and advertisements. It takes a conscious effort to turn our eyes away from those things and to remind ourselves that true joy comes only from the One we serve who continually reminded us He will meet all of our needs.
There is no shame in living simply and frugally. At the same time, there is no shame in honestly admitting to others that you have financial limitations. If this is your reality, then speaking the truth about that will free you from the stress of hiding it. Do not allow the pressure of unspoken expectations to add to your worries. For example, it is common to socialize by going out for dinner or spending recreational time with friends. This presents a dilemma for our financial challenges if we make plans that exceed what we can afford. Find ways to matter-of-factly clarify where your limits lie or suggest less costly alternatives.
Beware of comparisons. Comparisons bring discontentment. Remain vigilant about this because it is so easy to fall into this trap. Observing what other people enjoy can so easily bring envy and longing because it seems like the object or the experience of their enjoyment would do so much to enrich our own lives. Remind yourself of what you already know: that no thing or recreational experience can ever bring lasting happiness, health, or contentment.
Again, financial stress lies not so much in what we have, but in what we believe about what we have. Attitude toward financial success plays the biggest factor in interpreting our situation. Prayerfully ask God to reveal false beliefs that bring discouragement like:
I suggest seeking some outside input regarding your financial situation. Find a reputable class on personal finance or a financial advisor who can put fresh eyes on your situation. He/she could recommend the best way to catch up on those bills as well as find ways to bring you greater freedom. Some simple adjustments might bring relief fairly quickly.
Pray about creative ways to supplement your income. Revisit with your husband your decision to work at the church office and explore other options you might pursue. On the other hand, consider cutting back your hours at the church to match your part-time salary, allowing you to supplement your income in other ways. If creative ideas seem scarce, ask for outside advice from people whom you financially admire.
Remember that you are modeling your values to your child. No doubt he will be disappointed that he cannot join his team. However, he will not suffer any lifelong ill effects from missing sports unless you model for him a perspective that teaches him to be devastated by it. In other words, he will take his cue from you as to how consuming this disappointment is. If you matter-of-factly acknowledge his feelings, while at the same time urging him to cooperate with the family in financial decisions, you will teach him lifelong lessons.
Finally, in no way do I want to sound cliché; however, the call to ministry carries an inherent dependence on faith in God’s provision. While it requires a higher level of trust, it will also reap a deeper dependence on Him. In times of financial blessing or in times of financial challenge, we still serve the same God who has promised to take care of us. While we should strive to continually gain more wisdom in all things, including financial, we have no choice but to trust Him along the way.
Where do you go to learn about being a minister's wife?
It is our desire here at Refresh to see that each woman has a positive experience in partnership with their husband in ministry.
Bloom wants to provide guidance, support, connection, and encouragement to wives new to ministry through a connection with a seasoned and trained minister's wife using a Connect group created specifically for you. We'll use books to guide us in our conversations about the challenges, issues, benefits, and rewards of being a minister's wife.
We believe when women are strengthen, our families and churches are strengthened, and the ministry of the gospel is strengthened.
Interested in joining a Bloom Group?
Let us hear from you. Next group starting April 2018.