Today I want to introduce you to our guest blogger Dr. Deb Douglas, Minister to Women, First Baptist Church, Bossier City, LA and one of our LifeWay Ministry Multipliers. Deb launched her first women’s Bible study at the age of 20. Her passion is encouraging and equipping women to serve. She is the Minister to Women at FBC Bossier City and a conference/retreat speaker, strategic planning consultant, and freelance writer. Deb graduated from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters of Arts in Christian Education/Women’s Ministry and a Doctor of Education in Ministry degree from NOBTS. She is the wife of Paul, mom of Jared and Katie, and mother-in-law to Emily.
See her thoughts about our lives as ministry leaders and how we can easily become “short circuited” if we aren’t careful:
After a day of sightseeing in the Everglades, I was snapping fun pictures of my children pretending to wrestle their souvenir alligators. With the speed only a sugar charged child can achieve, Jared stuck the gator’s tail into an electrical outlet. Sparks shot out of the socket, plunging the hotel and the neighboring businesses into darkness. One little plastic alligator’s tail short circuited an entire electrical grid and caused chaos for hundreds of people.
The memory of the overloaded circuit has stayed with me. As a minister to women, there have been times when I have felt if one more little thing was added to my life I would blow a fuse and send all around me into chaos. One more phone call, one more interruption, one more complaint.
Jesus understood how ministering to others could overload our circuits. Studying Jesus ministry, we see times when He drew aside, once getting into a boat and falling fast asleep (Matthew 8:23-27). Jesus gave Himself permission to be human. He recognized that meeting all the needs of people was not His first priority. In order to accomplish His mission, He needed to take care of His physical need for rest, time to spend with His family and closest associates, time to reflect and be alone with God.
Sometimes I need to get in the boat. I have to give myself permission to let the phone calls go to voicemail, ask someone else to respond to a need, or make a call instead of taking the time to go to every surgery. I cannot do it all. When I listen for the umpteenth time to the story of how a woman’s been victimized, am I helping her or just draining away my emotional energy, plunging myself and those around me into chaos? Until I skirted on the edge of burnout, I did not understand by having healthy boundaries, short circuits were prevented.
I have discovered for me the most effective way to recharge and refresh is to go on a cruise. Destination does not matter, but the isolation from daily demands does. As soon as I get onboard, my phone is locked away in the safe. With my Bible and an empty notebook, I sit on the balcony and wait for God to speak. Without the distraction of constant communication, I can hear His voice. Spending time truly engaging with my family and friends builds up my stamina and cleans out the buildup of daily stress.
We cannot always get on a ship when we are stressed, but there are other ways to get at the feet of Jesus to de-stress. By getting on the “boat”, whether a cruise ship, a chair in a quiet room, the park¸ or my porch swing, I am choosing to step away and recharge rather than short circuit God’s design for my life and ministry. God has gifted and called others to serve besides me. Sometimes I need to get out of the way so the others have room to serve.