When the Pastor’s Wife Says No

So, it’s happened.

You’ve come up to me, with something really worthwhile and meaningful in mind, knowing that I would say yes, that I would agree to do what you really need me to do, because I’m the pastor’s wife.

And I’ve said no.

It should have happened long before now, but I’m a people pleaser.  And unfortunately, I also fall into the habit of believing that I’m important enough that you really do need me.  I say yes without thinking because the expectation is there, and when all is said and done, it’s not always the right thing.

So, I’ve said no to you.  Here’s what “no” means…

– No means that I’ve had something church-related on the calendar every day this week.  There are only so many hours in a day, so many days in a week, and sometimes, I’m at the point where nothing else can give.  You think you’re the only one asking for something, but the truth is that EVERY person who asks for something comes thinking that they’re the only one asking for something.  And some weeks are more demanding than others, and I have to start saying no so that I don’t spend every moment at the church, talking about the church, living my life for the church, etc.

– No means that my children need me at home.  I could probably get someone else to pick them up from school.  I could probably have them occupy themselves at the church while I help you after school with something.  I could probably get by with halfway listening to them while you discuss church business on the phone with me.  But I shouldn’t.  Sometimes no means that I won’t because they need me, totally with them, at home.  In thirty years, the most telling fruit of my ministry won’t be the success of a church, a program, or a ministry.  It will be in the young women my girls have grown into.  I don’t want to miss a moment of investing in that.

– No means that my marriage takes priority.  The thirty minute meeting you want to schedule for me just happens to coincide with the only thirty minutes my husband has free today.  (This happens.  A lot.)  I’m going to pick him every time.  And if it seems silly that I’m guarding those thirty minutes jealously, understand that some days, it’s literally the only time I get alone with him until the kids are in bed at night… which is when someone from the church usually calls.  Yes.  People regularly call right as the pastor is climbing into bed with his very lonely wife.  (Just give that a good long thought the next time you want to call the pastor after 8pm…)

– No means that I actually may not be the best person for the job you have for me to do.  I have no gifting for a whole lot of stuff.  I can’t sing, I can’t sew, and I can’t cook.  When you ask me to do these things and I say no, I’m not passing judgment on these tasks.  I’d love to be able to do everything well!  When I say no, I’m honestly telling you that I’m not the girl for the job, no matter how much you or I wish I was.

– No means that I want to be available.  If I’m rushing from one thing to the next, I can’t be available in those moments after a Bible study, after Sunday school, after the church service when someone really has a need, really needs me to pray, really wants to discuss what God is doing in their lives.  So, when I say no, sometimes it means that I’m doing my best to stay available to do the real work of ministry — being there for people. 

So thankful for the privilege of serving alongside my husband in ministry at a church where people not only understand why I say no… but that they encourage me to do so when it’s the best thing to do.  The Faulk family is so blessed…

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