How can I renew my strength?
If I am serving God, why am I so exhausted?
Last year in ministry we were pushed to our limits. Because of some leadership vacancies at the time, we took on extra roles to keep the MK school going. We were wearing too many hats and soon became exhausted and faced decision fatigue. There were also conflicts we were helping resolve which were draining. It was the perfect storm that could have easily led to burnout.
Thankfully, when we are pushed to our limits, it can force us to grow stronger and find ways to improve. Problems shatter false foundations and force us to build on better foundations. Problems are hard, but they help us grow.
To renew our strength, sometimes we need to do less. Sometimes we need to do things differently. Other times, we just need to change our mindset. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all, quick-fix, approach to solving problems. We have to evaluate ourselves and our problems to find the best solutions.
Evaluating myself and my problems has taught me a lot. The lessons I learned during those times are what this series is all about. 1 Corinthians 1:3,4 says that God comforts us: “so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” I pray that these foundations will both comfort and strengthen you as they have me!
This blog series started with a question:
How can I be more efficient and effective as a leader?
The answer was fivefold.
This post focuses on Strength Management: "Only when God’s power fills us can we minister in a way that brings about true spiritual change. We must stay connected to the source, the spring and fountain of life. As soon as we are cut off from the source of water, we run dry." - Overflowing
If we depend on our strength for results, then we will not be effective because in our strength we can accomplish nothing. If we draw our strength from the right source, it will form a strong foundation on which all the other areas build.
As we serve the Lord in ministry, we are going to face problems. Lots of them. Learning to destress is vital for our quality of life. However, there’s an even greater reason for learning to destress. When we face problems, others are watching. How we deal with stress either makes God look strong …or makes Him look weak.
When problems arise, my natural, emotional response is to worry. My tendency is to stress about how things are going to turn out. But what does this communicate about God? While I may be trusting Him with my eternal salvation, when I worry I am not trusting Him with my daily problems. When I worry and stress, I miss opportunities to glorify God.
Problems are opportunities to respond in faith or fear. Opportunities to worship or worry. If I respond in faith, it shows that God can be trusted because He is bigger than the problem. If I respond in fear or worry, it shows that God can’t be trusted because the problem is outside of God’s control or concern. My head may be trusting God, but when I worry my heart is not.
I have a lot of room for growth in this area, but here are a few things that God has challenged me with. I hope they are a blessing as you seek to become a servant after God’s own heart.
How do I know what to decide?
How do I know when to decide?
In life and ministry we often come to a crossroads where we must make a decision that will affect the rest of our lives. You know the kind. . . the ones that simultaneously fill you with excitement and fear. They are the ones that keep you awake at night analyzing every variable.
I have come to many crossroads where I faced life altering ministry decisions. “Should I go into missions?” “Which ministry?” “Should I change ministry/location?” “Should I have a tall or grande coffee?” (Just making sure you’re still with me.) Each of these decisions would affect the rest of my life and my family.
I wish there was a quick and easy formula to find God’s will, but there isn’t. It takes a lot of time in prayer.
However, I have found that I typically ask myself many questions before choosing a path. During our transition from Tanzania to Portugal, I wrote these questions down to help me with future decisions and to share with others.
These questions are not a formula to follow, but a path to follow day by day. Sometimes, it takes me weeks or months to work through them. They help me examine my heart to see if I am walking close to Jesus and being led by the Holy Spirit or if I am drifting. The order is not inspired, but I wait until I can answer “yes” on each question before proceeding with a ministry decision. Once I have answered “yes”, I act. It is too easy to hide behind unknowns. If I know what God has called me to do, I need to step out in faith and trust Him to work out the unknowns. If He planned the path, He also planned the details.
I hope these questions will be beneficial to you as you seek to follow God.