Shhhh….don’t tell anyone I’m home. There is a dinner going on at the church but I’ve decided not to go today. It’s not like me to turn down a good church dinner, but I’m actually doing really well eating healthy lately and going to a church dinner is no place to eat healthy…especially at a Baptist church. Also, I’m trying to set a precedence. I’m trying to make it OK for the pastor’s wife not to attend every single church activity. At our former church I attending every activity at the church because my husband had one of the only keys to the building….and it was expected of us. When we moved to our current church I continued to go to everything because I was in the habit of doing so.
We live in the parsonage beside the church so anytime something is happening there, I know it. During our first year here, I found myself going over to the church simply because I saw a light on or cars in the parking lot. Several times I walked in on a private family dinner thinking it was a church dinner…good thing I was carrying a gallon of sweet tea. And I cannot count how many times I’ve run over to the church thinking I’ve forgotten about a meeting because the lights are on only to realize that it was the custodian just vacuuming before a service.
Now don’t get me wrong. I firmly believe that the pastor should be involved in the work of the church and that the pastor’s wife should also be involved at church (to the extent that God calls her to be involved). However, being a PW in a small church often means that you’re expected to attend every meeting, dinner, children’s activity, women’s tea, work day, and prayer group that happens in the church. Many times I’ve heard church people complain because their pastor’s wife works a full-time job and “she just doesn’t have time to be as active in the church as we’d like” even though she is there every Sunday singing, teaching, keeping the nursery, and supporting her husband… Sometimes I want to remind people that having a pastor who is married does not mean you get “two for the price of one.” But usually I just bite my tongue, force a smile, and gripe about it later to my husband. I also make a point to call or e-mail said PW with a word of encouragement that week to try to counter-act some of the negative things she may have heard from her church people because somebody needs to say something nice, and if you can’t say something nice…oops, got on my soap box for a minute…back to the point.
I currently do not work a full-time job, so, according to some, there’s no reason for me not to attend every event. It has only taken me 5 years, but I’m finally realizing that I do not need to attend every event simply because I’m the PW and it’s expected. Just like I’m learning with working in the church and volunteering to lead or help in different ministries: I should do the things God is calling me to do and leave the rest for whoever else He has called. So, I’m working on changing people’s expectations, and trying really hard not to feel guilty about it as I sit here watching more and more cars pull into the church parking lot.
Besides, there are lots of good reasons not to attend the dinner at the church today: lots of forbidden food, they don’t need me, it’s a weekday, I don’t have anything to bring…plus I have lots of chores I need to do instead…like laundry, prayer chains and write a slightly snarky blog… So, I’m going to work on my chores and eat my healthy lunch and not feel guilty…but I am going to keep the blinds closed so no one knows I’m here…
What about you? Do you participate in every church activity? How do you find a balance? Have you ever hidden from church members?