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Feature Article: How to Find a Healthy Balance Between Your Work, Ministry & Personal Life

Suzanne Recommends:

Inspirational Women's Garden Club, Wednesday, April 30, 7 pm EST

  • How to Find a Healthy Balance between Your Work, Ministry & Personal Life, Wed, Apr 30,
    7 pm EST

How to Find a Healthy Balance between Your Work, Ministry & Personal Life

I smile as I write this because I'm not sure anyone would say I've been a specialist in work/life balance! Yet two years ago as I left my role as a minister at a large DC megachurch, I gained more time to pursue my personal life and interests. Gil and I were interested in having a child, I wanted to pursue my doctoral degree, write a book, and also just have more personal time to be renewed and refreshed.

Two years later, my life is very different. Carter, our son, just turned 6 months old, I'm two-thirds complete with the doctoral degree, and God has given me a ministry I can do mostly from home - building up ministry leaders and women, while I care for my son and family.

As I reflected on this challenge you face, I wanted to share some principles that have been helpful to me over the years related to finding a healthy balance between work, ministry and personal life and some keys to victory to help you begin or continue to do this.

  1. First, you need to have the correct mindset. By this, I mean you'll need to realize that your significance comes from Christ - not your performance or accomplishments - and then establish your priorities based on this fact.

    This is a difficult concept to grasp, and particularly in the city in which I live near Washington, DC. Many of the world's best and brightest come here to make their mark and compete against others, often as gifted, or maybe, moreso than they. In places like this and other "achievement-oriented" towns, these 'high-performance" individuals are energized by creativity, challenge, activity, and accomplishments. Maybe you're one of those people!

    Yet if your self-worth is based on your performance, it can be a shaky foundation for the long haul. God, on the other hand, gives you self-worth just because you're created in His image. Ps. 139:13-14 tells us, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

    Although people may be momentarily impressed with your accomplishments, the true reality is they don't really care. And seeking their accolades is not worth the chaos that a "boundaryless" life of too many commitments can create for you. It's so much better to freely choose the things you love and feel passionate about to invest your time in and to do so without obligation or constraints from others.

  1. Having the correct mindset involves managing your priorities, which include people (relational responsibilities), task completion, and most importantly, your own self-care.

    This is an area that is a struggle for many women - those who need to respond to those in close relationship with them - whether they be husbands, children, parents, parents-in-law or employers. You may be struggling to balance all of the different responsibilities and expectations that others may have of you.

    Yet part of finding a healthy balance in these relationships involves setting and managing priorities - first your relationship with the Lord, then with yourself, then your loved ones, then your work, and then your ministry. Many times, you may feel drained from trying to meet the expectations of others. Sometimes that's because you've allowed your priorities to get out of order - taking care of others before your own time with the Lord or personal care - and at other times, you may be in relationship with others who will demand and take all you have. This is when "boundaries need to become your friend" to say "no" to that which is not good.

    God has given you a charge to care for yourself and your own spiritual life before giving to others. Just as your car would break down without sufficient fuel on the road, you also can't give out of an "empty emotional tank." Your "tank" needs filling on a regular basis by the Lord with His Word, time with Him, prayer, personal rest, healthy food, and healthy relationships. Meeting your needs first enables you to meet the needs of others through the "overflow" from your emotional and spiritual "tank." How full is your tank today?

  1. People are more important than things or tasks, even though the tasks do need to get done, too.

    In Luke 10:38-42, we're told the story of Martha and Mary hosting a dinner at their home for Jesus and others. In the story, Martha becomes exasperated because she feels she's doing all of the work in preparation for the dinner, while Mary sits at Jesus' feet, listening to His teaching. Martha asked Jesus to "make" Mary help her. Yet Jesus replied to Martha that Mary had "chosen the better thing," and really only one thing was needed, which was the focus on time with Him.

    In this almost-amusing story, Jesus reminds us that people are more important than tasks, and that time spent with Him is the most important of all. This is a wonderful guide for you when choosing how to spend your time.

  1. As you've set your priorities, you'll then need to use your limited resources well within those priorities.

    It's easy to think you can do everything well, no matter how much you take on. Yet the reality each of us faces is that we do have finite amounts of time, money, and emotional energy. Scripture gives you the illustration of the ant which works hard, wisely, and without an overseer to direct it. In Prov. 30:25, we're told: "Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer." Prov. 6:6-8 adds: "Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest." Even ants understand that they need to "make hay while the sun shines," as those opportunities will not always be there for them. You and I need to do the same.

  1. Lastly, enjoy your work and seek to please God alone. As you live your life, perform for an "audience of One" - for the Lord and seek only that He is pleased with your life.

    Ecc. 3:12-13, written by the wise King Solomon, tells you and I: "I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God." And Col 3:23-24 adds: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."

Keys to Victory along the Journey

  • Realize your significance comes from Christ - not your performance or accomplishments - and then establish your priorities based on this.

  • Manage your priorities, which include people (relational responsibilities), task completion, and most importantly, your own self-care.
  • People are more important than things or tasks.

  • Use your limited resources well within the priorities you've established

  • Enjoy your work and seek to please God alone. As you live your life, perform for an "audience of One" - for the Lord and seek only that He be pleased with your life.

