Everyone in ministry faces times of trouble – their own “Dark Night of the Soul”. How do we continue to serve when walking through the valley of the shadow of death? Much like Jonathan Edwards, I have made a list of resolutions to strengthen my walk during the hard times:
▪ I resolve to build my faith by reading some simple Apologetics, and reminding myself regularly of the Gospel. I can’t lead other effectively if I don’t believe it, and I need to continue to grow in my faith, even in times of crisis.
▪ I resolves to regularly refocus and put things in perspective, give thanks for the little things, and remind myself both of what I deserve and what God has given me by grace. Not long ago, while crouching near the ground, a number of tiny ants caught my eye. Moving my face closer still, straining to see clearly, I noted that they zipped this way and that, looking as though the fate of the universe were in their hands. From what I could see, they accomplished nothing of note, but they were ridiculously busy-bodied. I heard God say, “Slow down. You’re just a human. Relax. I’ve got this.“
▪ I resolves to step back and note the goodness of God in others’ lives. I live too close to me – constantly in my skin – so I have no objectivity when looking at my own life, especially when things are rough. However, the Bible often refers to God as “the God of Jacob”, “the God of David”, “the God of Abraham” – each time the weight of each of those individual’s lives weighs in on our image of God. Often it’s helpful to look at someone around you who’s life is clearly being touched by God, and lean on that for hope. Sometime we’re just too close to ourselves to see well, so I may need to take a look around to see God’s hand.
▪ I resolve to live authentically, and if I can’t do that in my daily circle, to find someone I can be honest with outside of that circle. Our emotions exist for a purpose, but they shouldn’t be allowed to “lead the train” – they serve us, and are merely one part of who we are. One way we keep our hearts in check is to process with others.
▪ Though it sounds Sunday school, and trite, it is absolutely essential: I resolve to make daily quiet time – just for me and God, in His Word, in prayer – talking and listening. As simple as it sounds, this has done WORLDS for my wife and I in helping us to lean daily on God and not just freak out in the midst of stressful circumstances.
Shannon Lewis is “The Worship Community Guy“. Passionate about helping others respond to God, & training people who are passionate about the same, Shannon also blogs at SaintLewisMusic, where you can grab his free eBook, UNSEASONED: How to see Godly Growth in an Inexperienced Worship Team. His latest CD, Morning will Come released May 18th.