I have so enjoyed my Monday morning meetings with the young woman who is engaged to marry a pastor this summer. She is fun to spend time with, is teachable and has been open and honest with me about her life.
This morning, we talked about working hard at being healthy – #1) spiritually, #2) emotionally and #3) physically. Longevity in ministry is dependent upon the degree of health is each of these areas.
#1) Spiritual health – As a pastor’s wife, it is your responsibility alone to take care of your spiritual health. Although your husband is the head of the home and He will lead you in God’s ways, you also need to have your own vibrant, growing, healthy relationship with Christ. The primary way this happens is through spending consistent one-on-one time with Him through reading His Word and prayer. However, there are other disciplines which help us grow as well, such as, journaling, memorizing Scripture, worshipping, fasting, accountability, etc… Make your personal, spiritual health your number one goal, knowing that what is done in secret will reap the biggest spiritual dividends.
#2) Emotional health – This is where success in ministry is lost or won. DO. WHATEVER. IT. TAKES. TO. GET. EMOTIONALLY. HEALTHY! Every human being has some degree of emotional unhealth, that is part of the human condition. A person’s unhealth affects them and also flows over into their small circle of influence. By definition, a leader has a large circle of influence. Therefore, as a leader, your unhealth affects a greater number of people. Through the years, I have heard stories and witnessed first-hand the damage that has been done by emotionally unhealthy leaders. Leaders aren’t immune to the traps/stumbling blocks of insecurity, comparison, anger, jealousy, and pride. That’s why it is important to recognize these roadblocks to emotional health and do the hard work necessary to get victory over them. Emotional health happens as you get real about the areas you struggle with, talk them through both with the Lord and other trusted people in your life, and get the help you need. Emotional health is not something that happens by accident.
#3) Physical health – I like to regularly remind myself that ministry is a marathon, not a sprint. In order to reach the finish line, leaders need to pace themselves. By maintaining your physical health, you ensure that your body stays strong for the rigors of ministry. Adequate sleep each night is essential for help. I am the type of person who is an early riser. I naturally wake up around 5:00am each morning. In order for me to get the 7.5 hours that my body needs to function, that means that I cannot stay up past 10:00 at night. I have heard going to bed early called “sleeping in on the other side of the clock”. Also, what we put into our body makes a big difference in our overall health. Making sure we are well-hydrated is a relatively simple way to take good care of your physical health. Physical activity not only keeps your body healthy, but also does wonders for your brain and mood as well.
No one but you is responsible for your spiritual, emotional or physical health. In the effort to love and serve others, sometimes self-care is the first thing to go. Don’t feel guilty for taking care of yourself. If you don’t do it, no one will do it for you. Your personal health – spiritual, emotional and physical is the first step to a long and fruitful ministry.
Your Friend in Ministry,