Beautiful, worship filled Sunday’s are full of wonderful fellowship and flowing, living waters. As a ministry wife, there is another perspective besides church. Perhaps you teach Sunday school, offer a nursery, luncheons and so on. True, those can be extra work for you on a Sunday, but I am referring to your home. Does your home suffer from Ministry Mush?
Ministry Mush: (adj.) The aftermath of full outpouring of mind and soul into people you love, while serving and worshiping a God you adore.
Ministry Mush Brain
For years. our family has served together. Yes, living different than most. We fervently pray where and how the Lord would have us to serve. And although our walk with the Lord was and is beautiful, nothing explains the extra complexity that comes with full ministry. Especially, in your small churches across America. This is no slight on any ministry, just acknowledging there is a difference serving in a small, hometown church ministry. Many facets that would not be known, unless they experienced it themselves. Serving families across rural areas: pastor, teach classes, lead singing, play music, sing the specials and lead all the activities. Often doing ministry alone. Stress, loneliness, struggle and fatigue creeps in without the proper balance.
After a full day of serving, worshiping and pouring into people, perhaps you are ready to go home. To enter your haven of rest, relaxation and pure joy encompassed by your family. However, ministry mush fills your home. How do you minister to your family on weeks that are just “mush” weeks. The highs and lows of all the things that come with life and ministering in other people’s lives. How do you minister to your husband and family that may suffer from Ministry Mush?
Of course, this does not happen every week. But, anyone in ministry knows it exists. In ministry, that if you serve as a family, there will be weeks when the only way to describe the effect, is by calling it, what it is, mush. Or, ministry mush. (What we now call since my husband has been called to preach and minister to a church full time, while working mandatory overtime at a full time job. Sunday night into Monday is mush. (We laugh, because this was our date night for years.) You are an amazing wife and mother! You probably do it without realizing it. Or, just whole heartily, trudge your way through it. And it is not something you can really explain to someone that is not in ministry. Nor serves in this capacity. So, as a ministry wife, I speak to you personally because I know you exist. Faithful friend, sweet sister, God sees you! You are not the commitments churches did not hold. You are not the faithful partners that promised to support you and are nowhere to be found. You are a faithful servant. God knew. God sees you. You are beautiful. BUT, make sure you take time for yourself!
Fill your schedule with a day of self care now and then. Nothing says it has to be a vacation or special outing. Although, those would not necessarily be wrong. Make time for yourself. Read a book, take a hot bubble bath and/or have a luxurious cup of tea. You are ministering to the vessel God has chosen to pour into your entire church and the family God has blessed you with. Not to mention any personal burdens the Lord has laid on your heart and/or the ministries that stem from that burden. And as you minister to your family, friends and all those that the Lord has placed into your life; you tire and grow weary. I know you are strong because it takes a warrior that walks with God to do those things well day in and day out. One cannot skimp on God and succeed! God knew you were capable. But, we need to remind ourselves that these seasons were designed as seasons. It is easy to loose sight of that, they were meant to be seasons. If this is your current lifestyle and a picture of your ministry, allow the Lord to fill your cup, yes. But do not stop there, faithful servants that constantly pour into others, need refreshing too. Here are a few ways to be provide an extra boost of refreshing.
Whole heartily, I will say this as best as I can, these ideas are just that, ideas/ They can be as elaborate or as informal as you desire. But do not think they have to be costly to be effective. Ideas for self care when there has been a lot of ministry mush.
Ministry Mush Refreshing
A hot bath– there are so many things on the market today. I personally love making bath bombs and salts to use. (Possibly because I love making lathery goat milk soaps.) But, there are so many spa type soap, bubble baths and salts sold that really are luxurious. And you do not have to go to bath and body works anymore to get them. (I do enjoy bath and body works, but do not have one near me.) How about candles? Relaxing music? A favorite beverage or food if you really want to go the mile. Whatever you decide, do something that is enjoyable to you.
A book- find a great book, perhaps just the Bible and read. This can be in your favorite spot, a short walk away in your free time or even in your hot bath. Find a good read and relax.
