I’m called to be a leading woman in ministry. I’m called to minister to families. I’m called to teach kids about Jesus. I’m also called to be a loving mother, an understanding wife, an honoring daughter, a supportive granddaughter, and an encouraging friend.
When I think about managing the many facets of my ministry and my family life, it can be overwhelming…especially at Christmas.
There are presents to be wrapped, volunteers to be appreciated, cards to be sent, Christmas parties to be planned, family functions to attend, and ministries to run. I tend to manage the pressure well. In that aspect Christmastime, is no different. I determine to do well and come to terms with the notion that I will sleep less, work harder, and make sacrifices. Herein lies the problem. Most of the time, I can cover my late nights and occasional missed school functions with special outings and attentive quality time when slower seasons arise. This doesn’t work at Christmas. The season is only a few weeks long. Functions can’t be rescheduled. Traditions can’t be postponed. If I’m not present, the celebration continues and my family feels neglected. For those of us in ministry, Christmas brings a new set of challenges.
I once heard my pastor say, “Jesus shouldn’t be first in your life. He should be at the center of it.” Putting Jesus first means that I put my husband and children second, when in all actuality, God wants to love and minister to my family through me. When I shift my mindset, everything changes. My ministry and my family life are no longer at odds. Instead, they work in harmony to accomplish the multiple callings God has placed on my life.
This Christmas, I want you to say “no more.” No more competing agendas. No more feeling guilty for missing a school choral concert or arriving late to a ministry prayer initiative. No more self doubt. No more double booked calendars. No more inner turmoil, wishing you could always be at the “other thing.” I’m challenging you to say “no more.”
It’s easier read then said, and easier said than done. When I prioritize, I put one calling in front of another. In reality, with Jesus at the center, they should work together in harmony.
The shift from prioritizing to centralizing can be difficult. For as long as I can remember, I was taught my relationship with Jesus comes before all others. While that is true in one sense, Jesus doesn’t want me to ignore my children for extra prayer time or neglect my husband for the sake of a daily devotional. He also never intended for me to sacrifice the family he blessed me with on the altar of the ministry he called me to. 2000 years ago Jesus came to give life. God loved us so much that he sent His son so that we might know love and discover freedom. It all started in a manger. A nativity scene that we remember and rejoice in.
In a busy season, it is my relationship with Jesus that energizes me. It’s what inspires me, encourages me and guides me. It is BECAUSE of my faith that I am better able to manage my family and minister to others.
When I say “no more,” I commit every aspect of my life to Jesus, not just my ministry. I am able to confidently say no more guilt, no more self-doubt, and no more inner turmoil. This IS possible when I devote myself to efficient management of my daily routine. I want to be clear, I don’t always get it right. I still have moments when I’m torn and frustrated, but I have established a few guidelines to help when I resort to prioritizing.
- I use a calendar application. I know what my days look like and I can prepare my heart and set healthy expectations for my family.
- I’m flexible. I ask, “What can can be moved or postponed and what can not?” That extra volunteer meeting can be rescheduled. My child’s Christmas play can not.
- I integrate when possible. Can I achieve two things simultaneously? Can my volunteer Christmas party be a gingerbread making party in which I bring my kids.?
- I set realistic expectations. I expect delays and calculate drive time.
- I choose to be okay when expectations are not met.
- When scheduling conflicts arise, I ask myself, “When I lay down in bed tonight, which appointment will I regret missing? On December 26th, what will I wish I would have accomplished? ”
Jesus wants to bless us with the best life. He wants us to be great men and women that achieve success in His name. He desires for us to have healthy families that serve Him together. It is possible, but it may require us to operate at a higher level of efficiency, especially during the holiday season. He truly wants us to experience joy and peace this Christmas.
Thank you for joining me throughout the month of December. I hope you’ve found fresh ideas and insight to help you manage the holiday season this year.
For more ministry ideas and strategies, check out my new book, Don’t Quit, available now at Amazon or at DontQuitBook.com.
Merry Christmas from my family to yours!