By Rosalyn Goodall
As women in ministry, we are accustomed to being servants and people pleasers. We try to be obliging and we want people to like us. But we may sometimes feel out of control, victimized by the velocity and direction of life. Eagerness to please can make us vulnerable. Satan would love to rob us of our purpose, energy and joy. He looks for the right tactic to neutralize our effectiveness. Depending on the nature of our personality and our areas of weakness, he can often be effective using one of these 7 common strategies.
When my husband and I first began Vienna Christian Center in Vienna, Austria—we had dinner with a retired missionary who cautioned us saying; “the greatest tool the devil uses on pastors and missionaries is discouragement.” We were somewhat surprised with her counsel, however in the many years of ministry we have seen the wisdom of her comment.
Sometimes in ministry we feel like a failure. Maybe we have been comparing ourselves with others. You may wonder what’s wrong when your life doesn’t run as smoothly as someone else’s. You may doubt your walk with God, and wonder if God will ever give you victories in your ministry and your home. During times of discouragement, “Take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Trust God and know that “the steps of a good man [or woman] are ordered by the Lord” (Psalm 37:23, KJV). Memorize God’s promises that especially apply to what you’re going through. Put them on 3 by 5 index cards and hang them on our mirror, or carry them in your purse or planner and review them frequently.
All are realities and Satan loves to find the woman who wants to serve God with all of her heart but can’t say “no” to anyone or anything. She is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This lifestyle may lead to stress and burnout.
During stress and burnout, a woman may feel sick, guilty, exhausted, or doubt her call, and maybe her salvation. Jesus didn’t minister like that. To prevent stress and burnout, we need to look at Jesus’ life. He set a balanced example by taking time to rest and pray. He did not die at an early age from overwork. Remember—the church is the Lord’s and He can handle the problems.
Destruction of Your Marriage and Family Unity
There is power when you and your husband agree in prayer. If Satan can drive a wedge between the two of you, or keep you from discovering this power together, he can make you weak and vulnerable.
You need to be one with your spouse emotionally. Respect your spouse and have open lines of communication with him. Date each other. Have fun together—personal fun—not just ministry.
You and your spouse also need to respect each other. Take care of issues that keep you emotionally apart. Be careful to protect your marriage—even if you need counseling. Don’t be naïve regarding your husband. Be aware of women who would like to get close to him. Best friends are often the objects of affairs.
Our children’s needs are also important. It is critical that we listen to and encourage them. In the pressures of Christian/ministry life, we may place unreasonable or impossible demands for perfection on our children. Listen to them and respect them.
We will not meet everybody’s expectations all of the time. No matter what we do, or how we do it, someone may be disappointed—we must learn to live with that. “The fear of man brings a snare” (Proverbs 29:25). We can’t be everything to everybody, and we will be exhausted and frustrated trying to please everyone. Honesty assess what you feel passionate about—what ignites your creative spark—and do the things you are gifted to do. Your ultimate responsibility is to please God.
It hurts to be criticized, rejected and opposed. The pain we feel is sometimes followed by anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness. We personalize criticism and rejection, and may resent people for hurting our husband or children. It may take a long time to realize what or who is behind these attacks. Remember, we fight “not against flesh and blood” (Ephesians 6:12). We must pray, “Lord, put Your hedge of protection around our hearts and our children’s hearts and help us deal with each situation with wisdom and love.” Claim the promise in Isaiah 54:17, “No weapon forged against you will prevail.” Forgiveness releases a prisoner, and that prisoner is you.
Depression and Worry
Depression and worry are not from God. When it goes unhealed, Satan has a foothold in our lives. Take responsibility for your own life; don’t blame others, point fingers, or feel sorry for yourself.
Some feel they will never get well. They are exhausted and can’t sleep at night. Depression may be biochemical, so medication and counseling may be necessary. When people recover from depression, they feel like they’ve been given back their lives. No matter how bad your life may seem, with God’s help, you can turn it into something better if you don’t concentrate on how bad it is today. Avoiding disappointment means avoiding life; disappointment is a necessary teacher.
We must keep our egos in check. It is sad when people take credit for what God has done in their lives. Avoid the self-righteousness that comes when we measure ourselves against others and tell God that we are thankful we are not like others (Luke 18:11). One lady may be leading a Bible study, and the other is in God’s will while doing dishes and talking to Him. All of the people we serve are part of God’s assignment.
Be humble and ask God where you may have offended someone. Be quick to ask for forgiveness. To achieve God’s purpose for your life, you need to ask God to make you a vessel He can use and endeavor to make Jesus your first love. Be a yielded vessel. God is still working on you.
Under the title of Executive International Rosalyn and her husband, Wayde, oversee Marriage and Family discipleship in all regions of the world. Their book, Marriage and Family has been translated into 15 languages and presently is being used in many nations. As Executive International, Rosalyn and Wayde served as appointed missionaries under the Executive Director of the World Missions office. They oversaw training in marriage and family principles in over 30 countries. This includes working with various denominational leaders, government leaders, pastor’s conferences, seminars, and marriage and family retreats. They have pastored and founded multiple churches together. Together they have two beautiful daughters.
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