After breaking down from ministry overload, I started really questioning my priorities, and over the past few months I’ve had some definite impressions: Maybe God wants to fulfill me in ways I never dreamed, not only by making my love my life’s work, but also my mode of ministry. I’m talking about writing, of course.
You see, something I’ve been struggling with since I’ve been staying home to write is balancing my “work” life with my ministry life. I’ve tried setting goals for myself, such as writing twenty-five hours a week…and I can’t explain why accomplishing this has been so hard when I don’t technically hold another “job.”
As I’ve been praying about this, God has suggested some reasons for the difficulty: I’ve been too controlling of others, I’ve taken it upon myself to provide for others, and I’ve allowed myself to get pulled from my writing to do jobs that I really shouldn’t be doing. This ranges from using my daily writing time for ministry emails or phone calls to saying yes every time friends suggest an outing. Lately I’ve also recognized a danger of losing all focus on my work because I get too involved with other people.
I have struggled to place my work time above “people” time—it’s become hard to sort out when to say no and when to say yes. My hubby always encourages me to go for the people time: “Take a break!” he says to his chronically busy wife. But after several months of frequent “breaks,” I feel I’m too often setting aside work. I’ve been documenting my writing hours each week, and sometimes I’m struggling to even reach ten or fifteen. Lately I have the added challenge of being short on energy due to pregnancy—so my “usable” hours have shrunk. I literally don’t have energy to do as much as I used to.
So, I am forced to choose.
The things I do are all “good” things. Building ministries, building relationships, writing an inspirational book. But I can’t do it all. What should I do?
I have some other impressions, I think, telling me I have to focus on my work right now. Because it might be my calling. It might be the single most significant way I’m meant to minister to others. If this is true, therein lies the answer to my work/ministry balance. My work is my ministry.
Right now while I’m still unpublished (bookwise) it’s hard to see it. The fruits of my labor are not yet tangible, as they are in my prayer ministry, church choir, and former Bible study. I see no immediate return. This is where faith comes in. What if Noah had given up on building the ark during the 120 years before its use?
For now, I am praying for God to give me more faith. I need clarity and insight, too, in case I am misguided about what God really wants me to do. I need to know for certain if these impressions about writing are my true calling—and then, if they are, I need to resolve to walk in the path God has placed in front of me. That is, if God has appointed me to write for my life’s work and my ministry, I need to stop being distracted by other “good” things, and let him bring forth fruit where I’m most fertile.
“Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.”
(Proverbs 4:25-27, NLT)