I had a tough month recently. I was super busy, anxious and a bit stressed. Many people close to me were dealing with health issues including my wife who was in the process of donating her kidney. I only see that now in retrospect. Thinking back on it now, I think I could have handled the month a bit better. The super busy months that make us anxious, are always inevitable. It will help to be better prepared for them.
Being in ministry is like nothing I ever imagined. The highs and lows can be daily. In one moment, a good friend of yours in getting married while in another, someone is diagnosed with cancer. People get new jobs, while others are losing their job. A child gets accepted to a great college, while another child drops out of school. Someone starts attending church every week, someone disappears. The highs and lows, they are never ending.
Over the years in ministry, and thinking back on this month of craziness that I just had, I have learned some valuable lessons. Here two things that can help you handle the ups and downs that come your way:
- THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP
Late in the month that I was stressed, I happened to be meeting with a couple of great guys during the week and I learned something very valuable. I NEEDED THEM. These meet ups weren't strategically planned but God worked it out. I needed the encouragement, love and genuine friendship they were showing me in that moment. It changed my perspective as I left each one of them. I felt better and better. Meeting with these friends during this crazy week taught me how much I need refreshment. That's what I received from them.
- THE POWER OF PRAISE
If you're like me, the negative can sometimes drown out the positive. The unanswered prayers can be more memorable than the answered ones. The cynicism can defeat the optimism. What I've learned from this personality trait of mine was perspective. As I really look at all that is going on, I learned to hold more tightly to the incredible amount of blessings, answered prayers and WINS in my life. Each week I get to be a part of life change in other's lives. I get to witness people accepting Jesus Christ into their lives and being forever different. I see a crowd of people making an effort each Sunday to 'do better'. I see 'up and to the right' in action each week. I see people coming into the church and leaving better. That's something to hold on to. That's something to celebrate! That's something to never forget.
So I ask you 2 questions:
- Do you have people around you that encourage and inspire you? Are there people who you meet with and you leave different? Better mood, better demeanor and better altogether?
- Do you see all that is good in this world, or are you holding on to all of the bad? Is your cup full or are you wondering if there even is a cup? Are you seeing all God has done or are you wondering if He is actually paying attention? Is your life full of prayer requests or praises? (I'm breathing this morning...praise God!)
Our life has everything to do with who we are hanging out with and our perspective. Grab hold of some really good friends who, when you meet with them, you always leave better. Grab hold of a perspective of gratitude. Praise God for the easily overlooked things like living in America, good health, and your family and even the small things like "Thank you Lord that I woke up this morning."