Parenting as church leaders – Who is looking after you?
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – church leadership can be a lonely place. After all, it’s not like you can share how you are feeling on a bad day with anyone and everyone in your congregation, and sometimes you are the only one going to sleep worrying about the things that concern you.
As a couple, we know many of the intimate details of the lives of others, but often, there are not many (if any) who know the struggles and strains that we are carrying.
If we are to be resilient as leaders, parents and spouses, we must be vigilant about the dangers of isolation. The enemy of our souls would love us to become lonely and separated from those who could offer us wisdom and encouragement.
Secret disappointments and the toxic lie that we are the only ones who feel this about our marriage/parenting/ministry, when allowed to fester, will infect our hearts with bitterness, jealousy or cynicism and lead us to make choices we might later regret.
A few years ago, in a season when we were feeling particularly isolated, I felt the nudge of God challenging me to “build your tribe”. I knew that finding safe spaces, fun and fellowship wouldn’t happen by accident, and honestly, the stress and ‘important work’ had encroached on the time and energy needed to build meaningful relationships that would build us up.
We knew we had to fill our tank before our resources ran dry; we had to create what we wished we had, and it would mean prioritising our own wellbeing as well as the needs of others.
This shift in thinking resulted in small choices that made a big difference – scheduling weekends away with friends in ministry who ‘get it’, going to conferences to meet others, prioritising time with wise mentors and friends and, of course, finding opportunities to have more fun with friends and family without feeling guilty.
Building your tribe might be a life-long journey, and it does require vulnerability and some false starts. But even today, we are reaping the benefits of the tribe we now treasure. Their support, prayers and concern for our family often give us the courage we need to carry on.
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that isolation is not God’s plan for us. We are so much stronger, and life is so much better when we share the journey with others.
As a family
Do you have another family that builds both you and your children up? If you do, book in some time with them to chat and have fun. If you don’t, ask God to show you a family that could be part of your ‘tribe’, close friends that you can trust and be honest with. Having these people in our lives also benefits our children loads as they have trusted adults that they can go to in the stages of life when they perhaps won’t want to talk to their parents as much!
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"It was so good to talk to other mums who are struggling with the same things as me."
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