I have heard (and read) that women are more prone to suffer from low self esteem. I do not have the statistics to support this fact, but I do recognize it as a fairly common malady among some of the women I know.
Apparently, women too often draw their worth, their self-value, from what they have, or what they do well rather than from inside themselves. A successful husband, beautiful and talented children, a lovely home, fashionable clothes, are too often seen as a measure of a woman’s worth.
The pastor’s wife is not immune. This idea of value by proxy can be carried into the ministry, only then it becomes a husband who can really preach the people under the pews (it helps if he can sing, too), a church family that is polished and pious, a magnificent sanctuary and an outstanding choir and a church name that is known throughout the land. One year, a PW conference assigned its networking groups by church membership size. A friend of mine who was in the 5000 members+ size said that too many of the wives introduced themselves by the size of their church, (“I am First Lady so and so and our church size is…..). And do not get me started on the predilection to always introduce oneself as “First Lady.”
Perhaps another marker for the value of the pastor’s wife (often wielded by the congregation) is what she does well in the church. Can she sing well (being able to play the piano is a plus, too). Certainly she should do one or the other. Why not teach a class in the children’s ministry. Can’t she fill in wherever there is a need, wear whatever hat the church wants her to wear and speaking of hats, shouldn’t she wear one every Sunday?
While we are on the subject, let’s include prayer warrior, encourager, counselor, listener, lover, wife, mother, never complains, always smiles and is never offended by any crazy remark anyone says about her husband, her children or her. Why not strive for perfection, go for the gold, reach beyond the moon? Do it! Do it! Do it!
Hold it! What is wrong with this picture. Everything! The PW who is trying to establish her worth through doing is asking for trouble and heartache. If she fails in any of these areas, down goes the esteem. She will feel worthless and guilty. If she balances all the hats and one falls off, she instantly begins to castigate herself for being weak and ineffective.
The PW must discover who she is in Christ alone. Luke 9:23 applies to the pastor’s wife as well. In the midst of all the doing, the question has to be asked, “What about Jesus?”
“I must decrease; He must increase.” Once the relationship between the PW and Jesus is established, the pastor’s wife will no longer seek value through what she has or what she does or how she looks to others. Her value will be in Christ alone as she asks daily, “Lord, what can I do for you? Establish my to-do list and set my priorities.”
The PW must be careful that she does not fall into the Martha syndrome and and forget to nurture the Mary inside. You know the story, Martha was so busy taking care of what she deemed the important stuff. She probably was wired that way, the A-personality bordering on obsessive compulsive. Mary, the intuit, the dreamer, though she probably started to help Martha (she knew her sister), eventually takes a seat at the feet of Jesus. Martha, in her OC state rebukes Jesus for not making Mary return to the heat of the kitchen to which Jesus calmly reminds Martha that sometimes the most needful thing is to sit at His feet and learn of him and from Him.
The PW must choose the needful thing. She must let God decide what He wants her to do, and where He wants her to serve.
Years ago, I watched a television program, an interview of Mother Teresa. Her closing remarks have stayed with me and they come to me in times of challenge. “If I am on the mountain, living in a mansion and that is where God wants me to be, that’s alright. If I am in a ditch cut to pieces and that is where God wants me to be, that’s alright too.” That kind of trust can only come from a vibrant, powerful relationship with a loving Savior. As long as I am where God wants me to be, I will be alright.
John 15:16 tells me that I have worth, and it is not based on anything that I have done. It was while I was yet a sinner, when I was headed in the wrong direction, when my back was to Him, that Jesus died for me. I was dead in my trespasses and my sins, but Jesus died for me that I might have life and have it more abundantly.
“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus name.” No, not in my own power, or initiative, or abilities. Without Him I am nothing; without Him I can do nothing.
The PW must stand on Christ the solid rock; all other ground (and stuff) is sinking sand!