Guest Contributor, Karen Ehman
As we are talking about not being over-committed, it is generating a lot of great questions and comments on both sides. Some gals need to scrape their plates because they are doing too much. But others feel they are not taking on too much and actually wonder if it is always the best to say no to outside opportunities & activities. Here is my take (and I welcome yours too!)
I see women on both ends of the spectrum.
Some are so busy running around at church, school & in the community that God & their families get all the leftovers. They’ll spend oodles of time planning & teaching a Sunday School lesson, but rarely are intentional at doing a Bible study with their own kids.
Or, they’ll make a fabulous meal for a family who just had a baby or death in the family, while their own clan gets peanut butter & jelly or pizza….again. That woman is so busy serving others that she doesn’t slow down to serve those in her own home. I can talk about “that woman’ because for MANY years….I was her!!
But, there are also women who swing the pendulum the other way and say, “My family is my ministry” so they do nothing outside their four walls. They are at their family’s beck & call and serve them only, reasoning that it would be wrong to place an outside interest ahead of a child or husband or to do something they enjoyed that their family did not. I have also been that woman (but only for a short while).
The trouble I found with each extreme is that gal # 1 is at risk for raising resentful kids since mom was always out saving the world but ignoring them. Gal #2, however, may just end up with spoiled kids who think the world revolves around them.
Tell me, if our kids NEVER see us serve outside our four walls, how will they ever grow up with a passion for people? But, if they see us over-serving, how will they ever build a firm family-first foundation? What is the answer?
Balance that comes through a close walk with God & a prayer relationship with Him so you take your cues from Him as to what you should (& shouldn’t) be involved in.
I want my kids to know they are my priority (after their dad), but I also want them to see me be involved in the lives of others and to catch a glimpse for ministry. So, I ask them to join me!
They help with the day-to-day operations of my writing & speaking. They go with Todd & I to serve at the soup kitchen. They pray for dad as he starts break-time Bible studies at his work place for those who have never cracked a Bible before. They go with me to pull weeds for an elderly neighbor.
We serve together when we can. And other times, we serve alone.
So yes, be prayerful & careful that you don’t take on too much. But also beware of using the family as an excuse not to serve.
While our families are our first and greatest ministry, I’m not convinced they should be our only one.
Yes, there will be seasons where we pull back & focus only on home but we should be sensitive to where God would have us serve (especially in His body–the church). He may just have a plan for our kids to see us in action and catch a heart for service too.
So I say family first…..but not family only.
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About the Author, Karen Ehman:
Through her daily blog, writing ventures and many speaking events, Karen’s passion is to provide women with creative inspiration and doable ideas to help them live their priorities and love their lives. She is the Director of the Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker team and is a contributor to Focus on the Family’s magazine Thriving Family.
A popular presenter at Hearts at Home moms’ conferences, Karen is also the author of five books including The Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized, A Life That Says Welcome: Simple Ways to Open Your Heart and Home to Others and the recently released best-selling ebookUntangling Christmas: Your Go-To Guide for a Hassle-Free Holiday.
She has been a guest on national media shows including The 700 Club, At Home Live, Engaging Women, The Harvest Show, Moody Midday Connection and Focus on the Family. The mother of three, she and her college sweetheart Todd just celebrated their silver anniversary. You can find her blogging at http://www.karenehman.com.
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