Have you ever been given the same advice again and again but it isn’t advice you want to hear?
Starting out in ministry it was a continuous struggle for me to get a handle on what I was meant to be doing. I reached out, attempting to gain some level of assistance and was repeatedly told, ‘Just be yourself’. I thought, ‘Oh, that is so not helpful.’
I was lost in a whirlpool of the knowledge of my reality. I had no formal ministry training. I had no one who mentored, coached or advised me. I was ill-equipped and inadequate to be a pastor’s wife.
Finally, I concluded that if this was all the help I was going to receive then I had better get on with it and just be myself. Then the humongous question rose from within, ‘Who am I?’
This question took me on a journey of self-discovery. I became a student of myself. I was to discover me, know me, be comfortable with me and enjoy me.
I pose the question to you – Do you know yourself?
2 effective actions to take:
..Diarize some reflection time for self-analysis. Ask yourself a whole bundle of questions like: What are my strengths and weaknesses? What energizes me and what depletes me? What I am truly passionate about? What is God saying to me today, about me?
..Complete a variety of on-line questionnaires. Questionnaires related to spiritual gifting, personality type, evangelism style, love language and emotional intelligence. Rather than allow the responses to put you in a box and contain you, use them as a tool to gain insight into knowing you.
So, you ask me, ‘How did knowing yourself make you a better pastor’s wife?’
4 ways knowing myself made me a better pastor’s wife:
..Protection against people’s opinion.
Being a pastor’s wife, you are a woman positioned in the public eye. This means people are aware of you and some will form an opinion in relation to what they think you should or shouldn’t be doing. I am sure you have been faced with an occasion when someone has shared their opinion with you, whether or not they should. And whether or not you wanted to hear it.
I found that when I wasn’t confident in who I was, I would easily fold and crumple under the weight of people pressure.
Knowing who you are gives you the ability to reply, ‘I hear what you are saying and I will think about what you have said’. Then you ask yourself,
‘Should I, or shouldn’t I? You ask God, ‘What do You think Lord?’
Knowing who you are gives you the ability to confidently give the suggestion, regardless of how strongly it was stated, the flick or give it further consideration. If you choose to action the suggestion you are then doing so because this is who you are, this is what you want to do, or what God is asking of you. It is a decision you have made, being different from succumbing to pressure or expectation someone else has endeavoured to put on you.
I imagine there isn’t a person alive who hasn’t at one time or another struggled with the whole comparison issue. Comparison sucks. Because you will always find someone doing it, whatever it is, better than yourself.
Knowing who you are dramatically reduces any feeling of inadequacy and inferiority. You can self-talk from a basis of knowledge that you are equally gifted, skilled and anointed. It is simply that your areas of expertise and this person’s differ. Or you view the situation as a ‘What can I learn by observing this woman?’
..Inspires gifting and passion
Knowing and being settled in my gifting and passion areas inspired me. I was then motivated to take a fresh look at all I was doing to evaluate if they fell into these areas.
Responsibilities you have which don’t match up become obvious. Your next step is to begin to look for the person whose gifting it is. Train and release this task to them under your supervision and accountability. The benefit becomes 2-fold. Your enjoyment of ministry increases and your delegation of responsibilities results in others having increased enjoyment of serving in the house.
Knowing yourself leads you to naturally secure a solid foundation within your mind and heart of who you are in Christ and how God sees you. Do you know how special you are to your God?
Personalising and memorising Ephesians 1 was a huge help in my discovering and believing God’s view of me. Eph 1 establishes truth like ‘I have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ. God chose me before the creation of the world. In love He predestined me to be His daughter and adopted me into His family. He did this because it was my God’s good pleasure to do so’.
He also says, ‘There is no shadow of turning in My love for you (James 1:17). I bestow My boundless mercies upon you each morning (Lam 3:22,23). I hold you in the palm of My hand (Ish 49:16). I guide you with My eye upon you (Ps 32:8). I order your steps (Ps 37:23). My peace is a guard for your heart (Phil 4:7) and I will supply all your need according to My riches in glory (Phil 4:19).’
You are the only one of you God has. His purpose for you is not to be limited by any restraint you or others would endeavour, knowingly or unknowingly, to place you in.
With a secure awareness of your individual and unique distinctiveness your confidence is strengthened to face opposition, step out of your husband’s shadow and shift people’s paradigms of you. You can stand tall and be the woman you know you and your God desires for you. Becoming the very best you, you can be.
Repeat after me, ‘I give myself permission to be uniquely me’.