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What Do You Do in Your Spare Time?

If you laugh at that question, you’re doing ministry wrong.

He was right—it wasn’t anyone’s fault but my own. I lacked the wherewithal to create the space I so desperately needed in my schedule. It wasn’t that I didn’t have time; it was that I didn’t have boundaries.

I was afraid to say no to any of the opportunities that came my way. I lacked the fortitude to trust God to open doors in the future. I lacked the insight to trust that life and ministry would still happen, even if I didn’t have my finger in every single pot.

If change was to happen, it would have to start with me.

Ministry Makes Boundaries Difficult

An inability to separate work and self is not limited to young women alone—nor is it limited to women or men in full-time ministry. But there’s something about ministry that can make it difficult to set appropriate boundaries, and we need help to realize that we’ve neglected to care for ourselves.

A job in ministry can be the greatest honor of all, a gift to us and those we serve. But working in the church comes with its own set of difficulties because ministry isn’t merely work. Ministry is not a job we can punch in and out of at the start and end of every day. Ministry is a job of heart and soul and paycheck. And sometimes, all this serving and doing for the kingdom’s sake can make us forget to nurture our own bodies.

This is not how it’s supposed to be. You, dear one, matter. The whole of who you are is not made up of what you can do for the church. The whole of who you are is Christ, plain and simple.

“You are of Christ, and Christ is of God,” Paul writes to the church at Corinth (1 Corinthians 3:23). That’s it. That’s the plain and simple truth we preach from our pulpits and in one-on-one discipleship meetings. It’s also the simple truth we so easily forget in the midst of teaching and serving.

We forget this truth because we’re doing good, godly kingdom work. We forget because we feel like women in ministry have to go above and beyond. We forget because the needs are so great, so unending, and so pressing. But this is the tyranny of the urgent. It’s believing that ministry can’t and won’t happen unless we’ve extended ourselves to the point of exhaustion, for Christ’s sake.

Rest and Recharge

This leads us to forget who we are in the process. We believe that our needs are unimportant, that the things that give us life don’t matter as much as the things we’re doing for the church. Then we’re rendered unable to answer the simple question, “So, what do you do in your spare time?”

June02, 2016 at 8:00 AM

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