There are always those few people in a congregation that slyly tell me their criticisms of my husband or ask me to pass on a message to my husband for them. Seemingly innocent, but not. These are people who consistently act in ways that demonstrate their desire to control my husband. ‘Who better to go through than his wife?’ Details about potlucks or returning their phone calls… it isn’t my responsibility to be the go-between, or to hold my husband accountable. I didn’t sign up for the role of hospitality co-ordinator or personal secretary.
Expectations have everything to do with boundaries.
Knowing what God has called me to, and being responsible within that role – that is my priority. I regularly push back against the expectations of others that try to force me into areas where I am not called to or responsible for.
I find it exhausting.
I would love to do it all – perfectly. I would love ‘to be all things to all people’. I would love to meet all expectations. Nurturing and caring for others comes naturally. But whenever I try to do more than I should, my immune system weakens and I get sick or my mental health suffers. I am not meant to do for other people what they can do for themselves. I’m not even meant to do all of the things that others can’t do for themselves. I have to carefully consider what God has called me to do and what I can add onto my already full plate.
“What matters is not what other people expect us to do but who God has called us to be.”
“Jesus said no to the urgent so he could say yes to the eternal. Sometimes we also need to make that choice. People may be disappointed or angry with us. Things may go undone. But often we need to step back and let there be space before someone else feels led to fill it. Our job as church leaders is not to do all the ministry; it is to equip the saints to carry out the work of the ministry. And to do so we must learn the art of saying no.” (Renewed, pg 32, Leigh Powers)
I came across this quote in the past year from Jill Briscoe: “There is an art of leaving things undone so that the greater thing can be done.”
I made this printable for it and have it framed on my desk so that as I move throughout this school year, I remember to carve out time to work on those projects that God has called me to. I am going to have to leave some burdens of responsibility behind so that I can carry others. I need to be obedient to the Father for the greater good. His expectations of me are the only ones that I want to carry.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30