Sunday, April 14, 2013

Living in the Fishbowl of Ministry

This post is being written for the (in)couraged flock, a community of ministry wives through (in)courage, please feel free to join in the discussion.

While I have only been a pastor's wife for six years, I have been in ministry with my husband from the day we met, literally!  On the day I was introduced to my husband-to-be we were both in our first year at University, I was on my way to a Baptist Student Ministries lunch, even though I'm not Baptist, and invited him to come along.  At that meeting we were both asked to become part of the student leadership and there we stayed for the next four years.

In the meantime we got married and joined a church plant as the church we had been attending closed it's doors.  We were part of the leadership there, too.  Over the years we have almost always been in leadership of some kind or other; small groups, worship, children's ministry, etc. and then for the last six years in a paid position at my husband's home church where he grew up.

We have lived in the fishbowl of ministry for our entire married life.  Sometimes that's been a good thing and sometimes not so much.  We know that our journey of faith has been encouraging to some as they've watched God at work in our lives.  We've been pretty open with where we're wanting to go, sharing our dreams and desires and allowing people to walk alongside us.  Our friends and church family have access to our struggles and our joys.  With this comes a double-edged sword.

Being out in the open seems to invite comments.  I can't think of many other professions where your personal life is open for discussion in a performance review.  Media stars and politicians are certainly even more open to public scrutiny but I don't know that actors/musicians' job is on the line by the way they parent their children.

I also realize that the scriptures state that those who are called to be teachers are expected to live to a higher standard.  There in lies the struggle.  We are called to this place and a higher standard, we are open to public scrutiny and comment and the persons who are doing the performance review are given freedom to speak into our lives on every subject.  None of these things are necessarily a bad thing, however, sometimes it seems unfair to me that we don't necessarily get to comment back.  Maybe that's just my inner brat coming out and I need to mature a little more.  What do you think?

I will admit that I am humbled, thrilled and freaked out all at the same time by this.  I am so thankful that other people are encouraged to in their faith by the way we walk...which also humbles me and freaks me out.  I am humbled when someone notices that my kids have an issue with respect.  My invitation is then to please come alongside us and pray with us, we have very unique and difficult challenges in our home that most people do not understand unless they live with a RAD kid.  And in that light I am devastated when I am judged without understanding, which makes me want to crawl into a hole and never come out.

How comfortable are you with the public scrutiny of every aspect of your life?  How do you deal with it?

1 comment:

Carol said...

Reading your post reminded me of the following quote (I discovered it through Brene Brown):

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly..."
- Theodore Roosevelt

I hope this encourages you.