Joy and Strength has some words of wisdom about how you should view your life and your time from February 8:
It is wholly impossible to live according to Divine order, and to make a proper application of heavenly principles, as long as the necessary duties which each day brings seem only like a burden grievous to be borne. Not till we are ready to throw our very life's love into the troublesome little things can we be really faithful in that which is least and faithful also in much.

Every day that dawns brings something to do, which can never be done as well again. We should, therefore, try to do it ungrudgingly and cheerfully. It is the Lord's own work, which He has given us as surely as He gives us daily bread. We should thank Him for it with all our hearts, as much as for any other gift. It was designed to be our life, our happiness. Instead of shirking it or hurrying over it, we should put our whole heart and soul into it.

(James Reed)

If you would like to hear more topics like these, please join us for the April "Inspirational Women's Garden Club" event on Monday, April 30, at 7 p.m. EST. For more information, contact Suzanne at We'd love to have you join us and bring a friend, too!

April Coaching Special

With enrollment this month in the Inspirational Women's Garden Club, you’ll receive a complimentary 30-minute personal or church coaching consult. Just contact my office at I'd love to help you.

Please let me know what issues you would like to hear about in the next newsletter. I'll do my best to address your concerns! I look forward to speaking with you all next month.

Many prayers and blessings to you all,

Leadership Tips and Relationship Tips are monthly e-zines written and published by Suzanne Martinez, founder of SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC. Our purpose is to help leaders develop healthy leadership cultures and healthy relationships - cultures that promote growth and maximize personal and organizational performance.

You may copy, forward or distribute this e-zine if this copyright notice and contact information for Suzanne Martinez is included.

Suzanne Martinez
SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC
P.O. Box 9172
Reston, VA 20195-9172

Copyright ©SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC, 2006-2008.

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Leadership & Relationship Tips
April 2008
Vol. I, Issue 26

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Would you Like to Have Your Own CD copy of Recent Garden Club Messages?

It's easy. Just click on the links below, and your CD copies will be shipped out to you ~

Developing Patience through Your Difficulties (April 2007)

Celebrating the Goodness of God in your Life (May 2007)

Dealing with Stress and Anxiety (June 2007)

Finding Rest for Your Soul (July 2007)

Conquering Bitterness through the Power of Forgiveness (August 2007)

Resolving Conflict and Healing Patterns from the Past (September 2007)

Pink & Blue: Secrets to Translating Male/Female Communication to Achieve Meaningful Love and Work

Depending on God to Live Victoriously Despite our Circumstances (November 2007)

Persevering Prayer that Leads to Hope and a Victorious Life (December 2007)

Mastering and Sustaining Personal Change (January 2008)

Servant Leadership Lessons Jesus Modeled for Our Leadership and Our Lives (Feb 2008)

How to Choose and Be a True Friend for Life (March 2008)

If you'd like to purchase the package of Garden Club CDs for yourself or as a gift for a friend, you may do so by clicking on the following link - Garden Club Album. I hope you'll be inspired by these!

Upcoming Garden Club Teleseminars

Interested in joining the Inspirational Women's Garden Club?

It's a monthly get-together via telephone of women to network, build relationships with one another, and to discuss the Relationship Tips monthly topic.

Our next Inspirational Women's Garden Club event is:

Wed, April 30, 7 pm EST.

Our topic will be on:

How to Find a Healthy Balance between Your Work, Ministry and Personal Life.

Just email me at Suzanne's office for more information and for the information needed to participate!

If you'd like more information about the Garden Club or to enroll, please go to Inspirational Women's Garden Club. You may hear a sample audio class at FREE Gift and FREE Handout. Hope you'll join us on Wed, April 30 at 7 pm EST!

Becoming a Woman of Godly Character

Our words reflect our hearts and character. In the CD, "Becoming a Woman of Godly Character," Suzanne provides answers to common questions women ask and encourages you in your walk with Christ.

She'll also teach you qualities of a godly woman and the process whereby God changes you throughout your life to make you more like Christ.

Click here to order your copy...

Reversing the Curse: Rediscovering Joy and Fulfillment in Relationships

Reversing the Curse: Rediscovering Joy and Fulfillment in Relationships

In this four-week study guide, Suzanne leads you to simple, but powerful, tools to reverse the effects of the curse and transform your relationships in amazing ways.

As you learn and incorporate these three simple "power tools" into your relationships, you'll find you rediscover joy and fulfillment in your relationships in a new and fresh way.

Click here to order your copy!

Reversing the Curse: Rediscovering Joy and Fulfillment in Relationships

Inspiring Devotionals

Has your relationship with Christ lost its fervor? Have you gotten caught up in the stresses of life? Is your time with the Lord placed on the back burner?

These two devotionals will help renew your focus on Christ, gain strength for the trials you face, and enable you to give praise to God amidst whatever difficulties you encounter.

For a sample of Joy and Strength, see the ending paragraphs of "How to Successfully Balance your Work and Personal Life" at the left.


Shop here to obtain your copy.

About Suzanne

Suzanne France Martinez
Founder & Principal

During the last 20 years as Suzanne served in the marketplace and in ministry, she learned to excel amidst the pressing demands and challenges of leadership in each setting.

Suzanne's passion is to help leaders develop healthy leadership and healthy relationships - cultures that promote growth and maximize personal and organizational performance.

Suzanne desires to help leaders renew and refresh their vision, attain new levels of leadership excellence, and build healthy and strong leadership organizations.

Copyright © 2006-2008 SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC.