January 28, 2019

Battling Loneliness in Ministry

Wes Sheley

In ministry, we often find ourselves in a place where we see a lot of eyes watching us. We start to feel like we live in a glass house. We have those in leadership over us watching what we do. We have those we minister to protecting us because they seek direction. When we have all those eyes on us, we often feel lonely and do not know how to deal with it. I have found myself saying, "It's just part of ministry." However, does it have to be that way? I want to give you three ways to help battle Loneliness in Ministry. Start SmallWe all need to find 3-5 people to go to and share what we are going through. These will be your confidants. We are blessed when we can identify these individuals in our lives. These people will be for you and will be with you no matter what. I am blessed to have some of these people in my life. I was just recently on a retreat and was able to share some things that only they could understand. I can't tell you how important and healthy it was to know that I have others willing to support me during this time in my life. Remember, these individuals will only sometimes give you the answers you want, and you may not like what they tell you, but you will know that they are looking out for you. So ask yourself, who are they in your life? If you don't have 3-5 individuals in your life, then I encourage you to pray that God will reveal these individuals in your life. We are better together.

Go Outside. We must find individuals outside our church/ministry to walk life with. We must also find someone besides our spouse and family to share things with. Don't get me wrong, these individuals are significant in our lives, and there are many things that we can share with them; however, we need to find those outside of the circle of ministry and situations we face to give us a clear outside perspective. These individuals could be our Network Leadership Team or another pastor at a church. It would help if you found a place where you don't have to be "on" and where you have it all together. Go back in time to some of them; the options aren't there. We may be starting in ministry or just moved to a new place and didn't know anyone. I found myself early in the church at this place, and I had to return to those that poured into my life growing up. I started to reach out to my old youth pastors and individuals that had considerable investments in my life growing up. One of my first phone calls was to one of my senior youth pastors, and my conversation started with, "I am SO sorry for what I put you through." We laughed, and then we could have an open dialog about things I was going through. He gave me some outside perspective, which saved me in ministry. Reach out and let these individuals once again speak into your life. After all, their wisdom helped you get where you are now. I have learned that God will always provide the right people at the right time to pour into our lives for that particular season we are walking through. I have had to learn to pick my head up and not look down. I constantly have to remind myself that God has brought me this far, and He will not let me go. My son's favorite verse, which he writes in his baseball caps, is Philippians 4:13. "I can do all this through him who gives me strength." Remember, you are not alone.

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