Craft- some people love to stay busy so they do not think about too much. Create and relax is their motto. With so many craft kits on the market, this is super easy to get into today as well. Youtube as acrylic painting classes I have used in my homeschool that could easily be a “chill” time activity. While some enjoy knitting or sewing. Whatever the cause, find something you enjoy doing and do that. If you are really thrifty on your time and schedule this into your day, you will find a beautiful stress reliever (even if just 15 minutes a day- check out my Homemaking part 1) daily.
Workout- A great way to work through ministry mush is by working out. Going to a gym may not be your thing, nor fancy equipment. But, there are so many options today. You can even live-stream free yoga or workout videos to your phone. For a program without ads, Beachbody on demand is a great option! If it’s your thing and you want to be healthier, workout! But I wear a dress! So do I. Workout in a dress if that is your conviction, it is doable. A tad more resistant in some cases, but you can do a lot in a dress. If you conviction is to be modest, you can workout and do a lot of activities in modesty. My friend has a sewing shop and is able to get a lot of different materials to personally adjust workout clothing to be more modest, that is an option. But recently I have seen modest workout apparel on the market.
Go for a hike or walk- One of my favorite stress relievers is to go for a hike. It is beautiful, because I can think and enjoy nature even as a group or family. It not only relieves stress, but it is great exercise. All the while, if you have very little “alone time”, it can be enjoyed by all.
Meet up- Just as it sounds, go out for a coffee with a friend. Enjoy some fellowship time with a sweet friend or family member. Whatever you decide to do, keep it simple and with someone that you do not have to entertain. Relax. Enjoy. Refresh.
Movie night- An easy way to just have a “no brain reset”. Alone or with great company. Perhaps your favorite foods as well. My family loves this one as a whole. When ministry has been crazy for everyone with lots of travel, emotions, physical labor and uphill climbs; a fun night of awesome food and a movie is a quick fix. (Use paper plates and/or take out if necessary.) Sunday night for husband and wife, is one way to recover from ministry mush. A season in our ministry was filled with rotating movie nights. Food was our “free day” in our healthy lifestyle. So this would be our nacho night, french fries and burger nights (or shrimp), and things that were not found in our regular weeks. A wonderful way to still include favorite foods while being healthy or budgeting your finances better while including your favorite foods at home once and awhile. You can find more of that in the Managers of Our Finances Page.
An activity- For some this may be a stress reliever in your current season of life. Although this is our go to for family night in our current season of life, this may be something you schedule for yourself or with your spouse and/or friend once in awhile to just refresh. Some friends of our always plan to meet at a rental home once a year to encourage each other in the Lord for a weekend. This can be so different in everyone’s life, depending on your current season. But, do not rule it out. It may be an extra one year, but something you “need” another year. So, it’s a great way to refresh during ministry.
A conference or retreat- Another way to refresh that is more of a “bigger” refresh is to get together at a conference or retreat with other like-minded women to just share, grow and refresh. Everyone is built and functions differently, this may be your “thing”. A conference is not only a great way to connect and glean more ministry ideas, but to connect with other women doing the same.
Take a class- Enjoy something new. We were designed to be life learners and it is a ton of fun to learn something new you are interested in learning. Whether a cooking class, a new language, a workshop, seminar, fitness class, or art class; taking a class can be a great way to combat ministry mush.
Plan a family event- We all love the people God has blessed us with. A great way to relieve stress is to focus on something we love. Whether planning a family reunion, a vacation, a day trip or weekend getaway; planning something for your family is definitely a way to shift your mind to things you love and desire. If the planning part seems “to much” pa-ruse destinations for your next family vacation. Scour the destination you intend to visit for great off beaten sites to see or things to participate in.
Ladies, whatever season this finds you in, be sure to take care of yourselves too. I am not saying the whole me- first, but you deserve to be healthy and taken care of too. And while your family is busy serving in the ministry, this often is placed on the back-burner. Self care is a great way to keep you healthy and balanced to manage your home and all the tasks the Lord has given you better than ever before.
With much love, I pray this list begets ideas and reminders to schedule some sort of self care for the year. Happy ministry ladies, and may the Lord continue to keep you in the palm of HIS hand as you have one of the greatest tasks and unseen ministries on this earth, a ministry wife. And thank you for pouring into your loved ones.
P.S. Sorry for the late post, the inspiration of this post was personal. (A week or two of ministry mush.)