This post: grace for being a pastor’s wife in the real world.
I have a confession to make:
I have never felt intimidated by a mannequin.
Not even the most well-dressed mannequin, with a perfect figure and a flawless complexion, would make any woman feel jealous or “less than.”
Because we all know that a mannequin isn’t real.
That perfect, plastic lady in the department store window has never
- had a bad hair day
- dealt with hormone issues
- needed face cream to slow down signs of aging
- plucked a gray hair
- had to lose a few pounds in order to fit into her clothes
I will never relate to a mannequin because I’ve had to do all those things.
And it goes without saying that she and I will never be friends.
So what does a mannequin have to do with being a pastor’s wife?
Sometimes I feel like the women at church relate to the pastor’s wife
about as well as I relate to the plastic lady in the shopping mall.
Over the years, I’ve heard these confessions from especially honest friends and church members:
You’re the only pastor’s wife I’ve ever felt like I could actually be friends with.”
I always felt like pastors and their wives are ‘up there’ and the rest of us are ‘down here.'”
I would have never guessed you’re a pastor’s wife. You seem really relatable.”
Where do these illusions about the pastor’s wife come from?
I have a feeling that sometimes these misconceptions might be our fault.
We pastor’s wives impatiently joke about living in a “glass house.”
But do we ever question the glass walls we build that separate us from friendship, community, and influence?
Ministry is a living thing.
In order to live real, we must do three things:
Pastor’s wife, I’d love to send you a free gift… keep reading for more details.
#1 Remove the Mask of Perfection
God had to do some really deep heart-work to let me see the importance of transparency in ministry.
While a few people may find an odd sort of comfort in imagining that their pastor and his wife are above mistakes or struggling,
here’s the TRUTH:
Most people never relate to someone who appears to have it all together.
No one is friends with a mannequin.
We crave flesh-and-blood connections with people who are real and imperfect- like we are.
Perfection is a burden that you and I were never asked to carry.
There is no grace for the load.
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”James 4:6
Bottom line: Authentic friendship is the road to influence.
#2 Cultivate and Maintain a Life Outside the Walls of Your Church
This was a big one for me since I come from a long line of vocational ministers.
There have been times that I had no friends and no community outside of our church, and that isn’t a healthy place to be.
Think about the people in your congregation:
Most likely, every single one of them have friends, jobs, and communities outside of the church body.
Pastor’s wife, you need friends, community, and connections outside of the church body too.
This isn’t in exclusion of your church family, but in addition to.
- Outside community will sharpen your perspective.
- Hobbies, jobs + friendships outside the church provide an outlet for you to live, work + breathe… without the expectations you’re likely dealing with on a regular basis as a pastor’s wife.
- People in your church will relate to you better if they feel like you have a life beyond the “role” they see you operating in on Sundays.
Bottom line: The pastor’s wife must engage in the “real world” where other people are living.
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#3 Spend Time with People
It goes without saying that connecting with people and building influence takes time.
Lots of time.
Maybe even a lifetime.
Chances are, you show up with your husband at most weddings, funerals, church services, workdays, and dinners.
I’m not talking about compulsory activities.
People view those as part of your job.
Move past the sacred shadow of the church and enter their worlds. This is what Jesus did.
Show up for their birthday parties, graduations, open house gatherings, moving days, birthdays, and sick days.
Send cards, remember names, remember birthdays.
Let others see you live and learn and love.
And, yes, let them see you struggle through the hard parts of life too.
Pastor’s wives, you and I know that we are very real people.
But the only way others are going to believe this is if we have the courage to live real.
It can be painful.
It doesn’t feel as safe or as pretty as the plastic mannequin, just out of reach on the pedestal.
But there are worlds of
when you let the real woman live larger than the mask.
LET ME SEND YOU A FREE Gift:
Self-Care Kit For the Pastor’s Wife
1. Click here 2. Drop your name + email.
- Download the free kit. Join my weekly-ish newsletter and as a bonus, you’ll get the printable!
- Print. Any paper will do the trick, but card stock would be ideal.
- Use your kit to practice nourishing your heart, body + mind (give yourself some time to grow- self-care is a lifestyle).
- Keep your kit somewhere handy- tucked inside a pretty folder or journal, for instance, or on your desk next to your favorite pen.
Here’s a sneak peek inside the self-care kit:
What’s your biggest challenge in getting real? Drop a comment below and let’s chat.