DESTRESSING when life is DISTRESSING
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.
Addicted to Busy
Busyness Driven by Desire to Please God-
Years ago I discovered a tension in my life and ministry. Not a tension between other people, but a tension inside of me, the tension between being still and being busy. Maybe you have felt it also. Because of my desire to hear God’s “well done”, I found myself busy doing for God. I desired to see God glorified through me, so I did, and did, and did. I was addicted to busyness.
I would like to say that I was trusting God for the results (because I felt that I was), but my actions told a different story. One indicator of this was that I felt guilty when I would stop working. If I wasn't doing something, I felt I was being lazy, unproductive and unfruitful. So I would fill up every empty spot with something. You know the drill.
My life showed what I really believed: that doing was the most important thing. I was more dependent on my actions for results than on God. If I was truly dependent on God for the results, then I would have spent more time alone with Jesus, more time in prayer and less time worrying about details while trying to "look busy”.
Busyness Driven by Desire for Productive Ministry-
I also desired a productive ministry. I discovered that I felt productive when I was extremely busy. It felt like I was so important to the ministry that I couldn’t slow down. I was always doing something, surely all that activity was productive!