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Self-Care Part 1: The Dangers of Ministry

By: Julia M. Bruce, MSPC

arrows at man with bible

 “We are troubled on every side…”
                                    2 Corinthians 4:8 (KJV)

Any person who works in a helping profession is in danger. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:8, “We are pressured in every way…” (HCSB). When we say “yes” to God’s call for some type of ministry, you can bet that there instantly becomes an invisible target that we wear 24/7. A target that Satan is constantly throwing flaming arrows (Ephesians 6:16) at 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 walk away, defeated.

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.

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. 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. It takes a toll on their well-being, relationships, and ministry.

The dangers the 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. It 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. It comes through attacks in our physical 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 feels like just one battle after another.


Come back on Thursday, September 20th, for part 2 of the Self-Care series.
Part 2: Ministry is a Battlefield

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