I’ve been set free. For far too many years I was consumed with the desire (mostly because I felt it was expected) to be highly organized, to be extremely efficient as a ministry leader, to set margins and boundaries and let those help me live a well-balanced life and ministry. I read books, attended seminars and even paid a consultant to spend three days with me to help me figure it all out. I felt confused, and at times guilty, when I’d hear another youth ministry colleague pontificate about his/her victory over their schedule and the church’s, demands on their time. They had attained time management utopia; these men and women were free from the expectations of others and the masters of their own lives….every perfectly planned, organized and accounted for minute.
But I lived and ministered differently. Instead of following the 11th commandment of “Pick a night of the week for date night and let NOTHING get in the way of it!”, I simply chose to value the idea of prioritizing quality time with Rachel and making sure it happened. And it rarely happened on the same night two weeks in a row. Sometimes (brace yourself for this…) we would go a week without having a date! I let my ministry life completely intertwine with my personal life. We had volunteers and students in our home several nights a week, our children tagged along on most activities and some of our date nights were spent shopping for supplies at Target and thrift stores. I had been taught to say “NO” to as many church expectations as I possibly could in order to preserve my sanity and protect my marriage (How fragile must ministry marriages be if a few extra expectations by our employers pose a threat?). But I had a tendency to say “YES”, and enjoyed every minute of it.
Occasionally I’d work on my day off, and simply replace it with a different day of rest on any particular week. I’d be an absentee dad the week heading into summer camp, and the world’s greatest dad the week after. I’d cancel date night with Rachel because my pastor (read, boss.), called a late-night meeting, and I’d make it up by ditching out of the office early two days later.
We are all wired differently. Some reading this little article are naturally organized; managing your calendar, a balanced and ordered life comes naturally to you. I would never suggest trading that approach to the one I’ve described.
But maybe you’re different. Maybe you have fought too hard the battle for balance. Maybe you aren’t wired for perfectly scheduled living. Perhaps you see each day as a mostly blank canvas waiting to be colored by what the day presents.
Maybe you are a person for whom order serves you well.
Maybe you are comfortable, even more successful, when there is some disorder in your world. I am, and for years I spent far too much energy trying to fight it.
God wants us to be healthy leaders, to have healthy friendships and healthy families. He wants us to be fruitful and fulfilled in our ministry calling and make a significant impact for His kingdom.
We’ve been taught that disorder is what prevents this from happening.
But for some of us….it’s the best chance we’ve got!