Monday, August 16, 2010

Soul Survivors: For those in Ministry....

Seven years ago, I was training for my second Columbus Marathon. We were "pre-kid" and completely engulfed in youth ministry at our church. We laugh that we started our marriage with 13 teenagers; our second week of our honeymoon was taking them to church camp! We have always had a heart for children and teenagers to know Jesus. I will never forget that fall and how overwhelming the needs of people were to me and to Kurt. I ran tons of miles trying to process and deal with the stress. Kurt worked a ton of hours. I will never forget the toll it took on us. We learned a lot through that time about surviving stressful times in ministry, marriage, and life in general. I suspect, now 7 years later, that here are always seasons like that and I want to learn and remember those precious and hard-earned life lessons.

1. Take good care of yourself and your spouse and children. Eat healthy, sleep plenty, and exercise (I run but that is not for everyone as much as I hate to admit that). Even Jesus took time away from the needs of the masses to pray and rest. I love that He slept on a boat through terrifying storms! I think He was probably tired.

2. Understand that overwhelming needs will always exist. Jesus allowed need to continue. Apparently, being in need is not always a bad thing.  He uses it to accomplish His purpose. Thus, it is completely justified to unplug the phone and computer during seasons of stress. People will be fine without you for a while!

3. Focus on Jesus and Scripture. So simple, yet so difficult. To be in the Word helps so much during seasons of stress. I love to read Scripture and think and pray on long, long runs. Amazing what God puts on my heart when the rest of my defenses and distractions are gone.

4. Enjoy God's creation. Spending time outside has been healing for our family. Being in nature reminds us that we are still part of God's larger created order and He certainly is in control.

Keeping our souls and bodies healthy during stressful seasons is so crucial. If we gain the while world , but we lose our own souls or our children's souls, what have we gained? Nothing, obviously.

What are some ways of maintaining a healthy lifestyle that you have found during difficult times? I'm still right there learning daily.....

1 comment:

  1. Funny how you posted this on my first day of the last "youth pastor widow week" of this summer(as a saint from our church calls it...).

    Three things: 1 - I need to get enough sleep so I don't turn into a grumpy, impatient wife & mom. 2 - During stressful times we have a support system of family (biological and church) and friends who give us help, a shoulder and/or ear and prayer. 3 - "Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Learn now on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him and He will make your path straight." Proverbs 3:5