“I just feel overwhelmed. There are so many needs. So many people hurting. So many jobs that need done just to keep our church’s head above water. I can’t possible take care of all this. And am I supposed to?”
“It feels like, between my husband and I, that we are always just plugging the holes in the dam with our fingers. Just trying to keep the whole thing from springing a big leak. I know that I should be more servant-hearted and willing to do whatever it takes for the Kingdom. But sometimes I wonder if there isn’t a better strategy.”
“It seems like I’m always shoulder-tapping volunteers to help them be used by God in the areas of their strengths. But when it comes to me, I’m often picking up the things that are falling off the plates of others. Did God really create me with unique gifts for the Body, or will I perpetually be in this place of picking up the pieces.”
“I admit it. Sometimes, I’m just jealous. Jealous of my husband’s clear calling and gifting. He got a job description when we came to this place. What I wouldn’t give to have some clear direction from the Lord about where I’m supposed to invest. A place that He created for me – and me for it, where I could see Him working in and through me in the ways that only He can. I’ve felt that before… and I sure miss it.”
As pastors’ and ministry wives, we often find ourselves filling in the gaps. And there are certainly times when that is needed and what God is asking of us. But there are other times when I think He is calling us to press in – to seek His face, His priorities, in what He would have us invest.
We all long to find our space. That unique place, carved out by God, that He’s created for us to flourish in. It’s less about finding our own purpose and more about seeing how we fit into His bigger plan. And it’s when we discover that space, we feel God’s glory. We sense Him moving in and through us, using all of the experiences of our past, the pain and the joys, to accomplish His purposes in the here and now. He wastes nothing in preparing us for the “good works, which He planned in advance, that we might walk around in them.” (Eph. 2:10)
When we are trying to find that space God has prepared, we often settle for easy answers. Answers that may come with taking an online test or some other tool to find out our spiritual gifts. While these can be helpful, they are also easily manipulated to give us the results we are looking for (because we value some gifts more than others?) and they often ignore the clear teaching in Scripture that our gifting is given for the building up of the community – and therefore can be observed and confirmed by the community where we are a part.
So yeah, this requires two things. First, that we be in community. Not just showing up on the weekends or to our responsibilities. But real, authentic community where we’ve allowed people to know us in deeper ways, to see our weakness and struggles and to offer up prayer on our behalf and a hand to help us up when we fall. The second thing it requires is the courage to invite others into this discovery process. When we ask people for feedback, we face the questions of “What if they don’t see any good gifts in me?” or “What if I don’t have anyone that knows me that well?” Those might be scary questions.
But the benefits of inviting your community, even just a few close friends and your spouse, into this process can be so very fruitful. They are the ones who have watched God move in and through you in the past. They are the ones who can point out His victories through you and help you see your possible next steps in saying “yes” to the next good work God has in store for you.
So let’s give it a try. Gather a few friends and ask them to help you on this quest to seek His face for the next steps of your journey.