In ministry you will have hard days, weeks, months, and even years. There will be times you will want to quit. Times when you feel like you’re not making a difference. Times of frustration, pain, and sadness. It’s inevitable. So, you better discover some ways to stay positive and get through those hard times. In this post I share ten ways you can stay positive, and in my next post, I’ll share ten more. I hope these ideas will get you through because we need you in the fight.
- Remember what God has done. I tell church leaders regularly not to hold on to the past, but remembering the past can be helpful during hard times. On days when you think you’re not making a difference, think back on the victories God has already given you.
- Get away from negativity. That means normally getting outside of the church, away from social media, and sometimes not answering the phone. Don’t give time to those who are going to drain you, at least not until you’re healthy again.
- Do spend time with those who encourage you. When I get down it’s natural for me to isolate myself. This isn’t healthy. Instead, make an appointment with someone who always encourages you. This could be your spouse, a friend, or another pastor.
- Read old thank you cards. I have three or four thank you cards sitting around my office at all times. I’ve also started keeping a folder of cards and notes that have been given to me throughout the years. When times get hard, it helps to pick a few up and read them.
- Lower your expectations. Goals and expectations are great until they become a source of discouragement. A wise pastor once told me, “If you’re having trouble meeting expectations, lower them.” Stop beating yourself up for not meeting your goals. It’s not helpful.
- Clean your office. I need to make a confession. My office is currently a mess. It needs to be cleaned and organized because when it isn’t it causes stress. Cleaning your office will make you feel better, and it’s one thing you can control when the rest of your life seems to be going out of control.
- Start a new project. There’s always something exciting about starting something new. This could be a new sermon series, a new small group idea, or even a new diet. Just make sure you’re getting your other work done as well.
- Go do something active. Don’t sit around and be miserable. Go for a walk in the park, jump on a bike, or hit the gym. There’s something about getting moving that eases stress and worry.
- Take a nap. Do you ever wake up in a bad mood? This happens to me sometimes, normally after a church event that didn’t go quite as planned. Instead of dwelling on it all day, give yourself permission to take a nap. Hopefully, you’ll wake up refreshed and in a better mood.
- Read a book. The Bible is great to read, but in certain seasons it may not be the best medicine. Perhaps try something different, like a biography of someone you admire or a work of fiction that will get your mind off of ministry.
I hope some of these ideas will help, and don’t forget we have ten more ideas coming at you in my next post. Make sure you don’t miss it by subscribing to the blog, and share your own thoughts and ideas in the comments below.