As a pastor’s wife, the overwhelming responsibility that I feel can be suffocating. Oh, don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy serving others or being the helpmate to my husband as he serves. What I learned about myself early on was the temptation to flirt with things that seemed not only expected of me but these things would make it easier. I know, it sounds scandalous. That is exactly what Satan wants to create – a scandal within my heart.
Flirting with Perfectionism seemed so normal. After all, isn’t that what the church wants and expects, THE PERFECT PASTOR’S WIFE. It is the unspoken expectation. I remember the first time I heard the unspoken expectation. The flirting began… I thought if I can pull it off and give them what they want then everyone will be happy. As I flirted with perfectionism, it gave my heart immediate relief and applauded my efforts. Having the approval of others not only was enticing; it was intoxicating. Flirting with Perfectionism was not enough!
I ran unexpectedly into Having- it- All- Together and let me tell you it looked so good. I experienced accolades that drew my heart in but left my soul lonely. My continued flirting with this seemingly good thing left me empty. I tried to ignore the winks and nods, but when I was in the moment, my heart was overtaken. I found that as long as I flirted with Having- it- all- together, other women enjoyed being around me. I was treated with TLC. My heart embraced the fleeting moments, but my soul tagged along quietly disappointed in my choice.
Flirting with Perfectionism and Having-it-all-together was not enough. I hate to admit it but the game I was playing was fun while it lasted. Saying Yes to Everyone flirted with my heart with the most intense focus. I could never ignore this! This trumped Perfectionism and Having- it- all- together! I began to resent these flirtatious encounters. The intensity was overpowering and no matter what I did to ignore the tactics used, I caved every time. I would walk away and my heart would feel burdened and my soul would be restless. No matter what these encounters promised in the shallow, flirting engagements, they never delivered.
I finally broke. I was sick of myself. I was tired of the never-ending disappointment that would come every time I flirted with Perfection, Having- it- all- Together, and Saying Yes to Everyone. My exhausted soul sought refuge. It was in seeking refuge for my weary soul that my heart began to be set free. I gladly embraced Philippians 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” I became more and more comfortable in my own skin and embraced the very fact that I am a work in progress. I didn’t need to flirt with Perfection, In fact, I never had to look that way again. When Perfection wanted my attention and used its many flirtations tactics, I had the choice to dance freely with Confidence – knowing my Jesus is doing a good work in me.
I could laugh in the face of Having-it-all-together knowing that Galatians 2:20 offers me the real deal and a real life. “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” For Christ to live through me I must let go of me, my preferences, and the airbrushed lifestyle that others might expect. Having-it-all-together is no longer appealing to me. I choose to live the life in Christ and He shines through all my flaws and mistakes and dirty laundry and dust and mess.
Saying “No” to Saying Yes to Everyone did not come easy. In fact, it can still be a struggle. Saying Yes to Everyone continues to use every tactic to distract my heart. As I am learning to lace my shoes and run with my new partner daily, He is teaching me to pace myself with Hebrews 12:1-2, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Running with Endurance is not exhausting but exhilarating.
I have discovered a new found freedom. I am dancing freely with the One who breathed life into my soul. He gives me Confidence, Life in Christ, and Endurance. This is the life I choose to live. I may not please everyone, I can’t keep everyone happy no matter how often I say, “Yes”, and I am not capable of being perfect no matter how hard I try. I am now the very happy, content, and settled pastor’s wife. My heart belongs to the One who sacrificed everything for my soul. No more flirting with things that distract my heart and rob my soul. I worship Him and Him alone.