Do you feel a bit like you and your family are living in a fishbowl or a glass house? Being a part of a minister’s family, we often feel different pressures than those experienced by fellow Christian friends and other family. There are different expectations for the minister and his family. You and your family can often feel the pressure to behave, look, and respond in the right way.
Often our family is measured with a different ruler. Is this fair? Well, no, but guess what, it is still going to happen. And guess what else, our families are not going to live up to these expectations. Mercy, our children might act like kids! I like to say that you can blame it on the deacon’s kids they hang out with!
Our family might have to deal with things like feeling isolated, alone or confused. They might even struggle with anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, loneliness, and questioning their faith. Let’s be clear, being in ministry and being a part of a minister’s family is often very hard. Ministry is no cake walk. Being “on” all the time is exhausting. There are expectations of our families to be happy, content, never complain and have joy 24/7.
I have been a minister’s wife for 27 years. There are days when I think, boy, if he could just go to a factory and punch in and punch out life would be easier. We all have those days.
There were days when my kids were younger when the mama bear came out longing to protect them from the criticism of others. Often self-criticism is more damaging for them than the criticism of others because they didn’t want to disappoint or embarrass us. Wow, like it’s not hard enough to be a kid these days.
We want to be in this for the long haul and fulfill our calling, right? What can we do to press on with joy and strength?
First, realize that we are not alone! Let others into your life and share your burdens (Gal 6:2). We were made to be connected with others who are authentic and give life.
Second, we have experienced counselors here at Living Well Professional Counseling that will partner with you and your family to help cope with stress, anxiety, marriage issues, depression, and family relationships. Lots of our counselors are ministers, married to them or grew up in ministry so they understand the pressures. Let’s get over the stigma about counseling. Remember, we offer six sessions at no charge for our ABSC families. We have in-person and telehealth appointments to help minister to you.
Third, God wants to meet you right where you are. Tell God how you feel emotionally. Pray the Psalms. Cast all your cares on Him who cares for you (1 Pet 5:7).
Finally, if you’re able, get outside and walk. Enjoy the sunshine. Notice God’s creation. Then, sing that favorite hymn that you learned as a kid.