Thriving Interview – Liv Steffen
- 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)
You have to count the small stuff. This helps lean the score card in your favor. Showers count. Brushed teeth count. Dressed in day clothes-if-someone-comes-to-the-door counts!
One of my simplest fixes when I feel low on self-care is for me to gather up the little chicks (children), place them with me in the room to frolic and play, while I sit in front of my vanity and do things. That’s right, things. It could be anything or everything, depending on the amount of time the kids give me. Here are some of the options: wash my face, comb and curl/straighten hair, lotion face or body, pluck my eyebrows, put on the hot and sexy eye make-up, put on all the make-up, do all kinds of squats and lunges, paint my nails… I mean the options are countless.
And I listen to myself. If it has been 3 weeks of me wanting to shave my head because I hate my hair that much, it is time to do something! I schedule my haircut, pick up a freshly squeezed beauty buster juice, go buy some vitamins that I have meaning to get for months (or order).
I think the most helpful, is this: when you are feeling low on self-care chances are everything and everyone is feeling it too. And I would guess it is visible. Children all out a sorts, house weary and tired and messy. The two most frustrating things about having an epiphany that you need self-care is: everything around you is in need of care and it never comes at the time you can go and get it. And that is why, when I am in need of self-care, and can feel it, the best thing for me is to first recognize that my time for me is not here in this very second, it is to inhale a prayer of “Holy Spirit, fill me”, light a candle, turn on some peaceful music (Steady Heart by Steffany Gretzinger is my first go to), and pick one measly thing to check off the list. Maybe it is the whiny kid that you pick up to cuddle and read to because you know he just wants some of you. Or the pile of dishes, don’t tackle them all, that is unrealistic, fill your dish rack with clean dishes (after racing yourself at putting away the clean ones). Or clearing one counter space into transformed beauty (even if it is the only clean thing to look at in the house). The kitchen table is an awesome one to pick for this. A clean and cleared (and I mean nothing but a candle) kitchen table feels incredible!
And, all this time, while doing these services for your family, remembering the truth: in the act of being poured out for another, you receive life. It’s the gospel played out in real life. It is in giving that you receive. Don’t believe the lie that if you only had more time for yourself you could give more to your family or others. In some cases, this is true, but in normal, everyday life it is often choosing to give that gives way to experiencing joy and uplifting hope.
- 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?
I view friends/family and supporters in two different categories.
Friends and family could easily become too much. But I don’t need to tell you a number, that is for you and the Holy Spirit to work out, HONESTLY, without fearing the truth.
I personally talk with my parents maybe once every 2 weeks. But sometimes I talk with them 2 days in a row. And sometimes a month flies by without talking to them. We hardly ever email, apart from business and special occasions, because that is just not how we communicate. But we call unplanned to one another, whenever, as often, or as sporadic (notice I did not say little, little is not good) as we like.
But I have a friend who talks every morning at breakfast with her mom. Bad? Not for her particular case. For yours it could be fine, it could be bad. Let the Spirit direct you.
Friends, I tend to email, very occasionally. And I would actually like to Facetime them, but I don’t. I may reap consequences for this. And if I do I should not be surprised. I actually think that once kindred spirits, you are always kindred spirits. So I don’t think any of us are going anywhere. We will always be each other’s people, emails or no emails.
Supporters supported us in the first place because they trusted us. Me writing a monthly newsletter packed full of productive does not validate my worth any more to them than the day they sign up to support the person they knew and trusted. Our supporters know that we are hard workers that have packed our lives full with living well. I don’t need to prove it. For one, I don’t always have the time, and secondly, they don’t always care to hear it as much as you think. Not in a bad way, but in a good way. Our supporters don’t want us to feel like they are breathing down are necks, they are there to support through prayer and giving. So if Skype calling is out of the question and newsletters are down to three per year, they are still double high-fiving us for that. And if you think they are not, just start believing that they are. If there is someone out there that you are not “doing enough for” than it might be more productive for you to get rid of those weighty obligations.
