I have been in one of those seasons of life where I’ve wanted to just give up. Have you ever been there? I committed to the Lord to make this year my most purposeful year ever. Sisters, I did not realize how hard that would be. Recently, I celebrated my 40th birthday. So naturally, I began doing a lot of introspection and self-reflection. One of the questions I often ask myself is where do I want to be when I am 80 years old? To be honest, this question has been a bit overwhelming. I tend to be overly critical of myself, and I thought I would be further along by now. After all, I am 40 now. Shouldn’t I be halfway to my destination?
What I imagined my life to look like and what it actually does look like are two different things. Please don’t misunderstand me; I love the life God has given me. God has trusted me with an incredible husband, four amazing kids, one energetic puppy, and two church plants. What I didn’t expect was how difficult it would be to steward these glorious gifts. Some days, I feel like I am orchestrating this beautiful musical called life, but other days I feel like a complete failure. There have been good times and bad times, highs and lows, but God has been faithful through it all. Though the temptation to quit is there, the desire to fulfill my assignment and please my Heavenly Father far outweighs taking the easy way out.
Maybe you have wanted to throw in the towel in too. Friend, if so, you are not alone. Little by little you can accomplish the purpose God placed on your life. Following God’s will for our lives is not easy; however, our current sufferings and setbacks will be worth it in the end, if we don’t give up.
When life is hard and you want to quit do these three things instead:
- Take care of yourself, so you will not Burnout.
I can’t overemphasize that burnout in ministry is real. The hours are long and the emotional strain is tremendous. Dealing with people’s issues can be messy. Burnout is not what God desires for His people. The Lord once showed me if I will be faithful to actually rest, then I will not burn out. We can avoid burnout, but it will take intentionality. To do this, we must set boundaries, honor the Sabbath, and focus on our own spiritual wellbeing. We must take care of ourselves physically and emotionally so that we stay healthy, and then we can minister to others. Think about it, when we are at our best, isn’t it much easier to bless those around us?
- Reach out to a trusted person when you are struggling.
Recently, our denominational leader shared an article about a successful young pastor who committed suicide. This article was eye opening and heartbreaking at the same time. A lot of times when pastors or leaders in the church struggle they feel like they have no one to talk to, therefore they suffer by themselves. Pastors are human and need friends too. People of God we have got to do better. My fellow ministers, we need to reach out to other pastors and leaders. Go to therapy. Go for a walk with a friend. Get coffee with a coworker. Pray with another pastor. Do whatever it takes to reach out to a trusted person when you need to. Everyone needs a Barnabas in their life, someone who will encourage you to move forward. Whatever you do, don’t suffer by yourself.
- Find your Identity in Christ and not in what you do.
I decided to break out of my identity box and go into the unknown by faith one step at a time. For nearly two decades, my husband and I have ministered in urban missions and loved it. Then God asked us to step out and start a new campus in a suburban area. When I first received the call, I thought maybe I was going through a midlife crisis. My identity lies in being a child of God, yet somehow I made it more about what I was doing for God instead of who I am in God. Many Christian leaders can confuse their assignment with their identity and I was no exception. God oftentimes will change our assignment, but our identity in Him never changes.
So if you too have had one of those months or years where you have wanted to throw your hands up and quit it all, ask the Lord to give you some needed grit. Then make a holy determination with me that you will not give up until the Lord tells you your assignment is completed.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 NIV