Ministry is not enough
A few years ago I set out to lose some weight. I set healthy goals and established some healthy disciplines. Through hard work and determination, I lost about 15 pounds. That was my goal. I should have celebrated and been content with the results. I was not. Two more pounds would get me into the next tens number. I can do that. Once I did that, I thought, only five more pounds will get me to a number I haven’t seen since before I had kids. If I get there, I will be happy. I wasn’t. How many of you can relate?
We have goals and dreams for our lives and for our ministry. They are good and push us to work hard to achieve greatness. But sometimes we think we will only be happy and whole when we accomplish them. Recently my husband was talking with a colleague. She told my husband how she worked hard through seminary so she could get a position as a pastor in a church. When she became a pastor she started to dream of a position in their regional leadership. She knew what she wanted and worked hard to achieve it. Pretty soon she was hired for her dream job. Not far in she realized the role was not all that she expected and anticipated. It came with many other challenges. She started to think of her next steps.
I can relate to this story. A few years ago when my husband was a campus pastor at a large church, I felt burdened to pray for the other pastors’ wives. It was just something I did on my own. I had a heart for them because I knew how isolating ministry could be. I would email someone different each week and pray. For a long time, I dreamed of a bigger ministry to women in ministry. I told my husband that sending emails was not enough. I needed a website so women could send in anonymous prayer requests. I just wanted to pray for people. So with some help, I started a website. It is a beautiful site.
Soon after that, I began blogging as therapy for myself. I thought that if I could share the blog with people and speak the truth about ministry while loving it, then I could help women. So I started social media pages and started posting. The responses have been so positive. But I am only one voice. I know youth ministry and being a campus pastor’s wife. So many women have such great wisdom and experience to share in other ministry roles. I need to get their voices out! So I started a podcast.
Here I sit, still knowing that it is not enough. Nothing satisfies me. Every time I get to the next goal, another one pops up. I never have that moment where I feel like I have succeeded, or that my ministry is going well. I keep thinking “when I get this, I will feel good about myself and this ministry.”
My ministry will never satisfy me. I used to think that it would. I came to the point where I know that Joy For Ministry could be taken away tomorrow and I will be ok with that. Why is that? Because God comes before my ministry. I seek Him first. I pursue growing in Him, hearing from Him, and loving Him before all else. I don’t seek Him so that I can have content and wisdom for others. I seek Him for myself. Everything else flows out of that.
I want to quit my jobs and just work on the podcasts, blogs, and all things ministry related. I want to be there more for my kids and present in my home. But I don't believe that is what is going to make me content. If that is not what God has for me then I believe that I am in the best place for me right now. I want more for my ministry. But more than that, I just want more of Him. My ministry will never satisfy my soul as He does. I love doing it. I want to grow it. I have goals. But I want to want Him more than I want anything else.
Don’t put your ministry goals above your growth in God goals. If you do that you will never do enough, you will never be enough, and you will always feel a bit empty. Strive for more. Work harder. But know that can never be enough because once you achieve that it will not fill you as He does.
When I am seeking God first, it brings life to everything in my life. I don’t get to that point where I feel like He is not as gratifying as I thought. Only two more pounds. Only 100 more in attendance. Only 20 more people listening to my podcast. Then I will feel good. I will never say that about seeking God first.
"Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward."