My husband went from being a PhD student in physics to a pastor. This meant that at church we went from being fairly low profile to eventually being in the ‘public eye’. As I discussed in a previous post, the church was my pond full of people to connect with, now that pool was about to shrink. When I gave my blessing on this career change, I didn’t know about all the areas that it would affect in my life – including my relational connection need.
Small Group to No Group…
Many church going people, including myself, find community in a small group. It’s a great place to be known and know others. I had a great small group and just about the time my life was really changing, our small group ended. I was really sad. I needed this group and I loved them, but change happens. And my life changed in many ways. Two big changes were that I became a new mother and my husband started his new position as a pastor.
Who Can I Talk to?
My husband’s call to ministry meant our family would be in the public eye on a whole new level. At first it’s exciting and exhilarating, but as time goes on, it becomes clear that it’s not so easy. For instance, it’s hard to be the ‘real you’ with everyone. I’m not talking about hiding things or being dishonest, but where most people can talk openly about their lives with their church small group, we couldn’t always because our life was the church. Some topics are just off limits to non-staff until decisions are made and other topics are private because of pastoral confidence. The list goes on.
So, losing the small group who knew the real me and not having the flexibility to find a new group before entering into a leadership partnering role was not easy. It’s only years later that I can see more clearly how hard it is for leaders to be truly known. It’s hard to find the balance of being that listening ear for so many, but also making sure that we have someone to listen to us.
We are still finding the balance, but one way we’ve found is to make connections and relationships with other leaders. True, we don’t see all of them often, but modern technology does make it easier to do quick texts back and forth. It’s also important for us to stay connected to the people that knew us before we were leaders – this was a nugget of wisdom dropped to us by another leader-friend. Family has been really important in this area too, not just blood-family, but people who are ‘like-family.’ Connection is so valuable. When we have it we often don’t realize it, but when it’s missing it’s a gaping hole. Actively investing in life-giving relationships is necessary. We find people that give life to us and then we choose to turn around and give life back to them.
1 thought on “Shrinking Pool”
Thanks for your honestly and vulnerability. I love getting to know you better!