Resiliency In Difficult Times Webinar
“But David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” 1 Samuel 30:6
So thanks again for joining us. If you have just joined us, we are going to mute mics and mute sound. And we are thankful tonight to be able to talk about resiliency in difficult times. And, the topic is gonna be one that we’ve talked about in many different ways.
We’ve had a couple of other webinars on resiliency, but this one we wanna focus specifically on how to handle that in more difficult episodes there. And we’re blessed to have Tom and Sue Waldbeser with us and they’re gonna, I’d like ’em if you could, Tom and Sue, I think a lot of people know you here who are on line. But if you could just share a little bit about yourself and who you are, a little bit of your background, where you find yourself, maybe different churches you’ve been part of, number of kids, all those good questions that we ask when we’re getting to know somebody.
Really appreciate it. And, and that’ll be a way to start off tonight. Okay. Very good. I’ll start off and share just a little bit about where we’ve been and some of the ministry things. And, Sue will share a little bit about our family. That’s kinda how we’ll break it up here. And I first just wanna put a disclaimer that we’re looking forward to this evening as much as anybody to learn.
So, we’re not coming on here as having all the answers, but you’ll find that out pretty quickly. Anyway, I grew up in Cissna Park, my wife Sue, grew up in Remington, Indiana, and I moved to Chicago and I went to college there. That’s where I repented and became a believer, was in the Chicago area and went to Chicago Church.
We were married there in 1991 and spent four years as a married couple in Chicago. So we’ll talk about the children, but we did start having children while we were there. The Lord directed us then to Atlanta area in 1995. And when we first moved, the church was meeting in a hotel and we met in the hotel for, well, they had for many years, but for us it was about a year and a half until we were able to get our first church building.
That was in 96. In 1997, a year and a half or so later, about a year later, I guess, I was put into the ministry. And again, so we’ll talk about the children, but at the time we had young children, very young children. And in 2006 I was put in as Ordained Deacon, and in 2010 was put into the eldership.
The first part of the, when I was put in the ministry in 1997, the first five years I was by myself in the ministry, no co laborers. Then we were blessed to have some co laborers come, and it was a huge, huge boost and definitely helped me get to used less. So, anyway, we moved to the current Peachtree City Church in 2014.
We remodeled and had open house the next year. But, that was the church history. Responsibilities as far as eldership, I do obviously have obvious responsibility in Peachtree City. Also have Athens, Alabama, and Nashville, Tennessee. And, that’s the church part of it. I’ve worked for Hewlett Packard Enterprise for 32 years and that’s what God used to bring us to Georgia.
I had started working for them in Chicago, but also that was the vehicle that God used to bring us to Georgia as well. And, probably a lot more I could share. I’m not sure how long we wanna talk, but I’m gonna let Sue share a little bit about our family now, and we’ll go from there. So we have six children, presently they range from age 26 to 14, and our oldest two, Jarrin and Elise, were born in Chicago.
They were 21 months and four months when we moved to Atlanta. So when Tom was put into the ministry, we had a three and a half year old, a two year old and a baby on the way. So we had three more children that were then born in Georgia, and when he was put into the eldership, they ranged from 15 to seven.
Our last daughter came to live with us in 2013, so she made number six. And presently we have two married daughters. So that kind of sums up our family. Thanks for that. One other thing I should, sorry to interrupt, Arlan, when we first moved to Georgia, we lived about an hour from where the church was meeting in the hotel.
And so for the first, from 95 until 2001, we had about an hour drive to church, and then it changed after that to more like about 20 to 30 minutes. But that was also another element of our journey. I appreciate you sharing that, especially, Tom there, because I think part of the topic tonight is the idea of all of those things that can come into our life that add a stressor or add something that pushes us towards resiliency.
And so there’ll be a part there I think where some of those details will become very relevant because all of ’em are maybe a little bit out of the normal or a little bit out of the ordinary. And it’s great to catch those as we walk through that. I wanna start with a Scripture and just share a Scripture with you and then we’ll get a little bit more into the heart of what we hope to talk to.
