Do you ever feel like you are in the middle of a hard season, and you aren’t handling it well? Maybe your mind is going there right now. You are thinking of specific stories during that time in your life and you wished you would have handled _______ differently. This happens to all of us.
Each season gives us things to learn for the next one. Prayerfully, we grow and find what might work next time. We all want to walk through life in a more healthy manner. Our heart for Fathom Family Foundation is to walk alongside pastors in seasons just like this. When life is hard and overwhelming, we do not want pastors to walk through them alone.
The statistics of people walking away from ministry are so daunting. The burnout levels are extremely high, but the need for these people in our communities is MASSIVE! We desire that pastors, ministry leaders, and their families are healthy and can lead people to freedom and hope in Christ.
I recently attended a conference for pastors and ministry leaders and one of the sessions was titled, “5 Healthy Practices to Live Well in Your Season.” This struck a chord with me. As a person in ministry, it is easy to find yourself existing and not living well. I am still unpacking the content that was shared and have been applying what was taught. Pastors Matt and Sarah Keller lead this ministry and it is so life giving. Being a part of their network family has breathed life into my husband and I as we were walking in seasons of transition, seasons of sadness, seasons of joy, and everything in between. I wanted to share his 5 tips with you because of how much it has helped me.
“Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved. I entreat Euodia, and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness (gentleness) be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me —- practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
Five Healthy Practices to Live Well in Your Season
- Practice Healthy Relationships – This is so important. At the beginning of this Philippians scripture passage, I love how Paul starts out talking about fixing a relationship between two people in the body. Simply put, we need each other. How many times have you had to walk through hard seasons AND do it alone? Loneliness is real, and so many people suffer with it. It is not fun. When we practice having healthy relationships, everything else runs better. Who do you need to intentionally reach out to today to practice healthy relationships?
- Practice Rejoicing – PHEW! This one hits home, right? How are we supposed to rejoice in a season that we think we have nothing to rejoice about? This is just reframing your perspective, because all we have to do is look at the headlines for two minutes of what is going on in our world to see that we don’t have so much to rejoice over. Our world tells us that we have nothing to celebrate, but the Bible tells us that the “joy of the Lord is your strength.” When we give this over, we are losing joy. We are losing His strength. Where can you rejoice today? Look around.
- Practice Gentleness – If you were to take a quick poll you would discover that all people would say they could stand to be more gentle. In our culture it is not exactly something that we practice. The opposite of gentle is the way of life for most people. Gentleness is often seen as weakness. This is speaking of gentleness in our demeanor, expression, and tone. Maybe try asking yourself this simple question, “could that be said of me?” Verse 5 says to let it be known of everyone. Does everyone (or even anyone) say that I am gentle? This is the way of Jesus. When you boil it down and think of all your relationships it is really convicting. Gentleness is one of the fruits of the Spirit . . . this is something that we should be working towards. How can you be more gentle today?
- Practice Alleviating Anxiety – Another hard one. Is this list going to have anything that is a simple task? We are surrounded by anxious people and anxiety-driven situations. Our culture truly has an epidemic of anxiety. It is crippling. Verse 6 makes it sound so easy, but it can be very hard to not be anxious. This is a tool of the enemy to get us distracted and anxious because in the very next verse we are promised the peace of God if we will give all of our anxieties to the Lord. I know that each person has very different things in their lives that causes anxiety, so I am not saying this is easy. I am saying that God wants to hold it for you. He has peace He wants to give you. How can you practice alleviating anxiety in your day? Maybe you should memorize Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
- Practice Proper Thinking – 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to “take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.” What does that even mean, you ask? Well, the power of our thoughts is SO strong, and we need to take them captive. We need to stop believing the lies of the enemy. We have so many thoughts each day, and I am sure if we took a count we would realize that a lot of them are negative. I am going to list out the things we are supposed to be thinking about according to Philippians 4:8 and ask that you take a few minutes to think on things like this. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Wow! When I stop and think how often my thoughts are derailed each day and the fact that I do not often take them captive, it is a lot, right? What thoughts are you holding onto or speaking over your current situation? How can you change that?
Verse 9 is SUCH a promise. 9 “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Who doesn’t want God’s peace? Who doesn’t NEED God’s peace? We all do!
This teaching was so powerful for my life. It is so easy to get caught up in the stresses of our everyday life. I am praying that these practices will help you as well. Maybe you just want to focus on one practice at a time. Let’s do it together, friends!
Written by: Taran Nelson. Taran is the Executive Director of Fathom Family Foundation. She and her husband, Rev. Kyle, live and pastor in Jacksonville, FL with their three children.