Living With Healthy Boundaries

    Monday, July 08, 2024

    After 20 plus years of leading worship, in 2020 I decided, after processing things with my counselor, that it was time for me to step down from the worship leader position.

    Instead of being proud of me and excited that I was taking time for my mental health, church members were upset that I was no longer leading.  When one of my children was struggling and I needed to take extra time to attend to them for a few years, church members were upset that I wasn’t leading as many programs and women’s events.  During that time, I heard questions such as, “Why aren’t you doing this or that? Don’t you care about the Spirit moving in this church? Why aren’t things the same as they used to be?”

    In years past, I would lead worship with a bowl next to my piano in case I threw up during my pregnancies. Sometimes I was back to leading worship two weeks after just having a baby. At one point, I was leading worship four times a week and still had a nursing baby at home. When I thought I was having a miscarriage many years ago, a church member was upset at me that I wasn’t leading worship. They told me that I could at least sit down and play the piano, even though I was bleeding profusely. Why didn’t church members look out for my mental health during these times? Why was I always pushed to the limit?

    Would church members prefer that pastors and their families burn themselves out and ignore their own needs in order to keep the programs and services running exactly how members want them? What about the mental health of the pastor and his family? Does that matter to anyone?

    I’m proud of myself for setting boundaries, but I have lost friendships because of this. I have watched people walk away upset, and I have had to hold my head up high knowing that I was doing what was best for my family and my mental health.

    Now that I’m in a better place emotionally, I’m able to work for a sex trafficking ministry helping survivors daily. I may not be leading worship every Sunday, and I may not be running women’s events every week, but I’m changing lives outside of the church. Does this matter to church members too?

    I no longer answer to anyone except God. I will no longer run around chasing my tail like a circus monkey doing whatever church members expect of me. Becoming healthy has caused us to lose church members and friends. I grieve for the people that weren’t able to walk alongside us as we focused on our mental health as a family. But I am thankful for the people God has brought into our lives since then, people who are proud of my boundaries and love me for who I am instead of how many programs I can run or how many worship sets I can lead.

    Help us continue providing resources of care for pastors and their families.

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