And there’s a quick passage in the Bible that I think is really powerful and really relevant here. There’s an episode towards the end of David’s life, where towards the end of his time when he is running away from Saul, and it’s after the second time that he’s let Saul go when he had him in his hand to do with him what he wanted, and it says after that second time Saul has said he’s not gonna chase him anymore, but it says that David, out of a fear basically fled to the Philistines and he finds himself in this spot where he’s living amongst the Philistines and in this fugitive type state where the Philistines thinks that he’s going out and fighting for them.
He’s actually going out and fighting against the Israelites enemies and they’re living in this town of Ziklag. And what that seems has to have been a very uncomfortable or difficult time for him and his men. And at one point they’re out with the Philistine army and they come back and they find that the Amalakites had come into their town of Ziklag and had burned it, taken captive all their families, taken captive their wives, an extremely hard and difficult place. And it says that the men had been fighting with him for a number of years. They started to talk about stoning David, and they were weeping and sorrowful. And there’s just this little passage right there in the midst of that story where you get this picture.
It says, David sat down, and encouraged himself in the Lord. I want that phrase to be a little bit of the theme tonight as we talk about how are we to be resilient in more difficult times, and in times when things do not look well, are not going well, it just seems like the blocks are stacked against us.
How do we find a grounding? How do we find a settling? How do we find our encouragement in the Lord in the midst of that? And with that scriptural framework, Matt, why don’t you tell us exactly what we mean by resiliency itself or give us some definition there to that term. Yeah, sure. There in Webster’s 1812 dictionary, we’ll see the definitions as follows.
The act of leaping or springing back, rebounding, actually a stress is required in order to be resilient. As you look at the palm trees there in the image, the tree is resilient because it’s able to come back to its natural position after a bout of stress.
And really that’s what we’re talking about is coming back even in the example you gave there, Arlan, the encouragement that David found in God is most extraordinary because he was under great stress. It wasn’t in times of ease that he was encouraged, resiliency is not really something that we solve in terms of relieving of stress, but we manage the stress that we have and we’re resilient.
Here in Central Illinois, a week or so back, we had 40 mile an hour winds. And as I walked around the yard picking up limbs, I picked up all the non resilient ones, the ones that could not maintain the stress and could not return to its natural position, they just snapped off. And so you might think of the opposite of resiliency is snapping under the pressure, whereas, all the limbs that I didn’t have to pick up were the resilient ones. And so let that be perhaps, cradle a little bit of what we’re talking about here today. Is that coming back and Tom and Sue, just life brings about storms and brings about different ebb and flow of stressors.
No doubt you felt like these limbs in the wind at times and needing to come back, and that is what we’re gonna call resilience. Sure. To endure is required. Resilience is required to endure, and that’s what we wanna do. So, Yeah, for sure. And as you can see there too, we’ve talked about this before, but this is something that’s a tension to be managed.
It’s not necessarily a problem to be solved. It seems like every time that wind comes through, at least in my family, I know about yours, Matt, but in my family, every time I think all the branches that could be broken off or broken off, there’s another windstorm that finds a few more and the kids get another job in front of them.
I want us to keep that in mind too, this isn’t, I don’t think necessarily something that we’re gonna have the fix with, but hopefully there’s some lenses and some discussion that we can have around it. And that’s really why we’re thankful you can join us, Tom and Sue cuz you just provide a perspective and we can all learn from each other and from each other’s perspectives as we get into that.
Let me give you one more lens and then we’ll get into a little bit more discussion. This’ll be the bulk of our teaching or example tonight. You have in front of you what we call the human function curve. Really what it is, is just how do we do with handle with stress and kind of the big picture. On the one side, you have a level of performance. Where we’re not performing very well, and then we perform better. And then you see it go downhill again. And on the other bottom line here, you have a level of pressure. As pressure increases, you see there’s this ebb and flow in how well we do underneath it.
And I think a lot of us, I think you’re gonna see that without question often in our lives. But, but there’s times when I think hopefully this puts a little bit of a context to maybe what you experience or what, at least some discussion points, maybe some language that you can use. So let me quickly talk through the first few phases here and, I really wanna get your perspective, Tom and Sue, as you share out some thoughts here.
So the first phase down here is called hypostress. This is a phase where you’re not really very challenged. In fact, it can be a phase of very unmotivation. It’s where we find ourselves sometimes mindlessly going through activities and not really doing a whole lot. And actually if we stay in that state, we usually are left without much purpose.
