I wonder if better boundaries are needed in my life; between work, church and family?
Ever since I can remember, the lines between my private life and my church life have mingled… blurred if you will. Frankly, as leaders of a church my hubby started almost 18 years ago, we’ve taken pride in the fact that we knew our congregation on a level that is greater than a mere Sunday morning greeting and a simple handshake. We have created a culture of deep friendships and I’d take it a step further and say… it is truly like a family. This is what attracted people to our church in the first place.
What I have noticed — as we have grown — this was far easier when we were under 100 people! We’ve stretched ourselves thin a few times to be at almost every gathering, reunion, birthday party, dinner and baby shower, or at least feel like we should’ve been there. When new people came in and we grew to above 130, it became increasingly more and more difficult to met the demands to keep up this type of one-on-one relationship. This has became a hinderance for new arrivals/people staying at our church and some have left.
There is tension between how we’ve always done church and how we can actually keep doing church and expect growth.
Then add to the mix that I work. My willingness to be available at any moment, day or night, weekday or weekend and even while on vacation for work is much like how I am for church. This is probably due to not wanting to let people down, that is my own issue I’m dealing with 🙂 plus… I do enjoy what I do – I do enjoy church. However, I have to set boundaries here too. Skype calls at 10:24pm on a Friday night… I don’t need to answer.
Not to put them last but that’s where they’ve fallen in list of things… my husband of nearly 15 years and our four children, the oldest is 12 and the youngest is 5. We are trying to raise them to be leaders, to listen, learn, love and laugh in a good and godly manner in the midst of this crazy life. As they get older, they want to participate in after school, non-church activities / sporting clubs, etc and they should be allowed to. Not to mention, that we… my hubby and myself would like to participate in our own hobbies or sporting events as well!
In the past year, the balance between work, church and family has gone a bit off kilter. In a way, my passion for Social Media has also been my own demise, between texting, Facebook, Twitter, email, SKYPE etc, I’m “available” anytime, anywhere. I have decided that I need to be more intentional when it comes to my family’s time, our schedule, our life. As the manager/heart of the home, I am going to carve out time for my family first and foremost and in the process, set boundaries for work and for church.
Recently, I decided to revisit a very famous ancient proverb…
There is a German proverb that is very similar, “A fence between makes love more keen.”
Caroline Westerhoff in Good Fences: The Boundaries of Hospitality writes that there is a “irresolvable tension between boundary and hospitality.”
Having boundaries does not mean that I’m no longer going to be hospitable!
It just means that I want to remain sane!
I’m going to pick up a copy and read it in its entirety and then finish off the details to my new boundaries…
I think good boundaries are vital in every aspect of our lives… my prayers are with you as you begin to carve out those good fences for you and your family!
I will be praying for you as let God lead you.
Adapting as our church body and children have grown has been a constant….some small changes,some big changes….but trying to listen to and follow God's lead continues to be my strength
well said. And very important.
"A hedge between keeps friendship green."
that's a good quote Amanda, thanks 🙂
praying that the transition is easy and that people are understanding of the change
Shash, there is only so much one person can do. I think you need to carve out a life that is livable and enjoyable. This is a good thing you are doing!
Also, there are other people who will be able to participate in a birthday party, or other event. But there is no one who will replace you to your children. I thought of this personally when I was meeting with and mentoring someone…"gee, I don't spend this kind of quality time with my own kids!" and that is not fair for them. We need to grow our own garden, (our children), who will be our lifelong fruit.
I love that fence saying. I think boundaries are so important… this was a great post! Thanks for sharing your heart. 🙂
We're always working on that dynamic balance that is life and ministry. Our boundaries with church have been easier this time, coming into a well-established large church.
With work stuff, for you Shash, I always assumed that family and church came first, and that recently you just had a busy time. I thought it would settle out – and it sounds like you're forcing it to settle out now. 🙂
I've thought more about balance and less about boundaries. This is a great post to help me shift my thinking a bit (boundaries help with the balance… so putting them in place first will make balancing easier…?).
Well said. And I support you 100% in your fence building! 😉
The search for the balance…hmmm! Hubs just came home from a pastor's conference and said that topic was "touched" upon but wasn't a main topic….I think it should be.
Even Jesus took time to be alone with His father and then alone with His twelve. He wasn't available to everyone ALL THE TIME.
Good on ya! 🙂
I think it is also important for the leaders of a church to take the time to build a stronger relationship in their own homes. After all isn't the church just as strong as the families in it? I would want to know that my leaders are taking the the time to be with each other, so they are able to lead with strength. Days off are important in any job, there should not be a double standard just because you are in ministry.