Wow. Disillusionment – it is pretty easy in ministry to get disillusioned. Thinking, ‘what is the point?’; people don’t ‘get you’ they don’t understand your approach to ministry, life, youth work – you feel like you are banging your head against a brick wall. You keep finding that the same issues occur again and again. ‘Are we learning anything?’ Wow – it would be easy just to say – stuff it.
Don’t give in.
Three thoughts that have helped me:
1. Be a thermostat rather than a thermometer. It is pretty easy to get swayed by what others think or say, we can loose conviction if we find we keep getting knocked back or stuff we try either isn’t supported or it doesn’t seem to work. Well, it’s a choice how we react to that stuff – and, it is a choice how we choose to begin conversations or projects. We can be a thermometer – just take the temperature, see what happens, ask ‘do others seem up for this or not?’ OR we can be a thermostat and set the temperature, hold to our core values, choose to focus on our passion, vision and our faith in what God has called us to. Don’t let others determine the level of your passion or commitment!
2. Don’t take knocks or set backs or misunderstandings personally. Easier said than done. But, we must separate ‘who we are’ from what people think and say about ‘the things we do’. Often, I have found – even with some unjustified comments or reflections about what I am doing that I can find something in what is being said to work with. I can only do this by not taking it personally (even if the knock backs appear to be personal attacks!). It is hard and I don’t always do it – I can fly off the handle or I can get a right sulk on! However, if I take time to look at things objectively, moving myself and who I am away from the scene, putting myself in the shoes of another, I can sift what is being said and where it is coming from much better – and, often when I do that (and it is a choice not to wallow) there is often something that I need to think through. As a bloke, I often find pride at work, I don’t like to be wrong, I don’t like I appear inadequate – but, at these times I new to Remember John 3:30, ‘He must increase I must decrease’.
3. God is sovereign. Yes, he is – I know this, but so often in the midst of life and strife I can forget the bigger picture, one particular detail of a conversation might derail my attitude, one person might get my back up, one person might too me over the edge by their unhelpful, ill times comment . . . But one person is always faithful, never fails and – as I seek to serve others in his name, he also has my back. I need to trust that the ‘Lord is my shepherd’.
So, I don’t know if any on those help you right now. I needed to write these to remind myself about not letting disillusionment take hold – its been one of those days!
Keep going. Don’t give in to disillusionment. Know you are loved and valued, as I am – more than you (or I) can imagine.