As a new mom working in full-time ministry, I am constantly pulled in different directions. I often feel that I am not able to invest in every area of my life as much as I desire.
I knew that when I became a mom that I would focus in on key friendships and invest in key athletes. However, I also knew that whatever I did, I would want to be fully present and wholehearted in all my relationships.
I stay consistent and keep balance in my relationships by relying a lot on the Holy Spirit’s discernment and power.
An example of this is a time when my husband was working late, but I needed to be on campus for a Bible study that I was leading. The baby had to go somewhere. I ended up taking the baby with me to the Bible study. He was fussy, covered in spit up, and I was extremely frazzled.
I could’ve opted to not be present, saying that my baby needed to be taken care of, but I sensed that it would be a special opportunity to show a very important piece of my life to the women that I invest in. It also would’ve left my teammate with some last-minute responsibility on her shoulders.
The baby was totally OK! He was up being very chatty by the end of it.
We often think that consistency means showing up perfect in each area and with each relationship. I’ve learned that consistency just means showing up, no matter the mess we’re in. If we always bail when life gets tough, then we’re not allowing God to use our mess to draw people closer to Him.
If we think that to be consistent in all our relationships that we have to have it all together, we’re mistaken. The fear of how we appear to others should never keep us from consistency.
Real people attract others to a real God!
When my friends are real with me, it’s very refreshing to my soul. In a world full of pretense, we are called to be image-bearers of a very real God.
Instagram is not an accurate picture of what is going on in people’s lives. I’ve had to let go of my desires to appear a certain way. The moms I follow on Instagram seem to have it all together. It’s “momstagram.” I’ve had to let go of the unrealistic expectations on myself to juggle everything in my life seamlessly and to appear perfect.
Being consistent for me has meant that I’m choosing to be spread less thin, figuring out my priorities, and that I’ve honed in on the key relationships and roles that I want to be consistent in. Basically, it’s being a wife, being a mom, loving athletes and loving others.
I see my best girl friends once a week to once every two weeks. If we’re doing a million things and saying yes to everything, then we can’t invest well in those things or in those relationships, and inconsistency will be prevalent.
We’re created for relationships, but we weren’t created to fill a relationship quota of needing to have a certain amount of relationships in our lives. We were created to do relationships WELL and to fulfill responsibilities and roles in our lives WELL.
This may mean learning to say “no” to some things in order to say a full and honest “yes” to the things God has called us to. Learning to say the word “no” without fear has given me so much freedom and peace, and it has allowed me to be consistent.
Colossians 1:9-12 (NIV) helps me define consistency in biblical terms:
”And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.”
Walking in a manner worthy of the Lord to me means that my faith is a key part in all my relationships and in every role I’m in. Who you are on the court or on the field is just as important as who you are off it.
Do your teammates see you as consistently “enduring and being patient with joy” (vs 11) even if you’re told you won’t get as much playing time this year? How we respond to hardships and role changes reveals a lot about what we’re made of and who we are.
Are we abiding in Christ? Or are we walking as those in the world would walk and respond when life gets tough? Are you seen as positive in practices and playing time, but then in the locker room you revert to the habit of gossip?
This has been a very hard year for me. It has tested what my life is founded in. God puts us through hardships to reveal our faith -- if it is truly founded in Him or if we are fair-weather Christians, moving to and fro along with all the inconsistencies in our lives.
For me, I’ve found that unfortunately, my husband gets my scraps instead of my best if I’m not careful to rely on God to be “strengthened with all power” (vs 11).
It’s the end of the day and I’ve been kind, listening well, fully present, and full of faith with the athletes I’m ministering to. However, sometimes at the end of the day I come home and I’m too exhausted to remain fully present and to remain actively listening, especially if I need to jump right in to baby duty.
As a new mom who gets four or five hours of sleep most nights, I can justify it by saying that I’m too tired. However, God calls me to be “fully pleasing to Him” (vs 10) in all my roles and relationships.
This is a sad reality for many of us -- that we would be different toward different people, and that those whom we should prioritize get the scraps. Walking in a manner worthy of the Lord means walking in that manner all day, every day.
Here’s some principles that have helped me be consistent:
- Having a “pray without ceasing” attitude (1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV) -- Have a heart attitude of welcoming God into every moment, every decision, every word and action. Letting God be the fabric that weaves together the inconsistencies in my life helps me be consistent.
- Listening to the Holy Spirit’s leading and relying on His power “filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (vs 9) -- Ask Him, “Where can I invest and invest well?” “Where am I inconsistent?” “Where do I need to say ‘yes’?” “Where do I need to say ‘no’?” His discernment is better than our own, and His power is stronger than ours.
- Showing up! -- Show up to celebrate people, to mourn with people, to fulfill a new role. People remember what you show up to. My friend asked me to be in her wedding when my baby was two months old. I showed up! I didn’t feel as pretty as I wanted and I was a “zombie,” but it meant so much to my friend that I was there.
- Being present and wholehearted -- It's so much more than being physically present. This is actively being engaged in what you’re doing and actively listening to those around you. This is allowing yourself to be poured out, without fear of running out because you know Whom you abide in. We self-protect when we’re spread too thin and when we aren’t abiding in Jesus.
- Communicating -- Communicate to coaches, teammates, friends about how you’re doing and where you’re struggling to be fully present. Your friends will love the honesty of you saying, “I’m sorry that I’ve had trouble showing up lately, these are the things that I’ve been struggling with ...” It’s so much better than giving excuses and throwing our issues under the rug!
- Doing things that refresh your soul -- Go to lunch with some girl friends, take a day trip, make time to read that book that you’ve been wanting to read. For me, when I plan well, I really enjoy baking and cooking.
- Asking for accountability -- Ask to be held accountable by someone who walks with Jesus, with whom you feel comfortable exposing some of the areas of inconsistency in your life. Ask him or her, “Hey, where do you notice that I’m different?” This person needs to be someone who knows you well, is not afraid to be honest with you, but also someone who reminds you of the grace and forgiveness found in the cross of Jesus. Maybe this is an older teammate, an AIA staff member, or a friend or mentor from church.
It is not easy to remain consistent when life roles change. The temptation is to allow stress and uncertainty to dictate how we handle it all. The key is to “give thanks to the Father” (Colossians 1:12) for all the different relationships in our lives and to ask for His wisdom in investing well in our relationships while maintaining intimacy with God, our central and most important relationship.
After all, God, God’s Word, and the souls of men and women are the only things that last forever. This means there are a lot more things to say "yes" to, as well as a lot more things to say "no" to. Let’s live a balanced life based on eternity.