When it comes to ministry, we have a tendency to want to take the credit for our success. We’re proud of what we’ve done and the number of people who have come to know the Lord or the amount of people who have been positively impacted by our work.
The temptation is real, but it’s also dangerous because taking on an attitude that doesn’t see God as central to your ministry, can quickly lead you down a path where you’ll end up failing.
Slow down. See God.
Notice his sovereignty in all you do.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned over my 15 years of serving the Lord is knowing that ministry can be very fulfilling but also easy to get sidetracked with other things and miss what God is doing in and through our life.
Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.
He will show up and do what you can’t. Here is a list of 5 reminders to keep you grounded when you get ahead of yourself.
1. Be Intentional About Taking Breaks
Taking breaks is important. There are many different kinds of breaks, but I am talking about the ones that will help you feel refreshed and renewed. Breaks for rest, time with family or even a brisk walk for fresh air can calm your spirit and draw you nearer to God.
It might seem like a good idea to stay busy and get a lot done, but in the end you run the risk of burnout. If you’re not intentional about taking breaks, then it is likely that your break time will come all at once with everything crashing down. Be intentional about setting boundaries for yourself so that your ministry and ambitions don’t run you over.
2. Express Your Gratitude, Openly and Often
Expressing gratitude is one of the easiest ways to shift your focus away from yourself and onto others. When you openly tell someone you’re thankful for them or what they do it blesses them and also reminds you of all the people in your life that have been a blessing to you.
It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness and forget that there are people around you whom you need to appreciate. From time-to-time, stop what you’re doing and take a minute just for yourself (even if it is only a few seconds) to express gratitude towards God or others in your life.
3. Practice Self-Care
This is often overlooked but one of the best ways to lower stress levels is through self care. This can be anything from eating healthy, getting enough sleep or even making time for personal hobbies like reading or arts and crafts.
I have come to the realization that I am not in charge of most outcomes, but only the process.
In the past, I would get frustrated when things did not go my way or according to plan. Now I know that if God wants something different he will change what is happening and it doesn’t need to affect me negatively.
Slow down and recognize God’s handiwork. You will experience a peace beyond measure and outside of your ego.
4. Pray Feverishly to Connect with God
The best way to combat ego is through prayer. Praying can lead you back to focus on the work of Christ and away from your own self-indulgence.
When you pray, your selfish ambitions may whisper to your heart and tell you that the praise from your work is well deserved. However, a prayerful heart will turn you back to the Lord and remind you to recognize who is truly in charge.
5. Keep a Journal
Journaling can help you reflect on what God has done for you, how he’s changed your life and remind you of how blessed you are to have been chosen to do his work.
Journaling is a way to make time for yourself and spend it with God. It can also help you see the progress in your ministry, what needs to be changed or improved and how you need to change course if necessary. Keeping a rolling record of how you’ve served God and the people he’s given to you is a way of honoring him.
Journaling can also help you realize that we’re not in control and it will keep you humble when things don’t go your way.
When all is said and done, the most important thing to remember is that we’re all here for a purpose and our ministry success depends on how well we are able to serve God and those around us.
We need to take time out of our busy schedule to breathe so we can recognize God’s handiwork in what he has called us to do.
In the end, God is in charge. We can’t control everything but we know who does. When we take time for ourselves and connect with God on a regular basis, things change.