I blame my schedule!
Posted by TIffany Cooper
Last week we started to discuss why we blame ministry for our misery. I know, sounds like a downer of a topic. I’m a little sorry about that, not completely though. Many of us have had those moments when ministry is not our friend. So let’s go a little deeper into one of the common areas we unfairly place blame on ministry.
Blame: We never have quality time together.
Ministry is an all-encompassing call. It involves teaching, leadership, staff, budgets, vision casting, counseling, equipping leaders, problem solving, conflict resolution, volunteers, and so much more. Bottom line, it takes a lot of work!
I believe that we should work hard. The Bible instructs us to work 6 days and rest on the 7th day. Ministry can definitely fill all 7 days a week with work. As followers of Christ, we should be obedient to God’s instruction and rest on the 7th day. The question becomes, is the lack of rest and family time a legitimate work related issue or our lack of planning and boundary setting.
(Side Note: This post is not about separating family and ministry time. It’s about those instances when ministry schedules suffocate healthy family time.)
So, how can we evaluate whether we’re unfairly blaming ministry for our lack of family time? Here are a few thoughts to start with…
- Are you expecting your spouse to meet the needs that only God can fill in your life? Your spouse cannot be God to you. It’s unfair to place those expectations on them; your spouse will fail at being God every time.
- Are you living in a fairytale world? Do you expect to always have the perfect amount of family time with all of the members fully engaged? I suppose that would be nice but that’s not the real world. Even the families who have great family time understand there are season that require more personal investment.
- Are you being specific about how you will make family a priority. Just wanting family time won’t make it happen, you have to work at it. Each family has different dynamics, decide what works for your family and commit to it. It’s unfair to blame the ministry for your lack of planning. Talk about it, commit to your plan, get it on paper and do it! Be sure to re-evaluate and make changes, very few things work perfectly the first time.
I do realize that there are ministry situations that you can’t control. Start by evaluating your schedule.
- If you’re setting your own schedule.
- Are you filling your schedule with unnecessary events?
- Are there ways you can work smarter instead of harder?
- Are you only scheduling ministry events? It will help if you also schedule family times too.
- Are you a non-schedule person? If so, you will have to be even more vigilant to not let ministry related events take over family time.
- If a boss or leader is setting your schedule.
- Communicate your schedule concerns with them.
- Do not attack. Commit to listen to them. Don’t get defensive; simply express what you would like to change.
- Don’t just ask for a change, come with possible solutions.
- Suggest a trial period for your new schedule.
- Understand that you might not get what you want.
- Maintain a good attitude.
- Reminder: We should work hard. Personally, I am completely happy with my family time. My husband shows that our family is his priority with his words and his time but he also works very hard. He works 40-60 hours a week depending on the season of ministry.
It’s said that your ministry will only be as healthy as your family. At some point, your church will suffer if you’re family is suffering. It’s my desire that you would experience the joy of a healthy family!
Let’s talk! What does your family time look like? Do you have some helpful suggestions for maintaining a healthy schedule? Thoughts?