Butterfly Sparks Designs

Saturday, March 5, 2011

One Woman Leader to Another - Part 2

Hi friends,

I’m doing a series of blogs based on a recent teaching I shared at the Connect Conference. I’ve already talked about the importance of leading yourself well. Today I want to share on some thoughts about leading your family well.

No matter the responsibilities you may carry in ministry, the workplace, volunteer roles or even at home, we need to keep first things first. And family comes first. (I already shared in blog #1 of this series the importance of your personal relationship with Christ.) I want you to think more broadly about prioritizing your family. You must let them know in both word and deed that they are the most important relationships you have. Here are a couple of practical tips to help you:

Know your season. Sometimes we become impatient with our season. We know we are called and we desire to be about the “work of the kingdom”. Sometimes we get so excited about the call on our life that we aren’t willing to wait for a season change to take on more responsibility. If you choose to place your family first, it is not a disqualification from ministry. It is instead a pre-requisite. Even when it is your season to step out more aggressively in your calling, if you have practiced prioritizing your family and waiting on God, you will be able to walk out your destiny without harming your personal relationships.

Say No – and Say it a lot. You are going to have to say no more often than you say yes. You are going to say no to some really good things - to some things you really want to do. If you focus on what is really important and on what you are called to do, you will be able to determine if something falls within the scope of your responsibility. Consider asking yourself the following questions:

What is that only I can do? For example, only you can be the wife to your husband, mother to your children, daughter to your parents. Only you can keep your relationship with Christ fresh. Only you can take care of your own body. If you don’t do these things, no one will. You are the key player. (Hint: There are very few things that only you can do!)

What is that I can delegate? There are all kinds of things that you can delegate from housecleaning, errands and cooking to appointments, teachings and leadership assignments. These are things that are critical to your home and life, but can be overseen rather than done by you. (Hint: Think of yourself as the coach and not as the quarterback.)

What is that someone else can do? This is challenging because sometimes you are going to have to let go of some things you really want to do. Maybe you want to be the PTA representative or the home room mom, but you need to let it go. Maybe you’ve always the first one to sign up to help with a project, but this time you don’t have the time. Maybe you are being given new areas of responsibility, but you are attached to some programs or projects that you love. You simply cannot do everything you used to do. Learning to prune your activities takes self control and a brave heart. (Hint: There are tons of things in your life that someone else can do. Let go of your responsibility and give others a chance to arise as leaders and volunteers.)

Once you’ve said no, then focus on the yes’s. The yes’s are full of potential, influence, breakthrough and effectiveness. The yes’s will give you energy and momentum, enabling you to run the race for a lifetime. The yes’s will lean toward your strengths and your callings and will produce greater fruit with less effort. The yes’s will give you great joy!

Include your family in the call to ministry. When you include your family in your call, you are equipping and empowering the next generation of leaders that are right under your own roof. What you model and how you model it is impacting your family. So consider adding some elements to your model that will allow your family to develop a positive attitude about ministry life. You want them to feel that they are a part of the church. You want them to mature and develop a sense of ownership. If they only see your work as a personal sacrifice and as a cost to them they will run a high risk of growing up to become either ministry junkies (workaholics) or to despise the church. Introduce them to the people you are working with. Give them a seat at the table next to you. Let them assist you with some of your responsibilities. Ask their opinion. Take them on your next ministry trip. After all, the most important leaders you are raising up live in your own home.

Build reward and privilege into your family life. Your family will pay a price for your sacrificial service, so don’t be afraid to build some special rewards and privileges into theirs. Sometimes we think that if we openly reward our children, the people we serve will view it as favoritism and make the road harder. You can’t let your fear of what others think keep you from blessing your children. There ought to be some perks along the way. So take some time off and do something fun. Make them glad to be the leaders kids!

Determine to be fully present in every moment. When with your family – be with your family. Don’t waste your time or energy feeling guilty. Guilt is a terrible ministry partner. As I have matured, I have learned to take a deep breath and work hard to just be in the moment. When I’m working, I’m giving it my all. When I’m with my kids, I’m happy about it and fully invested. When I’m sitting across the table from a friend – I’m really listening. This has brought me more peace and joy than almost any other revelation of my life. You really can only be in one place at a time, so trust that God is able to take the little you have to offer in each moment and transform it into a lifetime of joy.

Hope you find these thoughts helpful. Got some ideas of your own? Please share!



Anonymous said...

This is really good! Thank you for sharing your heart! My biggest struggle is having to say "no"...and then being okay with that! Even when I do say no, I continue to dwell on whether or not I should've accepted or not. Which winds up costing me emotional and mental anguish in the end :( This is sooo not an easy lesson to learn, but I know that my family needs to come first. It's the first thing I look for from a pastor, ministry leader, a sports coach, etc. You can always tell when someone's ministry comes before their family (or their actual relationship with the Father) it's pretty evident! Anyway, just wanted to say thanks! This is encouraging :)

Jan said...

Thanks so much for the feedback. Saying no was hard for me too - sometimes it still is. Glad to know you are making progress! Trusting it will bring blessing to you.

liz C. said...

wow, your first point "know your season" had me in tears. I want so bad to do what it is called in my life, but I'm so stuck in the "I can't cause of the kids". It probably sounds awful, but that's how I feel. I really need to learn how to BE in this season instead of wishing it away. I like when you said your fully invested in your kids when your with them. I don't feel like I do that, I LOVE them, but at the end of the day I always feel like I could have done more. AH! I know being a mom is always a learning experience, it helps to have such wisdom from women like you. Thank you :)

Red Rose in Bloom said...

"Give them a seat at the table next to you. Let them assist you with some of your responsibilities. Ask their opinion. Take them on your next ministry trip. After all, the most important leaders you are raising up live in your own home." - Thank you for the permission to bring our children into leadership with us, what better why for them to learn.