by Andrea M
I love those moments when I turn on my inner Angela Lansbury (I think I just dated myself) and ask my husband if he’s been snacking instead of eating a real lunch because after two days all the granola bars have magically disappeared. Every time, even after all these years together, he’s still amazed I know he’s eaten all the granola bars in two days.
Most women just have a knack for noticing these things, don’t they? We know all, be all, and see all. At least we try to, often to our detriment, because we were never supposed to know all, be all, and see all. That’s just too much weight to carry, like that person (not me) who tries to carry in all the groceries in one trip.
When you’re in ministry though, you feel like you have to keep that weight up–or should I say the appearance of keeping the weight up.
We have this skewed perception that if we are in ministry we will pour out to others, but to stop and need others to pour into us would be weakness or even failure. We’re the ones in ministry after all; it’s our job to help others.
Ministers and their families are still people though, people who experience pain and overwhelming times, times when we need help.
I used to think I was weak for needing the help of others, at least until my life unraveled so much because of sickness that I could not carry it anymore. Let’s just say I was dropping groceries left and right. Yet, I struggled with needing help because I felt guilty, wrong, and embarrassed. Remember, I was the one who was supposed to be caring for others, not the one who needed care.
Apple pie is my favorite pie (my Grandma Blick’s recipe if we’re getting technical), not humble pie. Humble pie goes down a little difficult and doesn’t sit well in the stomach. Apple pie, on the other hand, goes down beautifully with a nice sweet side of vanilla ice cream.
Yum. In fact, why don’t we all take an intermission to get a slice. I’ll see you back in 15 minutes.
God doesn’t always give us warm apple pie in life though, does He? No, sometimes we get humble pie. You know what I’ve realized though? Humble pie is really good for us and a gift of God’s grace and redemption. It’s like those green veggies your mom always made you eat; the taste wasn’t the best but they sure were good for you. All those vitamins and minerals worked to nourish your body in a way apple pie just couldn’t.
Humbling times from God will grow us in ways the easy times never could and will actually be a springboard for greater ministry.
Don’t be afraid to admit you may need help. To receive help is actually a holy thing, a true expression of the body of Christ just as God intended it to be.
Remember Moses? You know, the guy with the pretty hefty resume who led God’s people out of their 400-year bondage in Egypt. He got help when needed, thanks to his father-in-law Jethro’s advice. Jethro noticed Moses was going to burn himself out if he didn’t get some help while serving as a judge for the people.
Look at what he says to Moses in Exodus 17:17-18:
What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.
Jethro continues on and gives Moses some sound advice and a plan for how he can safeguard himself (and the people) from a cranky burned out pastor. Let’s be real–that’s just what happens when we don’t take care of ourselves. It not only affects us but, as Jethro reminds us, the people we serve too.
It’s not a weakness to need help, but truly a strength, something God will use to grow you and your witness for Him.
Find someone, or a group of someones, in your community with whom you can be appropriately vulnerable, and when people reach out to help, give yourself the permission to receive it as a gift from God. It’s a true expression of Christ’s body at work.