When my sweet husband and I got married a dozen years ago in the church where he had already been serving for a couple of years, he gave me several books about being a pastor’s wife. They were written by other women more seasoned in the same role I was entering, and although he gave me those books to encourage and help equip me, I took them–at the time–as an assessment of my utter and obvious inadequacy. [Now I know better: that he is a lifelong learner and voracious reader who himself often has 5-10 leadership and ministry books on his night stand and dresser.]
Since I wasn’t raised in the church and had a very limited view of what pastors and their wives look like (they just sit around all day every day in sackcloth and ash, right, praying and reading their bibles?), I grappled with who I should be in this new role.
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” (1 Peter 3:3-4).
Gur-reat, I thought, did that just say “quiet”? Does “a gentle and quiet spirit” mean a quiet person? Gracious. I hope not. Because if so, I am not going to do well on this assignment. I am gregarious… Outgoing… Sociable… And maybe even at times a smidge loud.
And you know what? That is actually how God wired me.
And that is okay.
In fact, not only is it okay, but it’s a good thing. I mean goodness, think what would happen at a church fellowship if we were all quiet and reserved, ha!
“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. […] Now if the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
“The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ […] If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it” (1 Corinthians 12:12, 15-21, 26-27).
So if you find yourself in a new role, maybe one you’re not quite sure about fleshing out really well, I have a valuable piece of advice for you, a piece of advice I’ve learned to live by over the years.
This is how you can marvelously, authentically, joyfully live your life, just these two things, in this order:
Chase hard after God. [and then] Be who you are.
When you are growing in your personal relationship with God (like through spending time reading and soaking in His Word the bible, praying, spending time encouraging and being encouraged by other Christ-followers, serving, and sharing His Good News), you gain freedom to be just who God made you to be. You don’t have to worry about trying to be who you think you are supposed to be because you enter into the fullness of who God made you to be. That’s why He says My yoke is easy and my burden is light, and why we can run (not trudge!) in the paths of His commands (Matthew 11:30, Psalm 119:32).
So, have you even entered into a role in which you were tempted to change “you” in order to conform to whatever you thought a person in that role is supposed to look like? Don’t do it! […But do tell!]