Remember those great Southwest Airlines commercials? “Want to get away? This one was my favorite.
As a pastor I’ve had many days when I “wanted to get away.” I remember being cussed out by a woman in our community because I wouldn’t give her $40. “I thought you were a man of God. I thought your church was here to help people. You are nothing but a #$%&@*!”
That day is etched into my memory, but the truth is, that moment was far less hurtful than the pain I have experienced from those within the church community.
I know you have experienced this too.
What do you do when you want to get away?
Well, maybe you should get away! I’m not suggesting you quit your job, but maybe you need some space and margin to rest and recover. Remember, even Jesus needed this! J
Have you been consistent with a weekly Sabbath? When was the last time you went on a date night? Had a weekend away? Went on a vacation?
But what do you do when this “getting away” feeling persists? What do you do when you really do want to quit? Here are some things to remember:
1. Remember all that God has done in this current ministry context.
Make a list. Count your blessings. Reflect on lives that have been changed, ministries that have made a difference, and needs that have been met.
2. Remember that the grass is not greener somewhere else. It is greener wherever you water it (Rick Warren).
It’s easy to fantasize that life and ministry would be less stressful somewhere else, but you and I know that every ministry carries its own stress.
3. Remember challenging situations (and seasons) come and go.
You have had better and more fruitful times in ministry, and there are more to come.
4. Remember to manage your stress levels.
Pay attention to the amount of stress you are experiencing. Make sure you are taking care of yourself. What recharges your batteries? Exercise? A day off? Time with friends? Quiet places? Reading?
5. Remember it is not wise to make important decisions when you are feeling down.
I know pastors who have resigned during a stressful season of ministry, only to regret the decision later.
6. Remember you are responsible for your faithfulness. God is responsible for everything else.
I am responsible for my obedience and my work ethic. God is responsible for changing hearts, lives, and communities.
7. Remember you are not alone.
Spending time with Jesus always refreshes your spirit. He is with you and has promised to never leave you. And…remember there are other pastors in your area who are going through the same types of things. Be courageous and invite one of them to coffee. We need each other.
In Psalm 55:6-8 King David had that “get away” feeling. He wrote, “I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. I would flee far away and stay in the desert; I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.”
I have felt this way many times!
Thankfully later in the chapter David recovers and reminds himself, “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”
Question: What recharges your batteries? What has helped you in those moments of wanting to give up? Share your answer on Facebook.
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Hi! I'm Loren Hicks. I am follower of Jesus, a husband, a father, a friend, and for the past
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