The Balancing Act with Jenn Alexander
May 25, 2022 |
I never have enough time. I’m exhausted. My life is overwhelming. I’m so tired of being behind. Will I ever catch up? Leaders hear these phrases all the time, from their own hearts and other people. We all know what it’s like to feel out of balance.
In this episode of Moving Mountains, Pastor Jenn Alexander illustrates walking the tightrope in heels and feeling torn in half by her desire to flourish in ministry, while pouring her love and attention into her children. As a wife, mother, worship leader, songwriter, speaker, and pastor, Jenn has struggled to balance all her roles and God-given gifts. Her pursuit of balance has led her to truths about ministry, motherhood, and faith.
Walking The Tightrope
What does a “balanced” life look like? Jenn thinks, “We have to laugh at that notion because that perfect place of ‘balance’ does not exist.” But, she shares, “I actually preached at a church for Mother’s Day, and I titled the message Mom on a Wire. The graphic was of a woman’s feet walking a tightrope in high heels. And that’s it. If we’re honest, that’s it.”
So for Jenn, balance doesn’t exist. She admits that the seasons may change, but the balancing act never ends. She recalls feeling torn in two and that the Lord met her there. Instead of chasing the non-existent balance, she leans on the message of Matthew 6:31-33:
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ [Where will I work? How will I balance it all?] These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
Jenn felt God speak those words into her life. “The only way forward for me—and really, all of us—is to cease seeking security and affirmation and success and balance! And instead seek Him, His Kingdom and trust Him to give me everything I need.” After hearing the verses from Matthew, Jenn felt like her life integrated. She said, “I’m a mother and preacher. I’m a worship leader and a friend. I’m a leader and a follower—who simply needs to be faithful to go where The Lord leads me.” No longer looking for balance, Jenn learned that while she’s walking the tightrope, she can trust the net —God.
Surrendering To Find Balance
In her attempt to balance motherhood and ministry, Jenn describes her approach as, “a giant game of Tetris… A piece would enter the screen, and I’d figure out how to flip it and align it, so that it would fall into the tight groove to make the line disappear. It’s crazy. But we’re making it work. Barely.”
Eventually, the game of Tetris threw Jen a piece she couldn’t quite fit. The Monday after she preached the sermon Mom on a Wire, she stood over a positive pregnancy test laughing and weeping. Jenn remembers, “I was sad in the moment! This is going to be the best gift God ever gave me. I’m going to adore this child! But I had to grieve. I had to weep, because I knew what this meant! I had lived it twice before.” Jenn felt torn in half by “my desire to flourish and to become everything that God made me and equipped me to be. And [my desire] when I became a mom, in a way to feel like I needed to be willing to give it all up, to now pour into my own children- so that they would become everything God made them to be!
For Jenn, “every birth is a death,” and in this season of her life, she didn’t want to die again. But finally, she said the words: “I. Can’t.” For the first time in her life, Jenn says she surrendered. “Surrender was painful. Dying is awful. But it’s my path to life.” This change in mindset looked like a career shift, with less traveling and working with a supportive team. Jenn says, “The older I get, the more I realize it’s best to live into the time you are in.” The people around her supported her for that new season of life, and now Jenn is passionate about making sure other women feel that support.
Supporting Women As They Seek Balance
When asked about other women in ministry, Jenn said, “My heart reaches out to women who are navigating the beautifully complex moment we’re all in.” Right now, women have more opportunities to thrive than ever before. However, Jenn recognizes that it comes at a cost.
Her solution for women is “to be patient and to move at the pace of the Holy Spirit. Time, staying faithful, growing [our] gifts and standing firm in [our] identity in Christ… has opened up the space [to thrive].” And yet, Jenn also encourages women to continue to grow and be ready when they’re called to step in to lead, speak, or whatever the Church needs.
Today, women have more opportunities to thrive than ever before. With those opportunities comes the impossible task of walking the tightrope in heels—but the balancing act is only for a season. Sometimes we fall off the rope entirely, but, as Jenn said, we can trust the net. Her final encouragement is that in these seasons of change, “God is working… He is pruning, cleansing, and igniting his church for a new season. We’re in it together. We’re not alone. And with the Lord, the best is always ahead.”
Stream this episode of our Moving Mountains Podcast for encouragement and wisdom from a woman who has tried to walk the tightrope, and found the path to balance.