Note before you read: In my writing and speaking in this ministry I risk offending and hurting some from the journey I have walked. Although I will always seek to conceal the identity of others I write about, there will inevitably be people who were there when these things occurred. I would never want to wound anyone. There are benefits of openness, honesty, and vulnerability. But sometimes there is the risk that exposing the truth will wound others. I have the firm belief that the truth frees people, and I hope that by speaking of such things that it prevents hurt for the readers and those we minister to in their future.
Moses cracks me up. What he says in Numbers 11 is kind of whiny. I am sure it wasn’t funny to him at the time, but it makes me crack up (maybe because I have found myself saying the same thing).
"I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me."
It’s a good thing we have Jesus’ words to clearly spell it out to us that we NEVER, EVER, NEVER, EVER, EEEEEVVVVVVVEEEEEEERRRR have to carry the people we serve. We really are to do the best we can, with the gifts we have, with the resources (people in our sphere of influence, financial, spiritual) that God has given us. And… then we give them to God.
I am guessing you have prayed a prayer like this: “God, they are yours” (As you take your arms and sling them up to God as if you are throwing them as fast as a hot potato).
I think I have done this is marriage, parenting, and in ministry.
Going back to Part 1: “What Are You Carrying?” to what a seasoned pastor said:
“Ministry has a cumulative weight. You carry all that has come before.”
My husband, Adam, and I have been in over-ou- heads more times than I can count.
Here are just a few of the things that we have lived through in ministry:
- In each of the 4 churches we ministered, we followed pastors and/or individuals who had an affair or addiction to pornography. Yes, all 4. It really is so sad. (To clarify and reduce speculation, I want to add that these individuals do not work at those churches anymore).
- Huge learning curves at fast-paced environments.
- Getting to know a vast number of people in a short amount of time.
- Adjusting to completely different cultures: California, Ohio, Florida, and Wisconsin. How different could those 4 be?!?
- Multi-million dollar lawsuit. That’s all I will say about that.
- Ethical, legal, and spiritual dilemmas that involved many people’s advice and much prayer. One example was when we had to call Children Protective Services while we were in youth ministry. It became a scary situation when the irate parent found out who had reported.
- We all know the daily, weekly, and seasonal challenges of busyness, events, and the constant incredible challenge of doing things we are not comfortable or good at.
- And currently, a capital campaign and building expansion. Whew. It’s pretty stressful around here.
If you never have, it may be valuable to write in your journal or talk over with a friend all of the weight, pain, circumstances that you have walked through. You may just find a little more compassion on yourself as well as an appreciation for all that God has brought you through.
Does that quote resonate with you? Do you feel to some degree that you are still carrying the cumulative weight of your journey?
If you feel that prayerfully talking with someone would be helpful, you can set up a free 30-minute spiritual direction session by reaching out to Laura.
May you go throughout your day and this week feeling the freedom of casting your burdens on Jesus.