“We are troubled on every side…”
2 Corinthians 4:8 (KJV)
Pressure and Trouble calls for Self-Care
Any person who works in a helping profession is in danger. Paul put it his way in 2 Corinthians 4:8: “We are pressured in every way…” (HCSB). The King James words it, “We are troubled on every side.” Pressured and troubled. If the ministry you are in feels like pressure and trouble, then hear Jesus say to you the same words he said to the disciples in Mark 6:31, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” Jesus knew it was time for His disciples to practice some self-care.
Being target practice calls for Self-Care
Unfortunately, pressure and trouble isn’t all there is to ministry. There is an even dark danger – one we can’t see, but we can feel. When we say “yes” to God’s call for some type of ministry, you can bet that there instantly appears an invisible target that we wear 24/7 and we become target practice for Satan. Satan is constantly throwing flaming arrows (Ephesians 6:16) at us with the sole purpose of either destroying the ministry we have surrendered to, or to tarnish it, or to get us so discouraged that we wave the white flag of surrender and walk away, defeated. Therefore, those of us in helping professions need to know what self-care is and how to practice self-care every day.
What is a helping profession?
A helping profession is any profession that nurtures the physical, psychological, intellectual, emotional or spiritual well-being of the people they are helping. These professions include medical personnel, psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, counselors, social workers, teachers, life coaches, mentors, and those of us in ministry. It is any profession that helps other people throughout the various stages and circumstances of life. When we surrender to the ministry that God has called us to, we have said “yes” to helping others.
Just because we tie it up with a pretty bow of “a calling from God,” does not mean we are excluded from the dangers that come with helping others. People in ministry empathize with the hurting. Sometimes they experience secondary trauma as they listen and counsel the people to whom they are ministering. There are overwhelming demands on their time, emotions, and energy. They endure malicious intentions and hurtful accusations. It takes a toll on their well-being, relationships, and ministry. Self-care in ministry helps us navigate life with others while keeping ourselves anchored in Christ as we draw our strength from Him.
Doing Ministry on Empty Tanks
Often, people in ministry serve and give until they have nothing left to give. At that point, they either give up or keep on in the ministry but operating on empty tanks and therefore have become less effective. They lose sight of the passion, the purpose, and the call that God gave them. They go through the motions of ministry without the real joy of serving Christ. Doing ministry on empty tanks is much like this cartoon my daughter drew for me.
Satan wants us down for the count, sitting on the sidelines, defeated, discouraged, exhausted, and dreading stepping up to the plate of ministry. And he will do anything he can to keep us down.
Satan wants people that serve in ministry down for the count, sitting on the sidelines, defeated, discouraged, exhausted, and dreading stepping up to the plate of ministry. And he will do anything he can to keep us down. — Julia BruceTweet
Where Satan’s attacks come from
The dangers people in ministry face are daily and they come at us from all directions and from all kinds of sources, just as Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:8. The biggest danger comes from the attacks that Satan hurls our way and often those are manifested through the very people to whom we are ministering.
These attacks comes through the people who are never happy no matter what we do. It comes through those who make accusations (truth or lies). It comes through attacks on your emotional well-being. Satan can attack in our physical well-being, emotional well-being, and mental well-being. It comes through attacks on our faith when Satan tries to get us to doubt the call we receive from God.
Sometimes what we face is God testing us, growing us, and preparing us for the next step of our journey as we go through trials. However, during the trial, we feel the effects just as much. Sometimes ministry just feels like one battle after another.
What do we do? We follow Jesus’ instructions for self-care
Perhaps you’re new to ministry and wonder how anyone in ministry can feel like this – just wait – it will come. However, Jesus told us what to do so that we can take care of ourselves and continue ministering – not out of responsibility and dread, but out of anticipation and joy.
After sending the disciples out to do ministry in Jesus’ name, they were excited over the miracles they had done. Yet, they had been so busy they hadn’t even had to time to eat. Listen to what Jesus said to them in Mark 6: 31.
Jesus understands. He knows we need to rest, renew, and recharge. If we are going to effectively care for and minister to the people God places in our paths, we need to be sure we are taking care of ourselves spiritually, physically, emotionally, intellectually, sensory, and socially. To be fully charged and ready to face whatever Satan throws our way, each of these areas of our lives needs to operating on full tanks. So be sure that you are taking the time to self-care before you “other-care.”
If we are going to effectively care for and minister to the people God places in our paths, we need to be sure we are taking care of ourselves spiritually, physically, emotionally, intellectually, sensory, and socially. — Julia BruceTweet
© by Julia M. Bruce
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