Sometimes you have to learn this the hard way. Ministry is much more than a 9-5 job. You have long nights, early mornings, and lots of spiritually draining moments in between. The Bible studies you lead, the girls you meet with, and the events you attend are all innately good things, and they are great ways to mentor, reach, and disciple girls. However, if you are not careful, you will see your work is determining the course your life instead of Jesus.
Since the start of my work in Girls’ Ministry, I have had to work extremely hard on my time management. I love being with people and more than anything I want to see my girls love Jesus. At the beginning, I ran myself dry because I exhausted myself with “too many good things” and was not being fed myself. Because I was not allowing myself time to be filled and rejuvenated, the time and attention I was giving to the girls was not excellent. I was present, but even my presence was lacking fruit.
Each of us is unique. We are all gifted in different ways, we all have different lives we go home to, and we all reach people in different ways. Only you know you, and I can’t tell you how much you can give before you burn out. And like I said previously, you might have to learn this the hard way.
Here are some ways to help you live out your calling with excellence:
- Set goals and map out your week
Again, only you know you! Maybe you can effectively meet with 3 girls one-on-one, lead one Bible study, attend one student-led Bible study, meet with one leader, and write 10 notes in a week. The key word here is “effectively”. Some weeks this is not possible and some weeks more may be possible. Goals are a great way to check boundaries and learn how you are wired. Do not allow your unmet goals to bring guilt; instead allow them to help you evaluate your effectiveness going into the next week. Some of you may not be planners (that is perfectly okay), but mapping out your week in advance will help you be more effective and protect yourself from over use. Of course, ALWAYS be sensitive to where the Lord leads you during the week and obey.
- You can say no
Man, this was hard for me to learn! But after utilizing the word “no” in my vocabulary, I have gained so much freedom. You will not have the time or energy to attend every opportunity you have during some weeks. Know where you are spiritually and discern whether this “good” thing is the BEST THING. The first time I responded with a “no” to a good thing I felt rude. But I began to realize, if I do not allow myself proper usage of the word “no” I will not be effective or obedient. Some days a nap is BETTER than going to the park with your juniors. Some days traveling an hour to have dinner with your parents is BETTER than attending a homecoming assembly (PS- Make your family a priority!). Sometimes taking a day off is BETTER than prepping for camp.
- Your prep time is not your quiet time
You need to be filled as much as you want your girls to be filled. Most of us have some kind of teaching prep every week. Whether you are preparing to speak at an event, meeting with your leaders, or teaching a Bible study, dwelling in scripture happens on the job. Let’s be honest- this is part of your job requirements. Do not allow the time you spend prepping in scripture “at work” to be your quiet time.
When spending time in scripture in preparation for a “work task”, you are a lady on a mission and you have an agenda. Your quiet time should be a no agenda, “I’m listening, Lord”, “you have my full attention”, “I need your presence” kind of quiet time. Do not mistake preparation for pure presence. Depend on Him.
- Sabbath matters
For a church staff, Sunday is a work day, yet Sabbath rest is biblical and needed. For our church staff, our Sabbath is Friday. I cannot stress to you enough the importance of your Sabbath day, but you must use it wisely. In the beginning of my ministry at First West, I would use my Sabbath day as an opportunity to binge on Netflix or be lazy on the couch all day. I found myself feeling more exhausted instead of rejuvenated the next day. I learned that I had to use my Sabbath as a launching point for the next week. The only way I could do that was to allow myself to be fed by His word.
Be wise, use discernment, and lean in to the best things.