Recently, someone commented to me her admiration for my joyful spirit and positive attitude. In that moment, there was no sense of flattery in my heart. I was thankful that she saw this in me, but deep in my heart, all I really wanted to do was to confess to her that my flesh was NOT joyful most of the time.
This is a reality of ministry life. We are expected to be joy-filled workers for Christ. We have nearly mastered the art of the “china doll” smile. You know what I’m talking about, right? That beautiful smile we wear, but that smile that is oh so fragile on the inside.
As a ministry wife, this smile, this type of “joy” is so difficult to wear. Our human nature so often wants to take over, and truly rips away at the back of the china mask. We are called to be the hands and feet of Christ. His leadership. His model of love and forgiveness. With Him, and only Him, we CAN BE all these things; however, that doesn’t keep us totally free from our sin nature. Honestly, how do you feel when you must show love to that person who recently ripped your husband to shreds? How do you want to respond when you’re tired from constant spiritual and physical battles that go along with church leadership? Joy is not a response I would choose for either of those or a thousand other situations in ministry.
So, how do we get past this “china doll” joy? I mean, at this point we should know the answer right? We should have it mastered, should we not? Come on ladies, don’t let the Enemy tear you down. We are not perfect! Just as Paul talks about in Romans 7, we will struggle, even when we know what is right. Our freedom comes in knowing that, and most of all in knowing the Father of freedom! Give it to God ladies. There will only be false joy in our lives until we do.
Unfortunately, ministry life thrusts us into glass houses, not of our choosing, but of our calling. We are expected by many to live unrealistically perfect Christian lives. We aren’t allowed, by many, to fail, or be angry, or be hurt, etc. We must carefully chose who we trust, who sees our tears and hurts, and who knows our frustrations. But we can live in JOY!
Joy is found in the freedom of the gospel! Joy is found by giving our hurts and fears to God! Don’t carry the weight of the world, His yoke is easy and His burden is light! He is our JOY!
I’ve found when my true joy starts waning, that reading Paul’s writings help tremendously. (Philippians & 1-2 Timothy are my favorites from a ministry perspective.) He endured it…joyfully! He knew the source of his strength!
Oh, my sweet sisters, I pray JOY for you! I pray for freedom from unrealistic expectations that steal your joy. I pray for comfort in the arms of your Abba Father!