When I gave my life to Jesus twelve years ago I knew I wanted to serve him with no reservations. Soon I became involved in youth ministries as my desire to know Jesus grew daily. As I was getting prepared to pursue biblical studies my youth pastor at that time said a few words that struck me and left me wondering, "In ministry you will feel alone. Perhaps, you don't understand it now but you will." At that moment, nothing made sense. I was surrounded by a great team that loved Jesus, a supportive family, and a flourishing ministry. Yet, I was young and inexperienced. As I continued learning and growing in my leadership role, I met face to face with loneliness.
Ministry can be tiresome, lonely, and overwhelming. The people that you love most end up hurting you at times. The passion that you once had dies slowly. As much as you try to cast vision, sometimes it seems like no one understands or has the same care that you have. You are left feeling lonely! Loneliness then takes you to a dark place of confusion. Your thoughts start filling up with fear, insecurity, and perhaps doubt of your own calling. You begin questioning your efforts and begin focusing on your inabilities and incompetence. Soon you find yourself dry and weary, believing every lie that the enemy has used through loneliness.
Last year in September, I was going through a challenging time when my mother's and nephew's health was at stake. Unexpectedly, they both ended up in the hospital. While managing a job, school, ministry, marriage, and life¾I felt so overwhelmed and alone. One day at church, a good friend of mine approached me and looked straight into my eyes and said, "You are not alone." Her words unparalyzed me. Once again, I saw a glimpse of hope as my tears starting running down my cheeks. If this is you today, I have great news for you. You are not alone. God is with you and will never leave you or forsake you. Ministry is challenging but not impossible. The Holy Spirit give us the strength to press on. You will have days where things are thriving, then other days you will feel stuck, discouraged, and lonely. Nonetheless, ministry is the most rewarding calling! So here are a few things to keep in mind:
Healthy leaders need to practice self-awareness. Having self-awareness will allow you to keep growing, learning, and changing in the areas that need improvement. Self-awareness will allow you to reach out to God and others for help when you are experiencing loneliness and discouragement.
Healthy leaders have truth tellers. We cannot do life alone. Not only do we need people that will celebrate with us when things are going well, but also, we need those who will call us out when we are blinded from our own flaws.
God will never forsake you! Surrender every emotion, cast out all of thoughts and anxieties to God because he cares. Allow God's love to embrace you and for his thoughts become your thoughts.
Remember you are not alone! God’s grace is sufficient!
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand" Isaiah 41:10