When someone goes through trauma, we gather around them. We cry. We laugh. We bring food. We pray with them. So why is it so hard for us to understand that we need these things occasionally too, especially after walking alongside so many that are hurting?
“I’m just not bouncing back the way I used to. Pouring into those that are hurting is taking more out of me than it has in the past. What’s going on? I haven’t been one to struggle with depression typically, but I’m closer to it than I have ever been before.”
This was our conversation – between me and a friend who is also a pastors’ wife.
I’ve been diving into this issue for a few months now. How can I become more resilient? How can I become better at bouncing back after trauma or just a really difficult season?
Our conversation shed light on another factor that contributes to resilience: the importance of having a consistent team around you.
There’s a reason why people recover better from major surgery or trauma when they have a healthy support system. One that nurtures their physical, emotional, and spiritual health. One that surrounds them to laugh, bring healthy food, and pray with them. We do this for those in our congregations. Why is it so hard to understand that when we go through emotional trauma with those we are walking alongside, we are going to need some support on the other end.
For the last thirty-five years, I’ve been vigilant about making sure that I have a mentor who is pouring wisdom into me during every season of life…until this one. As I get older, they are harder to find. As my church context gets bigger, finding that wise, safe person that understands my world seems more complicated. And this crazy Covid season has made maintaining my support team even harder. But it is so very important, just as important as it was when I was in my twenty’s. That’s why I reached out last week and found one. This one step will increase my resilience.
So here are some other tips that I’m working to remind myself of and implement:
- Pastors’ wives need mentors too. Be aggressive about finding one. She needs to show wisdom, be careful with her speech, be a good listener, and be semi-available (I usually can’t wait two weeks). And occasional coffee chats weren’t enough for me. I needed more intentionality. So I send my mentor a question every time we get together that I want to hear her take on.
- Pastors’ wives have MANY acquaintances/friends, but kindred spirits are rare. Nurture them. Treasure them. But value the relationships that are only intended to be here for a short while, not as deep, and maybe seem a bit one-sided.
- We need fun! Fun all but vanished from life for a bit of this Covid season. Everything, all of the decision making has just been so darn HEAVY. But we need to plan and seize fun to keep us going. And our husbands might not have the energy for it right now – as much as they need it too. So grab a friend and do something simple to make you laugh – something fun.
I’m praying God will use this to put some bounce, some snap back in that rubber band. In mine and yours too.