Striking the Balance

I’m finishing up my June Facebook study on my organizational book and I thought you might enjoy a post I wrote for it a few weeks ago. We were talking about balancing family & outside service/ministry. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Striking the Balance

As we are talking about not being over-committed, it is generating a lot of great questions and comments on both sides. Some gals need to scrape their plates because they are doing too much. But others feel they are not taking on too much and actually wonder if it is always the best to say no to outside opportunities & activities. Glad you asked! Here is my take (and I welcome yours too!)

I see women on both ends of the spectrum.

Some are so busy running around at church, school & in the community that God & their families get all the leftovers. They’ll spend oodles of time planning & teaching a Sunday School lesson, but rarely are intentional at doing a Bible study with their own kids.

Or, they’ll make a fabulous meal for a family who just had a baby or death in the family, while their own clan gets peanut butter & jelly or pizza….again. That woman is so busy serving others that she doesn’t slow down to serve those in her own home. I can talk about “that woman’ because for MANY years….I was her!!

But, there are also women who swing the pendulum the other way and say, “My family is my ministry” so they do nothing outside their four walls. They are at their family’s beck & call and serve them only, reasoning that it would be wrong to place an outside interest ahead of a child or husband or to do something they enjoyed that their family did not. I have also been that woman (but only for a short while).

The trouble I found with each extreme is that gal # 1 is at risk for raising resentful kids since mom was always out saving the world but ignoring them. Gal #2, however, may just end up with spoiled kids who think the world revolves around them.

Tell me, if our kids NEVER see us serve outside our four walls, how will they ever grow up with a passion for people? But, if they see us over-serving, how will they ever build a firm family-first foundation? What is the answer?


Balance that comes through a close walk with God & a prayer relationship with Him so you take your cues from Him as to what you should (& shouldn’t) be involved in.

I want my kids to know they are my priority (after their dad), but I also want them to see me be involved in the lives of others and to catch a glimpse for ministry. So, I ask them to join me!

They help with the day-to-day operations of my writing & speaking. They go with Todd & I to serve at the soup kitchen. They pray for dad as he starts break-time Bible studies at his work place for those who have never cracked a Bible before. They go with me to pull weeds for an elderly neighbor.

We serve together when we can. And other times, we serve alone.

So yes, be prayerful & careful that you don’t take on too much. But also beware of using the family as an excuse not to serve.

While our families are our first and greatest ministry, I’m not convinced they should be our only one.

Yes, there will be seasons where we pull back & focus only on home but we should be sensitive to where God would have us serve (especially in His body–the church). He may just have a plan for our kids to see us in action and catch a heart for service too.

So I say family first…..but not family only.

Now, your thoughts?

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  • Karen, I love to serve. As a pastor’s wife I know that I am called by my husband’s side in ministry. That said, I also know I could be involved in outside ministry 24/7. After all, pastor’s wives can do anything, right? About 25 years ago I read a book called, “Portrait of a Fulfilled Woman”. I don’t even remember who wrote it, but it changed my life. At the time we had 2 toddlers and one on the way. I am an artist and a writer. Needless to say, I got asked to take care of all the creative jobs, which I loved BTW. But, as the mother of young children, I often felt burdened by the projects or events I was involved in. I realized I was pleasing people instead of God. The book helped me realize that if I always said yes, the person the Lord had in mine might not ever get asked. Case in point: There was a young man who started coming to our church. He was a new Christian AND he was an artist. But he never got asked to do anything because, of course, the pastor’s wife would do it. Well, I found out about this young man and encouraged the church to invest in his talent. As it turned out he had prayed that God would use his talent for His glory. As a new Christian this was HUGE! If I had continued to say yes every time I was asked to do something artistic, Brian would not have had a chance to give God his talent. I have learned that I must pray about every request. I must have a willing heart – obedience is crucial – but then I must ask myself, “Am I saying yes to please people, or am I saying yes to please God?” That definitely helps in the balancing department.
    Sweet blessings to you!
    Nan Jones