If you're a ministry wife,
that's probably a common word for you.
Here's how you can get back on your spiritual toes.
One Friday morning (it wasn't even Monday, the usual after-church letdown day), Stuart and I struggled to wake up. "You're tired," I observed sympathetically.
"I was born tired, I've lived tired, and if nothing changes, it looks as if I'll die tired," he replied. "However, if I'm still tired when I get to heaven, I'm coming straight back."
We laughed, but I knew it was no laughing matter. We needed to rest.
In my travels, I have found that being tired is a normal way of life for many people in ministry, but especially for wives. Ministry wives have told me countless times, "I'm too tired to try." Let an acrostic spell out the elements of this common feeling of fatigue:
T stands for tired, so bushed that you feel like saying, "I've had it up to here with the lot of it!" Trying to balance family life with church life takes its toll. I meet people who are tired in the work of the Lord -- and of it, as well.
I stands for intimidated -- by people, by the task and by the expectations of the church world in which we live and move. Feeling intimidated exhausts us.
R stands for resentment. "What is the ministry doing to my marriage?" we ask. It takes herculean strength to keep the church from intruding into family time and even more energy to battle the boiling resentment about it.
E stands for empty, as in "running on empty." Who has time to refuel in this job? What do we do when we've run out of gas for all the right reasons?
D stands for deadness, a frightening lack of interest in things that once filled us with enthusiasm. We dare not admit we've lost our vision and passion, not even to ourselves -- after all, we're supposed to be vibrant, shining examples of a dynamic, bionic Christian woman!
What's the answer to this spiritual exhaustion that affects so many of us? Let's go back to our acrostic for some insights.
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Jill Briscoe and her husband, Stuart, have served Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wis., since 1970. They have three grown children and nine grandchildren.
Jill is executive editor of Just Between Us, a magazine for ministry wives and women in ministry. (For more information, contact Just Between Us at 800-260-3342.) She is also the author of Renewal on the Run (Shaw).