Friday, February 5, 2010

Going Dark

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My love for Jack Bauer and 24 runs deep...and wide. He has two key phrases that he says all the time.
  1. You have my word
  2. I'm going dark
Now, before I lose all of you who have no idea what I'm blabbing about, let me explain. When Jack says he's going dark, he means he's shutting his cell phone off, taking out the ear piece and getting the job done, without the input/help of his co-workers.

This week, I've had my own version of "going dark."

I mentioned a new book I received. I sat down this weekend and started it, and it didn't take long for me to realize that there was much that I know about being a pastors wife, mom, and friend that was not actually being played out in my life like I desire it to be. Not way off course, but just enough askew that I couldn't shake that feeling of being drained by people, no matter how much I tried to fill myself up in prayer and God's Word, at the end of the day I just felt sort of used-up.

I had to take a good hard look at my days, my relationships and focus to figure out where I was off course. In her book, Lisa quotes a motivational speaker, Jim Rohn who says, "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." And I thought to myself, how stinkin' true.

Ministry is tricky. Part of ministry is bearing one anothers burdens, listening, lending support. And when it rains, it pours. I'm not sure why it is, but it is. It seems like those around me are being hit hard right now. I'm thankful to be able to listen, yet when it's coming from all different directions...it's hard to shut it off.

I'm in no way saying I don't want people to come to me...it's not about them, it's about me being able to establish boundaries with the information. Sometimes it's nice to be the one people come to...yet sometimes, they're not meant to come to me.

I took some time to evaluate who my five are. Who are the people that I spend the most time with? Am I allowing it to drain me? Is it balanced the way God desires it to be?

The book also reminded me of my priorities, of my real ministry. I'd lost sight of that, without even realizing it. I'd made my ministry into listening and being there for people. It's not wrong, it's just gotten out of whack, thanks to me.

My first priority needs to be my time with Jesus. I need to be selfish about it. If I answer that phone before my time with Him, then I've just moved Him to less important than ministry.

My husband is next. As his wife, I get to be his biggest support. I help him far more in ministry by being a support to him and our kids, than I do by bearing other's burdens that were not mine to mess with in the first place.

My boys. Man I love them. And if I've spent every last bit of energy on others, they suffer the most...because my patience is just gone. They are the ministry God has given me. The disciplining, the encouraging, the homework, the meals...all of it. It sometimes feels like busywork...but it is God-ordained busywork for me. They are lives and souls that God has entrusted to me. Soon, there will be a baby here, and that is going to require me to dial it in even more. I need to guard my family.

And Julie...a teenager. Uffda. Julie just has 4 months left here with us. There's no doubt God ordained for her to be with our family while in America. Those late night talks, the tears over teenage stuff...she needs me. I need to have enough left to give her.

Extended family, friends and ministry are next. What I need to learn is that all of them are not meant for me to minister to. Discernment is key. Big time.

I guess all the babbling boils down to this: Sometimes, it's necessary to go dark. It's the only time I can hear my Savior softly speak. Otherwise, everyone else's voices tend to drown him out. Going dark is going to be something I implement on a regular basis from now on.

Monday, I will be doing a give-away for Lisa's book, You Can Still Wear Cute Shoes and sharing with you some more stuff that I just love, love, love about this book. And now that I've read it, I think it's a must read for everyone. If you are a pastors wife, it's fantastic, no matter how long you've been in ministry. If you go to church, you need to read it because I think it will help you see your pastors wife in a new way...human. ;) Heck, even if you know a pastors wife you need to read it. Everyone wins. :)

Come back Monday.

19 comments:

  1. Man, I so want to get this book! I think I really need it.

    Hope you have a great weekend!
    -FringeGirl

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  2. I love this and I miss your posts. :)

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  3. Sarah, thanks so much for sharing from the heart...Jack Bauer is a bad @#!#@ (you know us preacher's wives don't use words like that) :) He does what it takes to get the job done and that's why people love watching him!!
    I tell people all the time, "ministry is hard!" You're right, it is tricky and to balance all of the stuff that comes along with ministry is tough. I need those "going dark" moments often also or else my FATHER'S voice is so hard to hear. I often uplift my sisters who are walking this journey called "pastors wife" along with me ~ that we walk humbly with our God, love our husbands passionately, and show Jesus to our children every day! I'll be back on Monday to enter!

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  4. You had me at Going Dark! I'm a huge 24 fan. Thanks for your honest post. I think at times we all have "toxic" relationships that drain us or side track us.

    This is especially powerful, "My first priority needs to be my time with Jesus. I need to be selfish about it. If I answer that phone before my time with Him, then I've just moved Him to less important than ministry." So, so true!

    Thanks for sharing. Blessings, SusnaD

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  5. It's pouring here today. And my husband has been gone out of the US since last Thurs. He gets home tomorrow to the flood from the pouring.
    I SO want that book. It is a must when payday gets here - or maybe I can win it! :)

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  6. I can not wait to read this book!!

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  7. Going dark -- great way to describe it.

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  8. Thank you so much for sharing! This totally hits home to me too. I truly agree that in ministry when it rain it pours and this week has been a POURING week for us. I am so thankful for your sweet reminder of how ministry should truly look.
    I am excited about your giveway! This book sounds fantastic!

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  9. Beautiful post. I love & will now use the "going dark" phrase. Could really mean "going light!", because His presence is so much more refreshing while other's words can be very draining. huh?

    Learning to say "no" is a huge deal for a pastor's wife. You can also ask God what are your true "assignments" in prayer or in time use. Then you can say to others, "I'm sorry but that us not my assignment right now." I think you already listed your assignments!

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  10. This book is on my list, and if I can win it, BONUS!!!

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  11. This is GOOD!! I need to be *going dark*. Sounds like a great book!!

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  12. I *heart* Jack. I *heart* 24! I *heart* you & your wonderful blog!

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  13. Wisdom according to Jack Bauer. I saw that book and it piqued my interest, fun to hear your thoughts on it.

    Good stuff Sarah.

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  14. Excellent post. Maybe your best post yet. I just ordered my book and can't wait to get it.

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  15. I watched every season of 24 until last year . . . somehow I lost interest. I guess I am a 24 loser.

    Anyway - love your post.

    There is an award waiting for you at my place.

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  16. Even though I'm not a pastors wife I need to read it. I've never heard the phrase "you are the average of the five people you spent the most time with" but it totally makes sense. I also made me realize there are people in my life I need to take a step back from ~one friend in particular. Not that's it's a bad relationship but it can be a draining one for me at times.
    I look forward to more of your thoughts on the book.

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  17. The never ending battle of discerning what our time is for... this is for me a daily battle and also changes a little each day. Last week my eldest son seemed the priority, the week before it was my husband, and before that it was a friend, and perhaps this week it is the vegetable lady at my front gate...

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  18. sarah, this was a great post. Some days i want to speak honestly like you do, but I still lack the courage. I have been going through a hard season in ministry and all that you said is so true. i would love to read this book. If I don't win it, i will likely have to buy me a copy. I so want to read it...I feel I need it.

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