the balancing act

i was responding to a post by holly asking where’s the balance between ministry and vocational work. i’m not wanting to hijack her conversation here, but i’m not sure if everyone reads her blog and/or everyone’s comments on a particular post. and so i quote myself here:

and now concerning balance. if you ask me, pastor jon, maggie or anyone else called to ministry that also works vocationally and you’ll hear a similar response, “i struggle with finding the balance.” i’ve found this church very understanding of it’s leaders being bi-vocational. it’s not the same at every church. personally, in talking with pastor jon he’s stated that he understands that at this point the church isn’t able to provide me with an adequate compensation to provide for my family and so he understands that at times work will out weigh ministry and that that’s ok. my first priority is to provide for myself and my family.

pastor understands this obviously because he’s also in the same boat. and especially you and maggie who don’t draw a salary from the church. and even though the church may pay for costs connected with you going to a leadership/development conference (registration/gas/food/books/etc) it still isn’t free since they aren’t necessarily compensating for lost pay at the ‘other’ job.

and so this is a topic that reoccurs in my thoughts consistently. “if i’m truly called should i quit my ‘other’ job to devote more time to ministry and rely on God to supply for my every need?” or would that simply be foolish since this IS the means that God has chosen to provide for my needs while doing ministry? paul in the new testament was also a tent-maker after-all.

and then i also came to a point where i had to admit no matter how much time i was able to devote to ministry, “would it ever be enough?” the call seems so big how could it ever all get done? i had to sit back and give it to God and say, “it’s in your hands Lord, i’ve done what i can, may your grace be sufficient in my weakness” (2 cor 12.9)

hope that helps.

it’s a topic that fluctuates in my mind every so often. and then if you throw ‘family’ into the mix, the balancing act gets even trickier.

on one hand, i think i should have enough faith to only do ministry and trust God to provide for my family’s needs? on the other hand, i think shouldn’t i also see my ‘secular’ job as also a ministry, a place for me to shine God’s light in the midst of a hurting world? and then on another hand (yes more hands than i actually have) i think it’s the church’s fault for not being able to pay their staff full time wages, “if they just gave more!”. isn’t there a verse somewhere about oxen and muzzling? but then again, i knew the size of the church and the compensation they were able to provide before choosing to come. and then on the other hand, i think if i were able to devote more time to ministry, then maybe the church would grow quicker, and then they’d be able to pay staff better. but then i’m reminded that that sounds a lot like taking the role of the Holy Spirit, i can’t do one thing to ‘grow the church’ that’s HIS job.

in the end i think the balance is more of a give and take. it isn’t always a 30% of me goes to work, 30% goes to ministry, 30% goes to family, and the remaining 10% goes to eating, sleeping, and myself time. the fact is there’s sometimes that a lot of my time is devoted to ministry because of an upcoming event or project. and then there’s times that my family gets priority.

and then there’s the whole other conversation of time spent not doing what you want to do, but have to do because it pays the bills. like i spend about 7 hours at school everyday. do i like it? ya it’s ok. do i feel most productive there?? in a word, no. do i feel that i could be elsewhere most of the time? most of the time. why do i continue then? because it’s the largest portion of our income, and it’s relatively easy.

as i’ve said before, the kids used to ask me why i was going to school. i stopped answering a long time ago, “because that’s where i work.” i now say, “because they pay me to be there.”

so lets do the math: 7 hours at school + 7 hours sleeping + 2 hours doing misc (getting ready, eating, driving, etc.) = that leaves 33% of my day to do 90% of what i care about. (family, ministry, exercise, and ‘me’ time)

as you can see and probably experience daily, it’s quite a balancing act simply to stay SANE and keep relationships ‘getting along’.

i’m thankful for 2 cor. 12.9, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”

// today i’m thankful for:
1. 3 month old babies (rachel)
2. a house of our own
3. fishtailing fun, while driving
4. a ‘free’ friday night
5. grapefruits
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3 Comments

  1. thanks so much for both you and holly feeling the way i feel many times. we are not alone in our struggle.

    i am at the church – again! and abe just called me – again – to ask what i’m doing here. it makes me feel like such a geek everytime you call like i’m the only one who has work to do. by reading blogs i can see everyone else has work to do too.

    i’m trying to balance my life somewhat. if i try doing church work at home – then i’m really giving my family the short end of the stick. i don’t want anyone to talk to me. i don’t want to go see who’s crying. i think it feels worse to them when i’m there but not there. so jorge and i decided that i would come work at the church a two nights a week. i make a priority list of what i want to accomplish – lessons, research, event ideas, whatever, blog reading :). i know what i want to accomplish and that’s my time to do it. when i go home and days i don’t come to church, i can be mom and a wife. i can focus on them knowing my work is done for the time being.

    it is working for my sanity this way. i’m a good part beaver and so i always have a mental checklist going that can get overwhelming. so knowing another work day is coming really helps (as opposed to the feel like – i’m never going to be able to steal enough 10 min work sessions to finish)

    yes, my 6 hour school day is not the place i want to spend the bulk of my time. Oh abe we should all thank you for putting our days into correct percentages – not the made up one’s we thought were happening :(. just to share my copayment for childcare went up again for the rest of the year. i am soooo considering not even making it to the end of the year! except for the part of me that likes to finish what i started. stick to the plan.

    ok. i’ve commented enough and i don’t have to be another person to steal holly’s topic onto my blog. since we all have so much to say on this topic

  2. i guess i call because it seems you’re there ‘a lot’. is the church the only place to get stuff done? wouldn’t the prosser library or starbucks use less gas? and not be so far away?

    i think also because you seem to stay long after church is over most days/nights. anyways, i’ll try not to make you feel so guilty anymore by calling. 😛

  3. i tend to resource a variety of book – games books, activity books, etc. i used to have them all here at home, but they were always in the way. those are all at the church. then the copy machine is at the church. if i’m at the church i have what i need. i can put music on. i’m at home there. at a library i’d feel like everyone is looking at me.

    yes, gas, yes, the drive. solution – move to grandview. well i started using the office and joddi jay’s little heater. this made it nice and warm.

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