We all run into it at some point in ministry… discouragement. Sometimes it creeps in gradually and sometimes it hits us like a brick wall. It could be a particular situation that causes it, a season where things are tough, or it could come from nowhere. However, it is universal. Every person in kidmin will face discouragement in ministry. Here are ten ways fight to overcome discouragement.
1. Get back to the basics – It is quite common that my feelings of discouragement in ministry often come in seasons when I have neglected the basics in my relationship with God. If you are feeling discouraged, ask yourself how consistent your own walk with God is. Are you reading the Word? Are you praying? When is the last time you sat in big church for service?
2. Get Away – Not forever, you have to come back. But sometimes if you can just take a brief break you can regain perspective. Sometimes discouragement is a sign that you need rest. Honor that and take a break. Go to the beach. Go to the mountains. Go to Target. Go somewhere and don’t think about ministry for a little bit.
3. Get Friends – Often discouragement in ministry can cause us to feel very isolated and alone. Resist the urge to hide away. The more alone you are the more discouraged you will feel. Take a friend to lunch. Don’t have friends? (That’s probably part of your problem, by the way.) Get some! Figure out someone that you kinda like and reach out to them. Do something fun.
4. Get to tomorrow – When times are tough, this is the statement I say to myself, “Tomorrow will be better, if not it is a day closer to being better.” There are seasons in every ministry. Some are awesome, some not so much. The good thing about seasons is they come to an end. Hang in there.
5. Get Real – Not everything is bad. It may feel that way and there may be lots of bad things happening. But not everything is bad. Write down a list of the “wins”. Write down everything that you’ve seen God do in your life and in your ministry over the past six months. The reality is that God is faithful and is doing great things. Don’t let discouragement hide those from you.
6. Get organized – Sometimes our discouragement feels greater because our world feels like chaos. We are trying to juggle way too much and it is overwhelming. Take some time to organize yourself. Write down what has to be accomplished and prioritize them. Create timelines for completing projects. Don’t let the lists overwhelm you, either, but use them as tools to help you feel in control and to see light at the end of the tunnel.
7. Get perspective – There are a lot of things that are out of your control. Those things are often extremely discouraging. You’ve heard the serenity prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference” Acknowledge that you can’t control it all, but you serve the God who does. Let Him carry the stress.
8. Get past the past – Dwelling on past decisions, events, or mistakes will only increase our discouragement. You can not go backwards. Learn from the past, fix what you can, and then move forward to what God has next. Revisiting the past repeatedly rarely is healthy.
9. Get ice cream – Ice cream makes everything better. Really, it does.
10. Get on your face – God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. Isn’t this what we teach the kids? It is absolutely true for you too. God has called you to ministry. That is precious. Your calling is precious. Get on your face and cry out to God to heal your heart and to strengthen you for what He wants to accomplish.