Thriving Interview – Beth Eckstein
- Self-care is so key to thriving on the field. What’s your go-to self-care, the thing that feeds your soul? (can be physical, emotional, spiritual)
I have a few things that I know are my bare essentials for self care. I have a consistent work out schedule-whether I am training for a race, or working out with friends, this is something that is part of my almost daily routine. Second, I am always in a group Bible study of some kind. I look to this for community, prayer support, and growing through the Word. I have a very administrative role right now so once my office work is done, I also make sure to HAVE FUN!!! I kind of forgot that for the first six years of my overseas life, but have learned to live more holistically. I joined a book club and started reading good (fiction even!) books again. I carve out time for coffee with girlfriends and other fun things-hair washes, karaoke, exploring local attractions etc. These don’t happen on a weekly basis, but giving myself permission to plan fun things has been a huge area of growth for me over the last six to seven years.
- In this day and age, global workers sometimes struggle with being fully present because of access to “home” via Skype and Facebook and other mechanisms. How do you achieve (or aim for) balance between blooming where you are planted and staying connected with friends, family, and supporters?
We came overseas before Skype and Facebook so I don’t always feel I am very good at the staying connected back home aspect. After being away from the US for over 15 years, my world is largely here, but I don’t want to neglect the lifelong relationships with friends and family back home either. Facebook helps but I don’t always have time for long calls with family and friends and often wish for more hours in the day for my sisters in law, nieces and nephews, and dear supporters and friends.
- Ministry is hard on marriage. How do you keep your marriage thriving on the field? (Tell us something you do together in the place where you serve, or a story of something special you’ve done with your spouse to infuse your marriage with depth and connection.)
Our marriage has definitely gone through some ups and downs and I feel like we are constantly adjusting to new stages of life and ministry. We have great communication with each other so that has been the biggest help. We are both external processors so giving each other time to just debrief is huge. Often this means making lunch appointments with each other or going to breakfast when the kids are in school. My husband travels a lot so sometimes this means making Facetime appointments or sending texts and emails. Life has had a good bit of challenge for us the last few years and during this time, keeping our marriage thriving has often been about just showing up. I don’t think we’ve hit on any magic formula nor are we particularly creative so I can’t wait to read other people’s answers to this!
- Tell us about someone you’ve admired who is thriving on the field. What’s her secret? (if you don’t know, can you guess?)
I can think of one woman in particular who is about 15 years ahead of me. As I listen to stories from her first term and observe her in ministry now, I think her secret has been to embrace whatever season she is in and fully engage there. I listen to how she did it with preschool kids 25 years ago, and I see her doing it with both children and adult women today. I also see her being such a learner. She has been willing to move cities, change tactics, and engage in new paradigms even as she enters her third decade of ministry.
- What’s one lie you are prone to believe that could keep you from thriving? (I am not enough, I am Christianity’s PR in my corner of the world, others’ needs are more important than mine, etc.)
Comparison. When I start to compare-she has it easier or her ministry is better, her kids are more obedient etc. etc. this is a very slippery slope to discontentment and an easy access point for the enemy to start messing with my mind. Lies, lies, lies. It leads to mistrust of God’s goodness and care for me as an individual and prevents him from doing a unique work in my life.
- Ministry Insights: How has God nourished your thriving? Turned you around when you were failing to thrive? What truth(s) has He spoken to you when you were in a tough place?
God has certainly allowed me to go through seasons where I was failing to thrive. But he has always (eventually) provided me with reminders that He has not left me alone. He has done this through His Spirit and His Word as well as flesh and blood community. The truths that have carried me through those times are 1) He is God and I am not and 2) even if it doesn’t feel good, He is good therefore, 3) I can trust Him.
- What’s one thing your organization (or home church) does well to care for you? (that others can learn from)
My organization has a great emphasis on training and personal development. When I was at a real crossroads of life and ministry (a recent move, kids in school full time) they sent me to training in coaching skills. This gave me not only a tool for ministry but also showed me I had a real passion for helping others pursue growth. I love the way SEND encourages me to grow both personally and in my ministry skills.
- The best-ever care package ever arrives in the mail, and it contains three items. What are they?
-Fun paper products to throw a party
-A good book
-New make up or accessories
About the author
Beth makes her home in Taiwan with her husband Jon and their 2 children, Lindsay 13 and Jonathan 10. After 15 years and 7 international moves, she is ready to stay put for a while on her favorite island where she enjoys coffee with friends, good books, and walking with women in their journeys to Jesus. She works as a Christian life coach and as the director of women's ministries for SEND International. She is energized by helping women live intentional lives for the kingdom.View all articles by: Beth Eckstein
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