In the realm of ministry, how often do we, as pastors, feel something is wrong or off when we desire more appreciation in our lives? It can be common to think this is only selfish and unnecessary to desire. However, it can be healthy to consider what it looks like to maintain an in-check and full tank of appreciation. A healthy perspective will keep you in the right mental space when it comes to receiving encouragement. And it’s ok to desire it!
5 ways to stay in a healthy space when it comes to appreciation:
1. Narrow the access to your appreciation fuel tank.
Who currently has access to your “appreciation fuel tank?” In other words, how many people do you allow to assume the role of encouraging you and fueling your level of appreciation?
The truth is, it’s healthy and important to be shown appreciation and encouragement. But, as someone who leads from a platform, a lack of discernment in receiving these comments can lead to an overabundance from the entire church lobby! This will not be beneficial to you!
Instead, identify 2-3 people who have the gift of encouragement and who you also hold in high regard in your life. Allow these people access to your tank more than anyone else. Keep the pool small and simple.
2. Recognize the various ways people show appreciation.
We all have specific ways we enjoy being shown appreciation. Some of us feel most appreciated when our teaching style is noticed or when people notice our ability to discern and help couples. Sometimes, we feel appreciated when people notice our friendliness or the way we work hard to remember every person’s name.
If you ever feel a lack of appreciation in these specific ways, we want to encourage you today that people may be appreciating you in areas and in ways you are just not recognizing. A kind handshake, a simple note, or continuing to show up week after week are just a few other ways people are showing you the value you hold in their life.
Be on the lookout for how people may be trying to show you appreciation. It could be in different ways than you initially think! Gratitude is all around!
3. Take time to reflect on your purpose in Christ.
Your ministry role matters greatly, but you have invaluable worth in Jesus Christ just for being you, created in His image. He loves you, and He cares for you, so take time to find joy in this truth.
Know that Jesus sees immense value in you. And your purpose comes not in your work, not in your hustle, not in your ability to lead well, but in being the you He created. He sees value in you. The real you. The you no one else sees.
If nothing else, take comfort in the value you hold in the Savior’s eyes. He alone holds the opinion of you that matters, and His opinion of you is that you are loved, forgiven, and fully equipped for every good work He has purposed in you.
4. Be generous with your appreciation to others.
We can’t always control how others appreciate us, but we certainly can control how we appreciate others! You may have pastors who work for you, or perhaps pastors you look to for spiritual guidance. How are you appreciating them?
Leading by example in this way gives strong credibility. An attitude of gratitude is great, but actions of gratitude are even better. Find one person today and show them appreciation in a practical way. Too much gratitude will never hurt a person’s feelings. So go ahead, find that person and do something radical for them! They deserve it!
5. Look in the right direction.
Hebrews 12:2 reminds us to “look unto Jesus, the Founder and Perfecter of our faith.” If we get really truthful for a moment, we know Pastors will never be fully appreciated. The late night calls. The sermon preparation. The lonely times of hurt. The disappointment by people we loved and cared for. It all hurts and creates seasons where we feel ignored, forgotten, or undervalued.
So, what can you do in those discouraging times? Keep looking to Jesus. When you are not feeling valued, keep looking to Jesus. When you are hurt, keep looking to Jesus. When you are discouraged, keep looking to Jesus. Please, always keep looking to the Founder of our faith.
The value He sees in you is immensely more encouraging than anything you could ever receive from people. So keep looking in the right direction!