Loving Life, Loving Ministry
This morning when I woke up, I grabbed my phone from under my pillow and opened up social media. The first post that my eyes began to gaze upon was from one of my dear friends in the ministry. He was certain that he was under attack and solicited prayer as he struggled with feelings of worthlessness, depression, and so on. I immediately got out of bed and it wasn’t long before I had entered the throne room on behalf of my friend. Later on in the day, I began to reflect on how many children’s ministry leaders woke up today feeling the exact same way. Those leaders experiencing a sense of burnout, exhaustion, and dissatisfaction in life and in ministry. Unfortunately for many, in the midst of discouragement, they have found themselves in a place where their “why” has been compromised. As we move into an era defined by “The Great Resignation,” children’s ministry leaders must stand firm and not forsake that in which God has called them to.
The truth is, too often in ministry self-care is promoted but not always supported. As a result, ministry leaders are left feeling empty in their own personal lives. Regrettably, deeming self-care as selfish has caused many leaders to compromise their own mental health in the name of ministry. However, those who have discovered the importance of prioritizing a healthy balance of serving and self-care tend to have more longevity in ministry reinforced by a love for what they do.
Just this past week, I had the amazing opportunity to host a children’s ministry conversation on “Loving Life and Loving Ministry.” If you are struggling in this area, I encourage you to catch the replay here. https://youtu.be/Af4JTZw0IJY You won’t be sorry. The wisdom imparted in this conversation alone is enough to get you back on track to loving life and ministry again. At the end of the day, God has called you to be whole in such a way where there is nothing missing, lacking, or broken. Know this; you were never meant to despise your life or the ministry he has given you. You have been purposed to experience life and ministry at it’s best. Have you lost your love for life and/or ministry? You are not alone. We have all lost our way in one way or another. Consider incorporating the following tips in your life as you journey back to loving life and ministry again.
Become More Self-Aware of Who You Are: You can’t get in charge of your life if you don’t know yourself. Know your identity, your personality, and your being. Know what makes you happy and what makes you stressed. The whole point is to not only learn how to lead others but to learn how to lead yourself.
Practice Taking 100% Responsibility for Your Life: Taking responsibility moves you from Victim to Victor. Take responsibility for your thoughts, words, and actions. Stop playing the blame game! Refuse to take anything personal. Say it out-loud if you need to! Remember, no one can push your buttons because you’re the button maker! Take responsibility for YOUR faith, YOUR family, YOUR health, YOUR finances, and YOUR happiness.
Seek-Help: Weak people hesitate to ask for help fearing others will see them as incapable. Strong people on the other hand seek help when they need it. Don’t believe the hype. Whether in life or in ministry, someone is assigned to help you! Consider ways you can outsource those tasks that are taking the joy out of what you do in ministry. What do you need to outsource at home in order to create the life you love? Do you need a cleaning service, a counselor, a tutor, or a financial planner? Stop making excuses and get the help you need. To not get help is to stay stuck big time! You were never meant to do this thing called life alone! It’s all about building a tribe. Remember, your tribe may change over-time and that’s okay! Some help will come for a reason, a season, and an eternity. Be grateful nonetheless, move forward, and continue to get the help you need.
Stop Living in the Past: Progression requires that you leave the past behind. The best thing about the past is that we already know what happened. We know how it ends and we know what to expect out of it. In order to move forward, we must actively decide to move on. Let go of old grudges. Delete old conversations. Throw out items that remind you of painful memories. Unfollow people who remind you of the past. You completely have my permission to do so. Remember, growing trees lose leaves…and don’t be mad at the leaves, they may become mulch in the future.
Stop Comparing Yourself with Others: You are in a lane all by yourself. Enough said! Comparisons rob us of precious time and deprive us of joy. Besides, you are too unique to compare fairly. Choose to be the best you! Focus on what YOU want and where YOU’RE going. Run YOUR race. Don’t ruin your performance because you’re trying to run someone else’s race!
Stop Surrounding Yourself with People that Drain You: Listen to me. It’s okay to walk away from people that drain you. Sometimes history is not enough and that’s okay! Be willing to walk away from negative people, people who make you feel less than, and people who always seem to be involved with drama. Guard your spirit! You deserve to be surrounded by people and environments that bring out the best in you. Sometimes that means removing yourself from ones that bring out the worst. You have to have a standard for you so steer clear of those joy-suckers!
Take Care of Your Mind, Body, & Spirit: When your body doesn’t function right, neither do you, which only ends up hurting you and the ministry. Choose to love yourself better! Practice well-being. Take vitamins. Get adequate rest. Do things for you. Eat healthy and exercise as much as possible! Self-care is the name of the game! Your health is important. Stop playing Russian roulette with your health. If you do not love yourself, you will not know how to love others. It’s when you feel your best, that you perform your best and are better prepared to foster the success you’re looking for in life and in ministry.
I wanted to close this blog post with a special love letter just for you...
Dear children’s ministry leader,
In order to love ministry, do me a favor and start by loving yourself. Understand your worth. You as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your own love and affection. Honor yourself, your ideas, and your journey by defining success on your terms. Tell yourself that I am necessary and the world needs me. I am a difference maker, a game changer, and a standard bearer. Do your own thing. Stop looking for validation, give yourself permission to live a big life. Stop playing it small. Step into who you were meant to be. Embrace the fact that you deserve to be happy! Remember, you have one life to live. Live it to the fullest dear friend.