It’s not really the goal. The goal in life is not to be without any type of stress or resistance. It’s actually to be more, where you see the second stage technical term that’s used sometimes is eustress. But it’s, as you can see in the description there, it’s an optimal amount of stress. It’s a level of responsibility, a level of activity, a level of engagement that kind of pushes us into doing things. And it can seem like work. We’re called to work in the Scriptures, but it also should have a level of fulfillment with it. You feel good as you accomplish things and do things, and it’s where we often perform at our best.
Then if you go over quickly to the next part of the curve, when you get into a hyperstress state, there you’re gonna see a period where the stress is more than what we should normally have to handle. It’s a high level. And usually we can stomach this for a while and we can deal with it for a period of time. But if we continue in these hyperstress states, that’s going to have a wearing impact, right? If you think of a car engine revving and running into the near red zone. You can do that for a short period of time, maybe when you’re passing somebody or in an emergency type situation.
But you don’t run it like that all the time or else you end up in the last piece, distress. This area where you see a decrease in function, you see burnout, you see frustration both in yourselves and in those you’re ministering with and working with and all of those kinds of things. And so as you watch this or just observe this curve, you could go from hypostress to eustress, to hyperstress, to distress. Tom and Sue, I’m just curious, have you seen different periods of your life where you can categorize and say, Yeah, that was a period that was way too much for us? That was a period that was maybe in that hyperstress type point or even distress type point, or that was a period that was very low level stress.
What have you seen as you’ve walked through that variety of experiences you just laid out for us just a little bit ago. Yeah, for sure. Well, the first thing that comes to my mind is really what led us to pray about making a change to begin with. We weren’t thinking to move necessarily at the time, but I would say I was in a place of pretty hyperstress with work and also with a family, with young children. And, that at that time it was our second child on the way and just the hours of work and stuff, and that was when we were still in Chicago, was becoming unmanageable and heading toward distress, I would say very rapidly for our family, where we sat down as a couple and said, okay, we have to do something about this.
And, that’s where we started really praying for a change from a job situation. We didn’t necessarily know that would bring us to Georgia, but God in his infinite wisdom, used that hyperstress distress situation to reset and to bring us to this opportunity. And really, I would say that for the first year or so, it definitely, we were in a eustress, I mean, obviously there’s stresses in moving too and some of that probably the needle was hitting the red occasionally, probably there too.
But, the Lord was faithful in really providing. And then, we really had a period of eustress, I would say, for the first year or so. definitely where it was equilibrium with work and getting into a new church and stuff. And, I dunno, anything else you’d add to that? That’s just right now as far as history.
So Sue, did you experience that same level of hyperstress there at that point in your life when you were in a very intense period, so to speak? Yeah, I did feel, I remember saying, I can do this this week and next week, but don’t tell me this is gonna be our life.
Because he was gone a lot and I felt like we just lived for the weekends and we knew we wanted more time with our family and it was really good for a long time. I would say maybe even longer than a year when we came. Yeah. And then I think you go through a lot of seasons in your life where you get hyperstress, you learn how to deal with it. You learn how to work through it, and then it becomes eustress for a while and then it’s like there’s always something else that is challenging you or you’re not sure how to navigate.
And so I think life is just full of seasons that goes back and forth. Yeah. Tom and Sue, I’d like you to speak a little bit about seasons. That was actually the word that I was thinking of, Sue, when you mentioned it. What is there to say about seasons? You know, some of us, we’re at where we’re at and we can’t see beyond it.
And, so is it manageable? Can we expect to be in hyperstress for a season of life? Is that to be expected during certain seasons? Give a bit of perspective maybe for those of us who are 10 years or 15 years behind you.
Could you start with children? Probably. When you’re in the middle of raising small children and then for us, we homeschooled too. So they were in our home for a long time. And you just feel like life is never gonna change. Like there is not gonna be anything else that I’m gonna do in life besides raising my children and homeschooling them and surviving and surviving.
I look now back on those years with such fondness. They were all there. We had such great conversations. You forget the stress that there was there. I remember that I had it, but it’s not big in my mind anymore. And now we’re moving toward married children and adult children. And I wanna be a really good in-law.
