If you were to take an inventory of your level of anxiety, what would you find? What circumstances, struggles, or relationships are elevating anxiety over peace in your life? As pastors, the list can be extensive. A typical week can max out your capacity for relational strain, leadership challenges, family dynamics, oh–and don’t forget to prep your sermon!
We cycle through our weeks, trying to maintain as much balance as possible, but if we’re honest, the weight of pastoral leadership can quickly become burdensome if we let it grow to an unhealthy or unsustainable level.
If you’re in this place, it’s time to pause and be reminded of three simple, but powerful, truths.
- It is possible to live a life driven by peace over anxiety.
Everyone wants this to ring true in their lives, but it’s only those who are willing to put the work in to pursue it who experience the richness of its reality. Orienting your life around peace takes effort! You won’t drift there. The cares of the world will make sure you drift elsewhere. What practices are you putting into place to create space for peace over anxiety in your life? How much time do you spend staring at a screen–whether it’s a computer, TV, phone, video game, etc.? How much time do you spend talking with God? How much time do you spend listening to God? Is the voice of God loudest in your life? Do you implement fasting practices? Each of these questions is an indicator of whether the trajectory of your presence is one of peace or anxiety. Don’t take them lightly.
- Your standards come from God, not this world.
Our Creator not only cares more than the world ever could about who you are, but He has a better way of operating than the world does. He knows what you need. He understands the intricate details of your heart. And it’s His standard that ultimately matters. So, before you chase the wrong standards, remind yourself of this truth daily. Your job is not to become the world’s definition of a celebrity pastor. Your job is not to grow a megachurch at all costs. Your job is to be faithful with the work God has given you, knowing He has equipped you to accomplish this.
- You need community.
Loneliness is real. It’s a very present factor in our society. And it’s damaging our souls. Do not attempt to navigate your anxiety alone. Who are you inviting in to walk with you? If a trusted friend, family member, or mentor doesn’t come to mind, reach out to a professional in this area. The very presence of the Trinity–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–is an ever-present reminder that if our God lives in eternal community, surely we must too!
As you begin to remind yourself of these truths, meditate on this today:
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7