BY: JEN STEM
I sat alone in my car that Sunday morning, tears streaming down my face as I tried to pull the pieces of my life together before walking into church. I felt empty and had no idea how I was going to get through the day. How could God use me when I felt so far away from Him? How could He work through me when I had absolutely nothing to give?
Have you been there? You feel the pressure of ministry, yet you feel too far from God to deliver anything of worth. Can you really “minister” to people when you feel far from God? Can He really work through you when you feel empty?
When faced with times like this, the enemy wants to isolate us, weaken us, and make us feel like the biggest failure that has ever served God. However, everyone in ministry will at some point ask similar questions. When I have faced these moments personally, here’s how I’ve walked though them:
1. I evaluate my spiritual condition. If sin is part of the issue, then over time I will feel further away from God. I must get to the root of the issue and deal with the sin in my life immediately.
2. I reflect on whether I’ve been spending time in God’s presence. I must be honest with myself about the time I have spent seeking God. Have I been consistent in my devotional life?
3. I remind myself that feelings can’t always be trusted. I may feel far from God, but not actually be far from God. My feelings do not dictate my faith. God is often closer than I feel, and He doesn’t tell me to trust my feelings—He tells me to trust His truth and His faithfulness.
4. I fight the mind games. I know that my thought patterns can make or break me when I feel far from God. When this happens, I go immediately to two amazing books: Finding God When He Feels Far Away by Jeanne Mayo and The 4:8 Principle: The Secret to a Joy-Filled Life. Check them out!
5. I repeat the verse, “when I am weak, He is strong.” I can often minister from a place of strength and deliver something of myself to those around me with no problem. However, ministering from a place of weakness forces me to depend fully on God and step aside so He can minister instead of me.
6. I remember that, if God can speak through a donkey, He can speak through me too. This portion of Scripture found in Numbers 22 puts it all back into perspective. If He can speak through a donkey, He has the power to work miraculously through my life as well for His glory.
Have you shared some of these struggles? What helped you get through that time?
I’m in your corner and praying for God to minister to you and through you if you are currently struggling in this area. Feel free to add your thoughts below. From minister to minister, it’s so important to help, direct, and encourage one another through these tough times of ministry. No one is meant to do it alone!
Jen and her husband Jon currently serve as the Student Ministry Pastors of Refresh Student Ministry, just northeast of Tulsa. Jen is a Licensed Minister with the Assemblies of God and enjoys singing, drinking iced tea or coffee, and posting outrageous pictures of her cats, Lady and Oreo, on Instagram. You can also keep you with Jen's writing on her blog: StuMinWife|Stronger Together