I wanna be a really good mom that’s releasing my children and that I wanna have really good, intentional conversations with them. So now I’m trying to figure out something else and sometimes it feels a little hyperstress, but I know because I have seen God’s faithfulness. I saw his faithfulness in Chicago.
I saw it when my children were young, I saw it when they were middle school, high school. I saw it when they were graduating from high school. And we wondered what’s the future gonna be and what are they gonna be like as adults? Are they gonna be responsible? And I know that God is so faithful and I just have to keep leaning on him and trusting him. He is there. And there’s been times, actually, I had a conversation this summer with one of my daughters and she was like, there was a situation, she’s like, How’s that ever gonna be resolved? How’s it ever gonna happen? And I said, I know it is. And I just labeled, I just started naming off all these prayers that got it answered in like the last year or two.
And I said, I know it seems so unlikely. I know God will answer that prayer. And so it’s because of the past I feel that we can look into the future. Thank you. Yeah, no, I really appreciate that. So it’s part of that seasoning that takes place as you have experience and that experience leads towards hope and encouragement.
If I could just follow up with that, Sue and Tom both. I was hearing different ideas of practices or ways that you engaged life and engaged your spiritual life that gave you a grounding or gave you a stabilization during those times. Can you speak to that a little bit?
What are practices that you have found as a couple that help you identify these different levels of stress and when it’s getting more towards the hyperstress or the red zone, and how do you navigate that as a couple? Well, it’s certainly a journey, that’s for sure. And so I don’t think we have it totally figured out even today. And about the time we think we do, then something pops up and reminds us that we don’t. So, but really a number of keys I think for us that we found very helpful. One is praying together every night. We pray out loud together, each of us pray. And it’s just been a wonderful practice for us to stay grounded.
Either before or after that, it usually leads to conversation that maybe something that needed to be talked about or resolved or worked through so that has helped. I would, I think, and really sustaining just time in the Scripture together and certainly a part in your devotion time and just immersing in Scriptures to meditate and think on. Any thoughts that you’d have. I think it seems like many times when one of us is down, the other one, okay, he’s down. It’s my job to encourage. And so sometimes we just speak Scripture to each other. And I find that for me too, sometimes there’s a situation and I’ll even say, I just feel like I wanna give up. It’s just too hard.
But our God is faithful and he is gonna see us through, and this is not the end of the road. And, we just speak truth to each other, speak into each other’s lives, the things that we need to hear. Have you always had that level of openness of relationship, or is that something that you’ve grown into with these seasons and with these different experiences in life?
How would you characterize your marriage over the years? It’s definitely been a journey for sure, and not only a journey, but ebbs and flows. I would say there’s seasons where we communicate very well and are very open and there’s other seasons that maybe it’s not so much.
And even just with each, the ministry and the different areas of that, as we work through that there’s times that in ministry and certainly in eldership, but really in a ministry in a small church being the only minister, very early on I was faced with leadership things that would come upon me and struggling through how to share that with Sue or not.
And it was definitely something that was a journey and I failed miserably many times and not sharing what I should have. And so she felt left out and hurt and that raised her level of distress and mine too, really. And anyway, so we’ve not always done it perfectly, but God is gracious and my wife is forgiving, and hopefully I am too.
And we kind of work through that. But yeah, it’s been a journey. It’s not something we’ve always, and even today, I don’t think we have it figured out totally. Where we still have bumps in the road, so it’s just important to be really honest with each other, have those hard conversations.
It’s not easy. But I think that we have, I feel like I have grown to trust him when I can tell there’s something that maybe is going on that he doesn’t want to share with me, I have learned that I can trust him in that because he does share with me at times when he can and like especially relationship problems that are happening in our church.
I think that women can speak some. I don’t know. We just have some intuition, sometime in relationships, especially if it’s with another male or female. And I think that he has learned to value that and I have learned too if there’s something that he can’t share, I’ve learned that I can trust him and it’s okay.
