Originally published Wednesday, 15 September 2021.
Ministry Leaders Worn Out and Weary
I bumped into a friend a few weeks ago, and she asked how I was doing. My response was, “I’m tired.” We chatted for a while, and I began to think and pondered over how many times I had responded with that same answer over the previous months. How many times have I thought about my exhaustion over the years? Often, I jokingly say that I haven’t slept in twenty years and hadn’t truly rested since I had kids. Although it is a joke, there is some truth to the weariness we can fall under as ministry leaders.
Ministry is different from anything else you will ever do. You cannot compare it to working a 9:00 to 5:00 job. Many of you still do that in addition to leading your ministry, bathing the kids, balancing family tasks, and doing homework with the kids. Ministry is, by far, my most demanding task, and there is a big reason for that. Satan wants to make you quit. When you move from being just a quiet Christian to being a Kingdom warrior, Satan gets scared. When you decide that you will impact single mom's lives for Christ, Satan gets it. He understands that you are serious, and he will do anything in his power to stop you. That means, when the kids make a mess in their bedrooms, it irks you just a little more than it used to. When your co-worker responds with an attitude, you are just a little more bent out of shape. Everything just seems harder and heavier than it did before you got into ministry.
Many people will simply quit when Satan puts the pressure on. Why do you think so many pastors quit after twenty years? There have been several studies, and a surmountable amount of research conducted focused on pastors and the weights they carry. You are pastoring! You may not be doing it with the formality of title or behind a pulpit, but make no mistake, it is important work.
My best advice? Rest! Rest well and rest often. Put up boundaries with the moms you serve and make them adhere to them. Do not allow them to call you at all hours of the night. Do not internalize a passing criticism as eternal truth. Protect your physical, mental, and spiritual being; do not take on their problems as if they are yours. And yes, I will say it again, REST.
One of my many favorite scriptures are:
God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it. So, let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall.” Hebrews 4:1, 9
God wants you to REST! He wants you to be refilled through prayer, worship music, healthy boundaries, quiet walks, sabbaticals, and then…when rested, get back up, pick up your sword and fight on!
Photo Credit: © Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich from Pexels
Jennifer Maggio is a national voice for single mothers and hurting women. Her personal story has been featured in hundreds of media venues, including The New York Times, Daystar Television, The 700 Club, and many others. She is CEO/Founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries, a national nonprofit that works with churches to develop single mom’s programs and currently serves more than 1,500 churches.
The Life of a Single Mom has served 406,000 single mothers over the last decade and counting. Maggio is an author of several books, including The Church and the Single Mom. For more information, visit www.jennifermaggio.com.
Jennifer Maggio is a mom to three, wife to Jeff, and founder of the national nonprofit, The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She is author to four books, including The Church and the Single Mom. She was named one of the Top 10 Most Influential People in America by Dr. John Maxwell in 2017 and 2015 and has appeared in hundreds of media venues, including The New York Times, Family Talk Radio with Dr. James Dobson, Joni and Friends, and many others.