I have talked to several people recently who are in similar places. Here is the gist of what they have said to me:
- I just don't want to do this anymore.
- Why is it so hard?
- I just want out.
Pastors get to this place not out of the work they do or the schedule they keep. They get to this place because they when their best effort is met with intense criticism. And this leads to a low supply of hope. Sometimes these words come, not from genuinely wanting out of ministry, but after a time of scrutiny, challenging circumstances, and fatigue.
It's in these times that we need perspective and strength.
We need perspective about 1. who God is 2. who we are 3. what God has called us to and 4. how can we get to a stronger place.
I came across this verse this morning:
Nehemiah 6:9 (NIV)
They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.”
But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”
Here is my prayer for those who are tired and want to continue on but don't know how.
Now strengthen our hands, Lord.
Now strengthen the work of our hands, Lord.
That your name may be lifted up.
That people may come to know you.
That justice will flow through the streets.
That mercy will be extended to the needy.
That the weak may be protected.
That the fatherless will find homes.
That the broken will be restored.
That your kingdom may reign.
This work you gave us,
this work you gave us matters.
Yes, Lord, now strengthen my hands.
There are many Christian counselors, mentors, long-time pastors, and spiritual directors who are available to walk with you. Tree by Water is one of those places.
May God's peace and strength be with you.
p.s. I would love to hear from you. You can post anonymously if you wish. Maybe you could share how you respond in moments that you feel these things? What helps you?