Do you ever feel like your husband moves so fast you can’t keep up with him? It’s like his vision is big, his pace is fast, and his mind is buzzing all the time?
I had a great phone call with another church planter’s wife the other day. We were talking about a half marathon we had just completed and she told me how her husband stuck with her until about the eight mile marker. At eight miles he started skipping and jogging backwards. It was as if he couldn’t contain his energy.
Finally she said, “Just go on ahead!” and he did and finished in under two hours. She said that was just like him in so many ways. We laughed and agreed sometimes it’s hard to keep up with our husbands!
Most church planters act fast, dream big and think far outside the box. If you’re married to a man who’s involved in church planting, chances are somewhere along the journey you’ve wondered: How can I keep up with this man?
Here’s one way to answer this question. You can’t, so don’t worry about it.
Realizing you can’t match your husband’s pace can be a positive observation. I believe acknowledging this offers a certain kind of freedom. God put you and your husband together for a reason. He knew you were different, and he put you together anyway with a great purpose in mind. Your husband needs you, so lean into your gifting and have peace in knowing you balance him out in a way nobody else can.
From my own experience I can say John and I have grown to love that God designed us to live life at different paces. There have been times when John has been ready to move and although I was scared I agreed we needed to move forward. There have been times when John has been ready to move and I felt quite certain we needed to wait, and God used our patience to help us grow.
When you’re tempted to be concerned because your and your husband’s paces don’t match up, consider trying one of the following…
1. Act as a sounding board.
I don’t always know what to say when John comes to me excited about a big, new vision. Sometimes I feel like it’s okay to listen, ask questions, and get excited about what God might be doing without knowing whether or not this is something we ought to do. Sometimes your husband just needs to tell you what he’s thinking to hear it out loud and think it through more thoroughly. When you are in the phase of simply discussing new possibilities, try not to let it cause you too much panic. If your husband is a visionary you’ll learn that sometimes he’s just excited about possibilities and it may not mean these ideas will come to fruition. John has come to me with many new ideas and we definitely didn’t follow through on all of them.
2. Don’t allow big vision to scare you.
Knowing that there are times when your husband needs you to be a sounding board, don’t let each new dream frighten you. Just because your husband is talking about it doesn’t mean it will happen. Try not to let the worst case scenario or catastrophic thinking weigh you down. Just because your husband has a new idea doesn’t mean you stand to lose everything or need to change everything again, but if you do know that God is with you.
3. Know that sometimes you just need to say, “Yes, let’s do this. I’m here by your side.”
The last move we made scared me a lot. We moved from a place I loved to a huge city. It took me several years just to call this new city home, but I did it and I’m glad I got on board and supported John in this adventure of leading a church planting network in the Los Angeles area. When it finally came down to decision making time I had to say, “Yes, let’s do this. I’m here by your side.” It wasn’t easy, but I’m so glad we did it! God has lots going on for us, even more than we could’ve imagined for ourselves and it took me giving the green light for all of this to happen. Sometimes you just have to say, “Yes.”
4. Know that sometimes you just need to say, “No, it’s not time to change everything. We need to slow down and focus on some other things right now.”
Just like sometimes you just have to say, “Yes,” and trust God, there are also times when you have to say, “No,” and trust God. For me it’s much more difficult to say, “No.” I prefer saying, “Yes,” because then nobody can be mad at me for holding them back. However, this isn’t what God would have me do every time. Like I mentioned earlier I believe God put me and John together so we could balance each other out. That means there are times when I have to be strong and say things like, “I don’t think so,” and, “Not yet.” If I refuse to say, “No,” when I feel like that is what I’m supposed to do then I am not being faithful to my role in this process. This doesn’t mean I say, “No,” to everything. It means I take it very seriously when John comes to me trying to figure out what our next step might be.
5. Believe God is in control and with him all things work together for good.
Whether you say, “Yes,” or, “No,” to your husband’s dreams you ultimately must trust God is in control either way. He is there taking care of you. He is working in your lives and in the lives of the people you serve no matter where you are. He has good things in the works and he will be faithful to complete it in you. That is something to celebrate!
6. Pray for your husband and pray for God’s direction in your lives. I love how challenging times help me to become closer to God. So many times I’ve considered maybe God has allowed us to go through certain seasons just so that we would draw closer to him. Our lives don’t mean much if we forget our savior, so when you’re confused or times get tough let it be a reminder to get close to God. Pray through everything.
In the end I hope you can see that being married to a visionary church planter is an incredible blessing. This is the kind of life that offers adventure and new possibilities around every corner. This is the kind of life that puts you out on the edge so that you have no choice but to trust God and experience his glorious provision. I pray that you will find much delight in the process, dear planter’s wife. I am right there with you hanging on and enjoying the ride.
Please be with these women who are married to visionaries church planters. Help them to see the beauty in the journey you have set before them. Help them to rely fully on you and your power to work in their lives. Keep them close so they never feel alone. Thank you for being Almighty God!