My husband and I were talking to a man who had pastored for many years. He said to us (my paraphrase),
“Ministry has a cumulative weight. You carry all that has come before.”
That resonated. We aren’t just carrying our to-do list for today, or our prayers in our hearts, or our concerns and worries, or our joys and celebrations of today. In ministry, we carry with us the pains of all of our ministry years, and also the experiences of our “highs” of “the good ole’ days.”
Though the pain is not as sharp, the most painful things ever spoken to us will probably never be erased from our hearts. The times when we felt most alive and vibrant with energy remind us today that we don’t feel that at the moment.
The more traumatic the experiences, the more we are likely to minister out of pain and protect ourselves with defense mechanisms that can keep people at a distance. They can also keep healing and freedom at a distance.
The more “mountain top experiences” we have had in the past, the stronger the temptation we have to compare the ordinary (yet beautiful) moments to those seasons.
There are times when our present is adversely affected by our past experiences. Spiritual trauma and abuse can be addressed through therapy or spiritual direction and in God’s healing can have much less of an impact on the ministry of today and the future.
We are carrying our ministry experiences. It has prepared us for the challenges and joys of today. Unfortunately, without healing and examination, it can hinder our connection with others and God. But do not let it get in the way of the precious encounters that are right now, and are in your future. Jesus intends our walk with him to be light, burden-free. The experiences that we have lived through will always be with us. Jesus wants to carry them with you.
Sometimes having another person walking with you is helpful. If you would like information on spiritual direction, I offer a free initial 30-minute spiritual direction session. You can click here for more information.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
May God bless you today by lightening your load.