So I think we’ve learned, we’ve just learned how to navigate that together and realize that things are okay. But initially when I felt like he wasn’t sharing things with me, because I felt like up until the ministry, we did really share a lot with each other, and so I felt kind of pushed out and I wanted to be a partnership of it, but we didn’t know how to do that. So we definitely, I mean, it was years of working through that feeling the sandpaper rub sometime, and then sometimes it was smooth as wood, but you know, it’s just like you just had to just keep working through it.
Yeah, it sounds like in the midst of that tension, you continually turned towards each other or had that conversation with each other and felt that freedom to do so. I really appreciate that example. Sometimes we will use that example of kind of two circles of ministry and marriage and how much they overlap, how much that partnership overlaps.
I think every couple is gonna have a little bit different level of overlap. But it is kind of dangerous if it’s like this big gap between ’em and marriage and ministry are completely separate that there’s not a safety to share or talk a little bit. And it can also be dangerous when they’re over completely overlapped and there’s not any type of separation.
You can run into issues there. But it seems like what you’re sharing is that the critical piece is healthy communication as a couple through that so that you can be on the same page as much as possible. And on the expectations and that feeling of partnership.
As I look at this graph here, I see the independent variable being pressure. That seems to be where the trick of this whole thing is, what do I do with the pressures that I have? How do I let off pressure so that I’m in this eustress place of maximum performance? And so my question to Tom and Sue is we’ve already identified at least three spheres that I think everybody can identify with.
That is family, career, and ministry, and there’s other spheres as well. And I’m curious if sometimes you trade off pressure for one sphere for another sphere and maybe this is a bit of self confession, and then I’ll just ask for your advice, but, I think sometimes I can be hypostress in one of those spheres because I’m in hyperstress in another sphere.
And so I’m trading pressures which is not helpful if my family is the hypostress one, right? And so I’m curious if that’s an experience you’ve had and how you, I guess, perform in all of those areas.
Yeah, it was very real, Matt, for sure. That’s, again, looking at trying to share, I don’t think that it’s something that we’ve fully figured out for sure. And, yet I think communicating as we talked about earlier, is so important because knowing that there’s, you know, because for me, a lot of times I’m not even perceptive enough to know that I’m in hypostress in my family.
I mean, I’m here physically but I’m checked out and I don’t even know it. So that’s where communication is also important because maybe I am heads down focused with something going on at church or at work or both, and not even knowing that I’m checked out at home. Sometimes I need my wife to come and say, Hey, something I can help you with or pray, you know, could kind of wake me up that I’m in that state.
But otherwise I think, part of it is how you deal with that too, in that we can’t be in hyperstress in every area of our life and sustain that. It’s just not possible. We will end up in distress and worse very quickly and so having each other, I think helps a lot too. Sue can tell when I’m in hyperstress at work, she’ll say, You know, you have steam coming outta your ears working. Let’s talk about it.
So, anyway, what else? I mean, my hyperstress is family things, and I can get there with church things if you’re there too. Of course, I don’t have it as far as your workload and I don’t work outside the home, but I think it’s God’s gift of marriage that we get stressed about different things. So we’re there. We look at things differently and I try and support him in the things that he’s stressed and I’ll say, what can I do? What literally can I do to help? And this may come up down the road here in this talk.
But I think one of the big things is when he’s going to other churches, cuz he has three churches that I really try and go with him. Just my presence with him helps take stress off of him and then I’m there and I can experience it with him too, so it helps my love for the people to grow, and also I’m having interesting conversations too, that I’m getting to know them and I’m getting to understand the stresses of those churches.
It’s not necessarily my hyperstress, but I’m willing to come alongside with him and meet him in that. Yeah. I think one of the challenges of marriage is not to end up fighting against each other in those varied stresses because they do vary and they’re not the same. But to use them to compliment and encourage and build up each other instead of tear each other apart.
Cuz, it can easily happen where you just don’t understand. And so therefore it just gets worse and it goes into distress instead of looking at your wife as the ally and you’re in it together. The people are not the enemy. That’s your spouse. If I could just place my finger on, I think what you shared there, and you’ve already accented the importance of communication between the two of you and I hear Sue and you going with Tom to those places. You allow that communication to happen because it’s a shared experience and I appreciate you sharing that experience that you two have found. And, no doubt, all ministering couples have to work that out and how much they travel together and all of that.
