Hello from a very frigid Wisconsin! :D We are currently under a Wind Chill Warning for the possibility of it getting down to -45! Not the best weather around...lol...but we make do. :-P
This week's blog post is going to be quite different than the others. Up until now, I've been doing mostly training type blog posts. This week I have something to share from my heart.
Have you ever heard of "Ministering from your overflow"? You probably have, since I'm sure it's been around for a long time. This is a favorite reminder of mine, when it comes to ministry. I have taught on it, and always try to apply it to myself. This is for everyone, no matter in which ministry you work. So let's jump in....
Ministry is all about giving...giving of ourselves to whomever has a need. We give time, we give knowledge, we give energy, we counsel, we encourage, we teach, we train....
Sometimes it can seem never ending! Have you ever felt like saying, "Isn't it my turn to need something"? We probably all have come to that at some point during our ministry.
And what about "Ministry Burnout"? This term, or even just the words "I'm burnt out", have been thrown around for so long. To be honest, I struggle, when I hear someone say that because of two things...
#1) It sometimes appears to be used as an excuse.
#2) If you're burnt out with ministering, then you aren't doing it right.
OK, so I'm sure that sounds a little bit harsh! Let me just say that I realize there are times that "Burn out" is actually true and unavoidable. Things happen in your life; personally, physically, emotionally...yes, sometimes it DOES happen for real!
This post is more for those that could avoid it, but don't; and those that use burn out as a crutch...let's discuss how this happens.
Let's face it, life is difficult. And as I mentioned above, as ministers, we are always giving of ourselves to others. How do we manage to NOT get burnt out?
>>> We MUST minister from our OVERFLOW! <<<
Picture it....a vessel filled with water. You pour out a little to one cup, a little to another cup, and a little more to the next one, etc. etc. But, OH NO! Suddenly, you find your pot is empty! Now what can you do to help quench the thirst of all those left?
Sadly, this is the story of MANY ministers these days. You have poured yourself out so many times, that you have become dry and empty yourself.
So what should we do to eliminate this problem?
>>> Fill yourself up again! But not once you are empty...you must work to refill yourself EVERY time you pour out to someone in need. Every day for that matter...whether you are working with someone on a daily basis or not. <<<
Because YOU MUST MINISTER FROM YOUR OVERFLOW...not from what is left, or from the little bit you have. It MUST be your OVERFLOW! It is so important that as ministers we are so full of God's Spirit, that it simply overflows out of us. His anointing, His love, His grace, His wisdom, His knowledge...it must just spill out onto those around us! But how can it, if we are constantly depleting the little bit that we have?
Let's discuss HOW to fill yourself up again, so much so, that you have an overflow from which to minister...
First of all, there are the obvious ways to stay full of God's Spirit, so that you are ready to minister:
1. Bible Reading - really getting into God's Word, and applying it to yourself. Be a doer of the Word!
2. Prayer - spending time in the presence of Jesus, and letting Him minister to you and direct you.
3. Church attendance - not just when you are ministering, but when you are NOT ministering, so you have time to worship, sit under a Pastor, and be renewed.
Besides the 3 things above that are the MOST important ways to stay filled up with God's Spirit, let's discuss some other ways that I have found have REALLY helped me to not get burnt out.
Let me just insert that I have been in ministry for probably around 30 years...first as a young teenager, helping my parents, and then working in children's ministry on my own for the last 25 years. I don't remember ever saying that I am "burnt out" with my ministry. I know that there have been a few times that other things in life have made me feel overwhelmed with keeping up with everything...but burn out is completely different. And I know...I REALLY KNOW...that the only reason I have not become burnt out at some point or another, is because of these next things being added to the more important 3 above.
4. Personal time - it is IMPERATIVE that you take some time for yourself on a daily basis, if at possible. If daily isn't possible, then as much as you can. I love to read. And I don't mean reading informational, instructional, or self-help books. I enjoy reading fiction books (Christian fiction, of course!) And this is one way that I am able to unwind and just give my brain a break. If I am at home, I enjoy reading for a little during lunch time. If I'm not home, then before I go to bed is another option. I am naturally a "creative" person, so when I say my brain is continually going...yep...I'm serious! I mean, I get my best ideas at midnight when I'm trying to go to sleep! LOL. So by taking a little time to rest my brain and get my mind off work, I feel rejuvenated, and ready for the rest of the day...or night...or week...whichever it will be.
5. Hobby - Yes, I said a hobby! Now this can be absolutely anything you like to do: painting, coloring, sewing, crafting, fishing, hunting, kayaking, skiing, etc. Hobbies are not bad for you...as long as you don't allow them to control you! Let them be what they were created to be...something to help you relax, promote energy, joy, and enjoyment. Just let your hobby help you...NOT CONTROL YOU!
6. Taking a drive - Yeah, sounds maybe like something the elderly would like best. But my husband and I have always enjoyed looking at nature and different surroundings, even when we were young. LOL. Sometimes, when we are exhausted mentally, we enjoy just hopping in our vehicle and taking a little drive out into the country. Sometimes, we would park by a stream or pond, and read our books while we listen to the water and nature sounds.
Let me remind you...even Jesus went a little ways away to rest by Himself. It is needed! And no, it is NOT bad for you to take a break! Now on the other hand, if that's all you do, if you decide to take a "vacation" every time there's something special going on at church, or if you vacation every month...I'd say that's a little bit excessive.
If you are a department leader in your church, your Pastor needs you there!
If you are a saint in your church, your Pastor needs you there!
Don't plan a get-away, when you know there are usually special services that weekend or close at hand. Even your breaks and renewal times should be planned when you won't be ignoring your responsibilities at church and showing up in support of your Pastor.
There are so many different ways that we can help ourselves stay fit in our ministry. What are some things that you think would help you be renewed in the Spirit? Don't settle for using the words "burnt out"! Find ways that help refresh your mind, so you can be the most effective minister you can be. :D
Stay FULL of God's Spirit and His anointing, so you can Minister From Your Overflow!
That's all for today. I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday this week, and we'll talk to you again soon.
In His Service,
Sara Vojtasek & Joel's Vision Ministries
This week's product spotlight....
This small monster puppet would be a fun addition to your puppet inventory...or even as a stand alone puppet to help tell your Bible Story. :D
Check him out HERE!