Becoming a pastor’s wife almost feels like we've been handled this weighty mantle or persona. We are treated sometimes as "other", like we're a creature at the zoo and everyone is stopping for a look from a safe distance.
The truth is that I've always been quite sure I'm not the typical pastor's wife, but it's taken me a long time to figure out what it really means to be a pastor's wife.
In all this trying to figure it out, I finally realized I was trying to make "pastor's wife" my identity. I was trying to rise to the challenge of the persona. And it wasn't working for me because it is not meant to be my true identity.
And, if you're a pastor's wife, it’s not yours either.
I’m not trying to throw off a role God has given me. I'm not encouraging you in that way either. I embrace and enjoy being a pastor’s wife. I find it an honor, sanctification on steroids, and an opportunity, but it’s not an identity to live by. It’s a role that gives me opportunities to serve, but it doesn’t tell me who I am.
In fact, I've discovered over the years that trying to live from a foundational identity of being a pastor's wife actually holds temptations that have tripped me up, caused me to sin, and caused me pain. If we try to make pastor’s wife our foundational identity, it is a false identity. If a false identity is our foundation, no matter how “good” it is, it becomes a heavy weight to carry around and is actually no foundation at all.
If a true identity is our foundation, it is a weight to hold us, otherwise known as an anchor. An anchor is any device for holding fast and securing firmly. Do we not in ministry need something to secure us firmly and hold us fast? We don’t need more weights to carry. We need anchors that keep us from tossing about when the wind and waves of ministry pick up. We need anchors that help us hold fast over a long period of time. We need anchors to help us navigate the rough waters of criticism and discouragement.
In Scripture, I am really drawn to passages where church leaders faced questions and temptation related to identity. How can they, who’ve gone before us, warn us about the temptations lurking in ministry and also point us to anchors of identity that will hold us and help us endure?
Please enjoy this talk I recently gave to a group of pastor's wives where I dig into this idea of ministry and identity: Three Anchors for Ministry Wives.