But I think the point of being able to communicate well, and being able to get inside the life of our spouse. So, I might need to really get into my wife’s family life, for example, so that I can really understand the stressors she’s having day in and day out, for example, in going to her place, is for example. So anyway, I think your example is expansive to lots of different applications. I appreciate that.
I wanna introduce one more concept, if I could, into this graph that you see here. And, this came up in a recent conversation we had with a group of missionaries that I really appreciated the opportunity to talk us through. We were talking about this very graph and where this group finds themselves and they talked about how just naturally they find themselves generally in a series of a place of hyperstress that’s just the level of involvement and commitment and different things going on, that’s where they find themselves running. And so then what happens is into those environments, the unexpected happens, right? You get a flat tire on your car or on the way, Tom and Sue, your example, right? You have an hour drive to church and there’s car trouble in the midst of it, or traffic is exceptionally bad or a kid is sick or something like that. That’s when if you are running really close to that hyperstress side and then those unexpected happen and there’s no margin.
That’s when it can get pushed into distress. And so the concept or the idea that I think is really healthy for all of us to consider, myself first and foremost, is how do we build margin into our lives? What does that look like, practically speaking, where you can have a little level of margin to weather those bumps in the road that come our way. Tom and Sue, I’m curious again, in your perspective, does that resonate at all? Have you found practices or things that are helpful in your life to give yourself a little bit of a level of margin so you can weather the unexpected so to speak? But, it’s not an easy thing for sure because especially it seems like today’s even worse, it seems like the expectations and with technology and the pace of life today, it seems like it’s just expected that we’re just gonna pile more and more on. But, creating that margin, I think, while we haven’t already always identified it as such, it’s really knowing when to say no and saying no to some hard things. I mean, many times there’s stuff with our family that we would love to be doing, but we have to say no to either something with family or something with ministry to make sure that we have margin in both at times and those are hard things because none of us like missing out on good things. But to create that margin, it is something that we found to be required and we still are learning. There’s too many times we still try to do too much, for sure. And, it’s hard because with ministry especially, you can feel the weight of that and, well, I have to, I’m compelled I have to do this.
But, I still really believe that ultimately it’s God’s work and that he knows our frame. And there are times that we still even have to pace ourselves with that and find ways to not do it all at once and share the load. And those are all ways to create margin, I think that we’ve found. And another example too is at work. I’ve been in the same place for many years and I’ve had the opportunity to do many different jobs over those 32 years. But a part of it, especially after being put into the eldership, and even maybe a few years before that, there were times that I was looking for a lesser promotion. Instead of going up, I was looking for a place of less responsibility, at least for a period of time to help. And that’s not always possible in people’s jobs. I understand that. But that’s just another area that I look to try to help create margin, knowing that I couldn’t sustain upward trajectory there and also maintain the ministry and the family. And so those are hard choices and it wasn’t always possible. And usually I found that even after doing that, the responsibility soon piled back on. But, even at work, but I don’t know your thoughts at margin. When I think of margin, I think a lot of when we had minister rotation and we hosted a lot of people in our home and I would use paper plates a lot. We ordered a lot of pizza. We went out to eat. I was always given grace and I know that it was something I wanted to be able to look back on that time and be thankful that we had those people in that in our home. And remember the conversations we. And not be fussing over the food.
And I wanted my children to see that too, that people are not a reason to be stressed. And, there’s probably people listening that were in our home and we probably ordered pizza and I always felt like there was great understanding. And I thank people for that and I think that we can, we. When there’s things like that that we can do to make our life easier, why not? We have to do it. We can’t be killing ourselves over food we make or things like that. We gotta be working toward relationships and thinking about that. And I think that being said, there may be some that they find eustress in doing that.
You know, making the food is actually a stress reliever and so obviously it’s just an example for us. Yeah. That may not apply directly to other people, but that’s an example. So it’s a great example though, and it speaks the idea of knowing who you are, Right? And, knowing what gives you energy and what takes energy away.
