Staying Focused on the Goal

I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have made it.  But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me.  Friends, don’t get me wrong:  By no means do I count myself an expert in all this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onwards – To Jesus.  I’m off and running and I’m not turning back.  ~ Philippians 3:14 (The Message)

Ministry feels like a marathon, am I right?  It takes endurance, strength, resilience, tough skin, robustness, compassion, patience, & faith.
It can be intimidating. It can be heartbreaking.  It can be overwhelming & stressful. I’m pretty certain that I’ve described at least one thing about ministry that you can relate to now, or in the past.  Please understand & know that I’m not being negative about serving in ministry.  I’m being honest and transparent. I’m being real. And although all that I have mentioned is true, there are also other things I want to say about serving in ministry. Keep reading…..
It can be fulfilling.  It can be impacting. It can be life changing not only for you, but for the lives you’re reaching. It can give you a sense of purpose & joy knowing that you’re doing what God has lead you to do! You minister to others and in doing so, they minister to you. Friendships and relationships are made.  Trust is found.  It’s beautiful!  God is faithful!
But it’s certainly easy to get down & out while serving.  That’s normal.  It happens.  Chin up!!
The key is balance!  When those feelings of burn out & doubt start entering your thoughts, ask yourself some questions:
Do I believe God has called and or led me to this ministry?  To this position?

Do I trust God in my situation, especially when it’s hard? 

Am I having a positive effect on those I am ministering to?

It’s also extremely important to spend time with God daily. He is the source of all good things.  So it certainly makes sense to hang out with Him every day.  Get in His word, talk to Him, be honest with Him, and ask Him for wisdom & guidance. He’s our heavenly Father and He loves spending time with us.

Listen, none of us start out with all the gifts and talents we need.  You know what it takes to stay on a journey of improvement?  Books, studies, positive feedback, daily discipline, great mentors, seminars, & education.  Never stop growing!  If you don’t keep growing, chances are, you won’t last long.

Here’s a biggie.  FORGIVE.  Ouch! Look, hurts will come; conflict will rear its ugly head.  It is inevitable.  In ministry, you need to learn to forgive quickly and often. I think the best way to deal with conflict is to go to people directly.  You’d be surprised how many problems can be solved with one on one honest conversation.  And I am not saying forgiving is easy to do.  It’s not. But even when you don’t feel like it, forgive.  It’s really the only healthy way to keep moving forward. I just don’t think people will survive in ministry if forgiveness is not given.

Attitude you guys…and let me tell ya…I’m talking to myself here!!  I need an attitude check on a daily basis!!  Keeping the right attitude in life is HUGE.  You want to have the awesome confidence that comes with walking with Jesus.  But, you also need the humility that comes with knowing that any one of us can certainly fail, and fail big, at any time!!  Be humble. Be kind. Be accountable.

And can I say a big amen to building and having great teams?!! It’s okay to have help!  Why try and do something that’s a really big job by yourself? Out of great teams will grow great leaders! Leaders that God will use and send out!! In your ministry, you’re training people to go!!  Let people help you!

Last and very important:  RECHARGE
Listen ladies, it’s okay to take a day off.  To rest. To decompress. To recoup.  Life flies by way too fast. Spend time with friends and family. Have a short vaca…or a long one. Get together with your tribe. Who doesn’t love going to lunch and some shopping, or just hanging out and talking? It’s good for your soul. No one wants to be around someone that is burned out and grouchy!! Ha!

Seriously though, life is a marathon, but it’s not a sprint.  Ministry is the same.
Stay focused on your journey and you can’t go wrong!!

~Tracy

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