feeling trapped

Feeling Trapped in Ministry

My good friend and I meet every Monday morning at 7:30.  Not because we are both early risers but because it’s the time that works.  We both know full time ministry and have served in different programs, and it’s one of the common threads that unites our hearts.  

Over coffee this last November, she sat across from me and shared how she was “just done”.  Tired, frustrated at “behind the scenes” issues, ready for a break.  She expressed a common feeling I’ve had of being on a hamster wheel…and it’s beginning to spin out of control.  It’s hard to find a way to rest when so much is genuinely hinged on YOU getting it done.  

We talked all of November about how to get off that wheel.  We reflected on whether we created the endless spinning or whether it was just genuinely part of the job/role.  I think we concluded it was some of both.  

We decided some honest conversations needed to take place….conversations between my friend and her “boss”.  Whether she was going to be received well, sharing where she was at was the best first step.  In her next meeting with her boss, she honestly confessed her need to get off the wheel.  Realizing that doing so meant others would have to get on it in order to keep things moving.  It was hard to figure out how this would work.   Who would pick up the slack?  What about how exhausting it would be to actually explain what she did to make sure things were covered?  What if the people she poured into weren’t poured into as carefully and diligently by her substitutes?

We were both reminded that our personal walk with Jesus was more important than the ministry we were accomplishing for Jesus.  My friend was permitted to take some time in December for her self and the first things she did?  Rested.  I mean literal rest.  She slept.  She took the first few days to get caught up on the sleep and rest her body needed.  We both noted that we can’t even get healthy emotionally if we’re physically exhausted.  

Have you ever noticed how it’s so much easier to think clearly when we’re rested?  Our healthy perspective comes back, we have more grace for the intrusive people or situations, we can rebound tough situations faster.  

The next thing she did was find apps, songs, and podcasts that fed her Spiritually.  She was intentional about filling her quiet moments with soul food.  I could see excitement returning to her eyes as she told me about this great app that reminds her to read God’s word at 8:00AM every morning. It came complete with a video on the history of the passage, the passage itself and then a Psalm to read.  So user friendly.  So easy.  So within her grasp.  

During her resting, she spent a lot of time asking God how to proceed.  Asking God to shed light into our “hamster wheel” situation allows him to be faithful in showing us the way off.  God never fails to let us know what to let go of.  He is also faithful to confirm the necessary work we are doing while ministering to our weary heart.  

Maybe you’re like me and in a season that you can’t actually let go of anything.  Let me challenge you to sit down with a friend and wrestle with how you can get a bit of balance back.  My guess is, if you’re willing to listen, God will show you just exactly what needs to be tweaked.  Maybe it’s your husband, or a friend outside your current ministry that can hear where you are, pray with you, and lean into some healthy (maybe hard) decisions to help you get off that hamster wheel. 

Remember, our personal walk with Jesus is way more important than the ministry we’re accomplishing for Jesus!


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