And, speaking into that idea, Thomas, what gives you energy and where do you find that recharge time? What does recharge time look for you, look like for you both? I think it’s spending time with our family. We love having time with our family. Playing games is a big thing that we do and, it’s just crazy how busy you all get and how infrequent those times are. But when they’re here, they’re so sweet. I think it’s also just, we’re both introverts, so we need our own time. And sometimes on Saturday nights when there’s an activity, we’ll leave like right after dinner or something and come home because we know that we need that quiet time to be ready for the next day.
And so we’re willing to sacrifice, although we love people and it’s great to be around people, but it helps when we have a daughter that needs her sleep, our youngest, and so we use that as an excuse, but it’s really also helps us get some of that margin for our life too. Yeah. I love taking walks too.
Walking is probably one of the ways that I recharge as well. Both with just the physical exercise, but just clearing my head and certainly just quiet time with the Lord is very refreshing, reinvigorating. Let me jump in with one quick side question, so that one of the questions that was submitted and when people registered was around this idea of Sabbath and you alluded to it, that Sundays aren’t always a recharge day for either of you because it’s a time of responsibility, of work, of maybe preaching of different things.
How have you navigated that factor that God builds that margin into human existence, so to speak. He asks us to take a day of the week to do that recharge and have that buffer zone. And, sometimes the ministry that looks so different. How do you speak into that or how have you found that in your life a way to cope with that?
Well, it’s been a journey as many things have been in our life, but I can relate. I remember early on in the ministry, especially those years when I was by myself, I would come home after preaching two sermons and I would be like, exhausted. Like I just worked a 40 hour week in one day type of feeling. But through that, I think we have learned that, first of all, Saturday nights we try to guard as much as we can to get some time there. And I think each person Sabbath looks differently to people. I mean, obviously your job situation makes it, if you could take another day off, that’s awesome.
I didn’t really have that luxury to take another weekday off, but for me, Saturdays, even doing physical work can be a Sabbath for me because I’m sitting at a desk most of the time and doing a lot of mental things. Whereas getting out and doing something physical actually is a Sabbath to me. It’s refreshing. It’s clearing my mind and it’s exercising my body. But for some that might not be the case. If their job’s very physical I think it is important that we have a Sabbath. It’s a challenge for those in the ministry. It really is. And, I think cutting down a responsibility at work helped with that when I had the opportunity to do that, it’s not always the case. And right now my season of work is not really the case. It’s pretty heavy load again, but that’s again the seasons where you can refresh in between. So I don’t know your thoughts. I think, when we’re looking at our week ahead, we really try to have at least one night where it’s just us that we’re not doing other things. Because there’s always someone to meet with, someone to talk to. And I think you’re probably the, I’m probably a little bit more relational. I think we need to be connecting with him. And he’s like, we can’t, we cannot do this every night. We have got to just be us some, and many times we try to make it two nights, but especially one night we just, we have to say no. And I’m always so glad when we do.
Appreciate you sharing that. We have about 10 minutes left and in a little bit I wanna give time, if anybody has questions, give a few minutes for people to ask them. Before we do that, so we’ve talked about the marriage relationship and the communication and the importance of that. Kind of having that language, that dialogue about stress levels and where you’re at and margin and what that looks like, creating those healthy practices to be in place. What about with family? As you think about your family, your kids, raising them and some unique situations, moving across country, entering the ministry, entering the eldership, having different church responsibilities.
What are some insights you can share with us about how to navigate some of those dynamics as you raise your kids from young ones to teenagers and now married couples in the midst of that. You’re not expecting you to be perfect either. So don’t definitely trust me. I feel like when our children were younger, we would say, when we had a lot of minister rotations in our home, and I would say, this is the vision for our family is helping dad, supporting dad and serving our church.
This is what we do and I really saw our kids grab onto that. They liked that. They liked having people in our home. Even as the girls started growing up, they were all over doing the breakfast casserole and they liked it. I think as they got older and the reality of what the responsibility that it was for Tom, and there were times when, because they were the minister’s children, they were also put in hard, how would you say it, they were being judged and put in hard spots and we would try to protect them. I would say we did not. Our time to share with each other after a Sunday was when we were in our room changing clothes. It wasn’t on the way home from church that we were talking about things, but we were connecting then and I would, we didn’t not really share a lot with them, but when they started seeing things and would ask questions, we would try to educate them.
