As a leader, when do you put on your big girl panties? As you juggle your responsibilities, do you struggle with what to pick up and what to put down? If so, you will enjoy this post by Dr. Deb Douglas., Add links with her name and photo, graphic? (be careful about graphic!)
On the day the tornado ripped apart Tuscaloosa, AL, my hometown, I was busy being a Minister to Women at my church. Instead of phoning relatives to check on their safety, I was leading a panel discussion on becoming a godly mom. The news came right as the event began. The panel members were in place, the women were arriving eager to ask experienced moms questions about how to survive the everyday struggles of motherhood. I prayed quickly and began the discussion. When the last question was answered, I was out the door and on the phone.
As ministers, there are times when our lives are put on hold so we can complete the task at hand. At other times we have to walk away from the ministry event or obligation and focus on our personal crisis. There is a fine balance between personal life and ministry. When do we “put on our big girl panties” and go on? When do we leave the ministry in the hands of others and focus on our life? Tough questions without easy answers.
Unfortunately, I do think I’ve put on the big girl panties too often. I have slapped on a mask to cover my own emotions and went on with the show. Looking back, there are times when I wish I would have trusted God to be in control of the ministry and use others in my place while I focused on my family. Hindsight cannot rewrite history, but it can change the way I do things in the future.
After a lifetime of being in ministry, I have tackled the issue of walking the tightrope. If a member of my immediate family is in crisis (meaning blood, guts, and gore or imminent danger), then I will walk away from whatever I have going on ministry-wise and minister to my family. Defining crisis makes it easier to know where the balance line is. Crisis is not when my daughter is having a bad hair day and is texting me nonstop. Crisis shouts, “Intervene NOW!”
If constant turmoil and family drama are the issue, then learning to put on the big girl panties is part of learning endurance and forbearance. All of us have issues, including those of us called to minister. Putting those issues aside does not mean refusing to deal with them; it just means choosing a more convenient, beneficial time to deal.
Communicating with the family that there are times the needs of others will take precedence, but not always, helps the family be prepared for the times when I’m not available. Part of being a healthy minister means ministering to my own family as well. Being proactive in scheduling family time and turning off the phone protects our family from feeling forgotten.
As women, whether in ministry or not, we all find themselves dealing with the balancing act of work, church and family. Communication helps the family understand that “unavailable” does not mean “unloving” or “uncaring”. I keep my big girl panties on hand for those times when I have to go on in the midst of turmoil, but I turn my phone off when with my family. It’s the balance I’ve found that works for me.
Dr. Deb Douglas, is the Minister to Women, First Baptist Church, Bossier City, LA and also serves as one of our LifeWay Ministry Multipliers. Deb launched her first women’s Bible study at the age of 20. Her passion is encouraging and equipping women to serve. She is the Minister to Women at FBC Bossier City and a conference/retreat speaker, strategic planning consultant, and freelance writer. Deb graduated from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters of Arts in Christian Education/Women’s Ministry and a Doctor of Education in Ministry degree from NOBTS. She is the wife of Paul, mom of Jared and Katie, and mother-in-law to Emily.