Supporters are supposed to support and free us to do our work. And we MOST definitely should intentionally thank them, have an open house when we are home, and speak at reasonable number of places (we only have one sending church, so I know that is not normal), and update them fully as often as seems appropriate, but never should we be chained by them. Or working unto them. NEVER. They don’t want that, God certainly doesn’t want that, and you don’t want that. (Satan does). But instead feel freedom and vigor to work heartily as unto the Lord in how he has called you.
- 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.)
I mean, this is so personal. One of the things my husband needs is a lot of bedroom time. So I respect that for him and he respects other things for me. One of the needs he meets for me is allowing me to sleep in (sleeping in is like 7:30, but that’s pretty amazing to me!!) and he makes breakfast for the family. I know, he is a saint!
We don’t get away as much as I would like, well, it is really only once a year, but I LOVE IT, and live on the memory for quite a long time afterward. We like to go somewhere remote, nice, and clean with nature and an amazing pool/water and view. All of that in one is hard to find, but when we do, it’s the most refreshing time of our lives.
- 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?)
A woman I admire who is thriving on the field has been on the field for 20 years, raised 4 kids, sent 3 on their way into life, and is still on the field and happily married.
She decided to love God and believe that he wanted her to be herself. She embraced the values she had, and lived in them while still embracing others for their loves and passions. She moved forward even when it was uncomfortable, and she didn’t move “back home” even when it wasn’t easy.
- 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.)
I need to do it all, and be it all, in all things, at 100%, and then I will be happy and everyone will be happy with me.
Phish! What?? That is the stupidest thing I ever read. Makes no sense.
- 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
The way he turns me around is by me reading his gospel truth. His Word is living and active, sharper than any two edge sword, piercing and dividing the soul and body when it is exposed to the Word’s living truth! (paraphrase of Hebrews 4:12). Opening his Word and reading is always what turns me around.
He has spoken countless truths. And of course, always applying perfectly to my current situation.
Here are a few random ones. There are so many more specific, day to day things as well, but these are general and touch some of all of our ordinary struggles:
[ f.a.i.l.u.r.e ]
Part of becoming the “best” is not being the “best” for a long time. The “best” people are those that know the feeling of failure well.
[ p.e.r.f.e.c.t.i.o.n ]
We are not meant to be perfect— if you want others to see perfection in your life, point them to one that can prove himself perfect —Jesus.
[ b.e.a.u.t.y ]
Scripture calls us jars of clay, grass that withers away, the only thing that does not fade is our souls and eternity.
[ p.u.r.p.o.s.e ]
Our purpose and reason for doing all things: obeying, loving, serving, being useful for God— is to Glorify Him — in this alone will our hearts find satisfaction.
[ s.e.l.f.-.i.m.a.g.e ]
It does not matter what you are “made of”, it matters what you are “filled of”. All vessels are worthless without the Father filling and using them for himself.
[ u.s.e.f.u.l.n.e.s.s ]
Always be sorting what is dishonorable and what is honorable by abiding in Christ and knowing scripture. Cleanse yourself of the dishonorable — so that — you can be set apart, holy, and useful for the Lord; ready for every good work. 2 Timothy 2:21
[ f.u.l.f.i.l.l.m.e.n.t ]
Joy is more of a soul’s possession of deep contentment than exemplified happiness. When you lack joy or love for others take it as a direct indication that your fulfillment is not being filled in Christ. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. These things I command you, so that you will love one another. John 15: 11,17
7. What’s one thing your organization (or home church) does well to care for you? (that others can learn from)
By giving us grace for not checking all the boxes just right, but appreciating our giftings and the skill sets God has given us.
8. The best-ever care package ever arrives in the mail, and it contains three items. What are they?
Anything from Trader Joe’s (I dream about their spiced chai tea bags). A great, new, fresh book. And some kind a dark chocolate thing. Anything.
About the author
With three bustling children, a fourth on the way, a husband doing BAM in Thailand, and the woes (and blessings) of living cross culturally, Liv Steffen is familiar with those days that seems insurmountable, as well as, the grace of God that makes us conquer. She is passionate in giving encouragement, keeping good perspective, and reminding ourselves of the gospel truth. Read more at brettlivandso-on.blogspot.com.View all articles by: Liv Steffen
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