Many of us think that we know what is truth and error. We feel we can separate false assumptions from truthful assumptions. But, when we go about our everyday lives, we may unconsciously be doing things which add to our stress level, tear apart our marriages and families, and give improper role models to our congregations.
Because we are fallen human beings, only God knows the answers to many of the dilemmas that we face. Here are some statements to reflect upon and analyze. Is there a hidden myth in your life which rules you? Consider why these assumptions are not true or why they may seem true to you. Use your Bible as a guide. (This is good for Shepherdess get-togethers or for use in small groups.)
Ten myths to ponder or discuss
- It is always selfish to care for my own needs before others.
- When people or the church have needs, I must always attempt to fill them.
- I don't cultivate female friendships because my husband is my best friend, and he is all I need.
- Because my parents were Seventh-day Adventists, I am the product of an ideal family.
- Because I love God and am faithful to return tithes and give offerings, whatever hard situation I find myself in is His will.
- Many times the church needs come before my husband and my family.
- I should be available whenever someone wants to talk to me.
- Because my husband is the head of our house, I do not feel I should ever question his decisions.
- I must attend all functions of the church to show my support, even if I have children.
- When I disagree with my husband or a church member, it is always better not to say anything.
Points to ponder
Some comments and points to ponder:
- When people ride in airplanes, adults are taught, in case of emergency, to put their oxygen masks on themselves first before their children. Is this because children aren't as important? No! This is so the adult can function adequately so he/she can also help the child. Backwards, they may both become disoriented from lack of oxygen and perish. The Bible says to love your neighbor as yourself (Lev. 19:18). People who dislike themselves often dislike other people —they spend more time comparing themselves to others and competing with them than caring for them. We must take care of ourselves so we have the strength to care adequately for those around us.
- We are responsible to God for how we manage our time. We need to put most of our energy into the responsibilities God has given us, our spouse, our children, and our health. When we have sufficiently covered our obligations, He will give us other responsibilities and give us the wisdom to keep balance in our lives. Spreading ourselves too thin can set us up for failure, burnout, and bitterness. Moderation in all things is important to remember.
- God's plan is that we have close, intimate relationships with our husband. Only God can fill our deep longings, and our husband cannot be responsible for all our friendship needs. We need to nurture friendship bonds with other women with whom we can be friends, pray, and share. Too many pastoral wives look to their husband to fill all their social needs and miss out on other special relationships. We should take time to develop close spiritual bonds with other women.
- Many times you may have said, "When I grow up, I will never do that," yet we often find ourselves walking down the same pathway as our parents. We are all creatures of patterns set down from one generation to another. We need to forgive our parents for their shortcomings, and we have a responsibility to see where those ingrained patterns are taking us. We need to ask ourselves, "What would I like to do different in my parenting? How would I like to deal differently with my spouse? What can I learn from mistakes in comments or discipline?"
- We know that trauma, sin, and suffering was never God's plan. The fact is we live in a world controlled by Satan and his evil angels. We are not immune to his malicious attacks, but God can bring positive things out of suffering. With every crisis, hopefully we will emerge closer and more dependent on Jesus for our every need.
- Similar to myth two, we must recognize our priorities. Many people have thrown all of their energy into the church only to lose their families. If church members consume all of our time, our family outings, vacations, and birthday celebrations are always on the back burner. Our children will know where they stand in order of importance. Message machines and cars can help us distance ourselves from everyday events so we can spend uninterrupted time with our family. These days, family time needs to be scheduled, and it must take priority.
- Our motive to help someone is not always unselfish. Sometimes we want to solve problems so we won't be bothered again, sometimes it's to appease our guilt, sometimes it's to win a friendship, and sometimes it's to get the person to join the church. Many times we do not guard our homes or personal boundaries because we don't like to take a stand on issues. We need to decide our priorities, time limits and our motives when we are helping others. Will our help make them dependent? Will we be encouraging their growth? Will this help them spiritually?
- God made woman to be the helpmeet of her husband. Women have special perspectives which men need. If God did not expect woman to have an active role in her marriage, why the need to even create her? Many times opposites marry, and sharing both opinions will give balance to the couple's plans and issues.
- Children do not become Christians because they are made to sit through endless meetings. We need to do everything in moderation. We can become calloused by attending church all the time if we lose the appreciation of the people and its services. Home life is important for our children. They need scheduled time to do their studies and have some normalness in the family schedule.
- When we feel strongly about something, we should express it. Jesus cared to confront people in a loving way. Our attitude should not be one of antagonism, pride and control, but one of helping others and working together. Stifling opinions many times only adds to anger and frustration. The body of Christ needs all the talents, ideas, and gifts pastoral wives have been given by their Creator.
Ponder these myths in your own situation. Through prayer and a relationship with Jesus, be assured He will always guide you in the way He knows is best. *