I would say there was some hurt. They felt hurt at times and I remember you telling them, hurting people say hurtful things and we could talk about some hard things that had been in their lives that perhaps tainted the way they looked at life or how they process life. And as we explain that they began to see that and understand that.
So I guess it’s like a process of protecting them as much as you can, bringing them along the journey as much as you can but then also educating them to realize that we’re not always responsible for how people treat us, but we can still love because people have hard lives like that. That’s something we say often too, is people aren’t our enemy. Satan is our enemy, and he wants to make things in our mind bigger than they are, or more horrible, but people need love and acceptance. And, I think as the kids have gotten older, it’s probably gotten harder for them just because they do feel the spotlight being a little bit more. There are many times they say, I don’t want the spotlight on me. I just wanna be a kid. And there’s so much truth to that, and we’ve tried to create margin for them to do that too. And as a result, it probably makes us a little uncomfortable at times with just them being kids. But I think, in leadership, we do want them to be the examples, but also, they’re kids. We can’t have unrealistic expectations and take away their their development, and learning, and growing. And even though it adds stress to, sometimes it adds hyperstress to us. Anyway, I dunno if that answers your question, but, I really appreciate a couple of those things.
Just to highlight what I heard there is that sense of trying to protect them, being careful what you say and when you say it, kind of guarding your conversations, and who’s listening, and the listening ears that might be close. But then also bringing that big picture perspective or using, we talk about teachable moments and trying to seize those teachable moments to help them go through the journey together with you.
It is very real and I appreciate sharing that. Do you have that openness about stress level and that kind of idea? And just they can probably tell when mom and dad are a little bit more in hyperstress or a little bit more in a difficult period and when they’re in a not as difficult period.
I’m sure that’s just a healthy conversation piece as well, just like with spouses, but also with the family as a whole. We do try and share and actually ask ’em to pray, especially if we’re going on a weekend that it seems hard, we’ll say, just pray for us. It feels like a hard weekend. For sure partnering in the ministry together there. That’s a really powerful piece there.
Matt, I wanna open it up to anybody have questions, anything you have on your mind right now, and if there’s anybody else that feels brave and wants to unmute their mic and ask a question or two. We have a few minutes left.
I wanna be mindful of time, but, any last thoughts or anything to share? No, I’ve really appreciated it. Tom and Sue and your examples have been great. They’re very unique to you. Some of them certainly apply specifically, but everything, I think we can learn from and that’s been helpful.
I think one of the values, Arlan, of this particular presentation is just the vocabulary. And I think one of the takeaways that I’m taking away tonight is just the communication between our spouses and just even have on the radar of hyperstress, distress, eustress, I think goes a long ways. Vocabulary is powerful because it puts meaning, complex concepts to short phrases. And so hopefully our listeners can just take some of the vocabulary here and allow that to be a part of their communication and facilitate communication with one another. So thank you. Hopefully we’ve given you permission to talk about such things and to share such things and to hold each other to this concept of margin and how do we build margin into our lives.
Anybody have a question to ask?
I’m not seeing anybody unmute their mics which is fine. Then, let me bring this to a close as we wrap up. Again, thanks for joining us and thanks for listening in. Just as Matt said, hopefully we brought a little bit of a sense of language and conversation and some permission to talk about some of these things.
And thank you Tom and Sue for joining us and sharing your hearts. Any last words that you wanna say or anything that you’d wanna share with the group? One more time. No, just keep the gospel central to all of it. I don’t know if that came out through this evening, but through all of the stress and hyperstress and distress, it’s speaking to ourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs and encouraging one another as David did in the Lord, and just keeping our eyes upon the cross and on the Lord.
Thanks for that. Such a great piece, that grounding and encouraging yourself in the Lord in the midst of difficult times and just doing it together as a team, as a partnership. And, being able to lean upon each other and learning from that. Really appreciate it. Really appreciate you all sharing and really appreciate you joining us tonight.
Thanks for being part of the webinars this season. We will hopefully in the next few weeks be releasing some topics for 2020 and some ideas there. And I look forward to having you join us again in the upcoming sessions. Again, God’s blessings on you and God’s blessings on each of you and your ministry especially this holiday season.
Thanks again and have a good night.