Sometimes, I don’t like being ‘in’ ministry

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11: 28-30 (MSG)

I don’t know about you, but sometimes, I don’t like being ‘in’ ministry. I feel tired and worn out. I feel frustrated with ‘religion’ and complacency in the church. I feel my kids’ time gets neglected. I feel lonely. It’s all so stinkin’ hard! I want to take the mask off and shout I am not fine.

As many of us do, I juggle children’s schedules, ministry commitments, getting dinner on the table, and laundry washed (notice I didn’t say folded or put away because that would require more than I can manage a lot of the time!) … and keep my own spiritual life afloat. I have few in my life with whom I feel I can share these deep feelings with and receive grace. I feel I am expected to do everything right, all the time. Feeling isolated has propelled me to dark places.

Recently, I was meditating on Psalm 46 and a phrase I have heard my entire adult life leaped off the page at me, drawing my soul to conviction. I have read verse 10 many times, “Be still and know I am God.” In the NASB, it says, “Cease striving and know that I am God.” CEASE. STRIVING. Man, oh, man! ‘Cease’ indicates intentionality better than ‘be still’ does. Cease carries with it the connotation of an imperative command, do it now. I was immediately confronted with the question, “What am I striving toward that I need to cease?” After pondering this question for several days, I was faced with another question, “What am I striving toward in ministry that I need to cease?”

Drowning in the dark places of other’s expectations of what ministry should be and feeling isolated forced me to embrace my dependence on my God. In ministry, I had been striving to do everything on my own, not embracing the unforced rhythms of grace that flow when I walk in His company. I was not able to live freely and lightly as a result. I needed (and need reminding) to cease striving to please everyone else, to doing everything ‘right,’ or doing everything myself.

When I cease striving…

  • My calling is not ill-fitting or too heavy for me.
  • I feel energized.
  • I feel adequate to deal with those He places in my path.
  • I feel full, both personally and spiritually.
  • I see and feel the unforced rhythms of grace.

Where and how do you need to cease striving so you can walk in His unforced rhythms of grace?


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