life in the fishbowl

May 8, 2009 by


maybe some of you are wondering what it’s like to be a pastor’s wife. not because you want to be one. oh, no, no one wants to be one :) but because for some reason it seems like being a pastors wife is a “role” in the same way a “pastor” is. like i must play the piano…right? and teach sunday school, sing in the choir, and run vbs or something? you might also think that my kids are angels, or that i don’t lose my temper, or that i have it all together. you might think that my hair is always done, and i like to cook dinner every night, and i’m never annoyed or frustrated or selfish or rude or unkind. welll, not exactly.

see, what you’re thinking of…is a saint. and i am not a saint. i just so happened to be married to a pastor. i’m sure many of you who either grew up with me or knew me in college know that there is no chance in hades i’m a saint.

a little back story: when i started dating dave, he was actually working as a courier and getting his masters in divinity. before that he worked in IT and did some programming, networking, and help desk type work (boy, does that come in handy). and although he worked in youth ministry part time at new hope, if you had asked him if he would follow in his fathers footsteps and become a pastor, he’d have smiled and politely declined. maybe he’d have laughed at you. but it was always a “no thanks.”

truth is, being married to a pastor is like being married to a biologist or a salesman, a trucker or a rocket scientist, really. you know- you have a husband, he does a job, he tells you about it when he gets home, etc. i suppose what makes his occupation a bit different is that people really think you’re something “more” than you are (kind of like the president and first lady).

see, we don’t have a direct line to God, and Jesus doesn’t come to our house for dinner each week. although, that would be cool. people for some reason assume i’m perfect and that he’s the most godly man around. reality is, God has simply asked him to shepherd people and lead them to the best of his ability. God called him to serve in this way. but lots of people serve others all over the world, every day. the thing with pastors is that many times people view them as more than men.

but they’re not.

we’re very blessed to have the opportunity to show people who Jesus is. but so does everyone else. quite frankly, the pastor’s house and the pastor’s family should be pretty much like your family (namely if you love Jesus like we do). since we’re no more holy than you, there is no reason your house should be any different than our house. perhaps because of our “roles,” we are afforded unique occasions that some other people may not be. and i would say that more ought to be expected of us because people look to those in leadership (in every capacity) as an example (note: do this at your own risk). we just live in what people refer to as “the fishbowl,” which means that others tend to observe us more. the advantage in that? we have opportunities to represent Jesus well. and i try to do my best. but that’s not my responsibility simply because i married a pastor. that is something that every person should consider.

would you talk to your spouse the same way if Jesus was sitting on your couch?
would you make dinner for Jesus the same way you make dinner for your family?
would you really act how you do, knowing God is everywhere, including in your mind?

people always make jokes to “watch their language” or “act appropriately” because the pastor’s around. but i think that’s a shame, because we should ALL be acting and living like we serve an omnipresent God. because if you’re only thinking about what you say when the pastor’s around, you’re neglecting to think about the other hundreds of days in your year. and that God knows every thought and hears every word that leaves your lips.

mostly, i want people who meet me or know me to see a little Jesus in me. or even a lot. but you won’t find perfection here. you may, on the contrary, see me yelling at my son in the store, or stop by my house at noon to find me still in my bathrobe, bedraggled, and maybe then you’ll have a more accurate picture or this awe-inspiring life i lead. fishbowl living can be hard sometimes, to be honest. i never imagined i would be married to a pastor, so it took some getting used to at first. but now, i consider it an amazing opportunity to surprise people with what church looks like, what pastor’s wives look like, and why all the preconceptions are irrelevant.

that it’s so much LESS about US and so much MORE about Jesus.

i don’t think i’m special. and neither should you. i know i’m being a little tongue and cheek here, but it’s just that it’s not about labels, titles, expectations, or any of that. it’s about your heart. and your actions. and your words. and them all lining up. i’m more than a pastor’s wife. and you’re more than a ___________’s wife. it’s a little much to live up to sainthood, although i truly do aspire to be a better representation of Jesus every day. and i strive to support my husband every way i can, the same way any wife would. i just want to be the best michelle i can be. and that michelle will love others and show kindness and whatever else, just like you.

so heck, throw out all your silly notions and misconceptions.
how about this one?!
i like tattoos. AND i’m a pastor’s wife. BRING THE HEAT!

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