There is a paradox between the strength and fragility of the human soul. As pastors, we know its vulnerability and suffer at the thought of lost and depraved souls. We rejoice when souls reach toward salvation and cling to life, exhorting our people to tend their spirits carefully and hold tight to hope. We pray our friends and congregants will choose grit and determination in adversity. Often, however, we push hard toward rehabilitating and resuscitating others’ souls while neglecting our own. In this, we risk waking up one morning and realizing we have nothing left.
The last few years were hard. We faced traumas that were unprecedented in our lifetimes. The face of the world and the face of ministry suddenly looked very different, and we’re still tired. As spiritual first responders, we raced around placing metaphorical emergency oxygen masks on everyone else, sometimes forgetting the instructions to fit ourselves with those masks first. But you are too important to let this keep happening. The kingdom needs you healthy, happy, and fully restored. It’s time to claim your inheritance; assert your resilience.
The following five points come from John Eldredge’s book Resilient:
- No More Band-Aids.
Whether you face fear cycles, the loss of control, technology addiction, the overwhelming nature of national and global news, social and political tensions, financial stress, loss, empathy fatigue, or feel overtaken by hundreds and thousands of tiny disappointments, the reality is that nothing will fix the problem(s) other than Jesus. You may feel like you need a vacation, but really you need a nice long dip in the River of God. So what is the status of your reserves? To what or whom are you looking for reprieve?
- Keep Your Head—Jesus Still Rules.
The result of trauma (whether big or small) is mental and spiritual fragmentation. Yet, Jesus desires for us to live lives of wholeness, fully re-integrated into complete holiness and purity. As the constant barrage of injustice and upheaval threatens to overwhelm us, we must remember that “the story of God is still the story of the world (pg. 21).” Jesus still reigns. What is the story you are telling yourself?
- You are Strong Enough to Thrive.
The powers of hell are out to get us. The enemy of our souls is roaming around, trying to convince us to quit. Stop when you must and get your bearings. Remember that the God of Hosts is on your side. Regardless of their reality, depression, vulnerability, weakness, exhaustion, disillusionment, stress, and overwhelm are all temptations you can overcome. Claim your supernatural endurance and power: the Spirit of God lives in you. Are you operating out of the daily knowledge and emboldening of Christ-in-you?
- Scarcity is a Lie.
God promises plenty; kingdom vision keeps the dream of Eden alive. Remember the wedding feast at Cana—as Jesus turned water to wine, he proved that “God has the ability to overcome shortage and deprivation with overwhelming abundance (pg. 67).” While the world shouts “more!” and we stare at empty grocery shelves, it is easy to sink into the primal fear of not-enough, but that is an outright lie. Our God is the Father of all good gifts and takes care of his children. Do you believe at your core that God will provide for you?
- Leave No Pockets of Resistance.
100% surrender to Jesus will protect you. The enemy cannot undermine it. We must return to a place of single-mindedness and whole-heartedness. Release the world, guard your heart, and intentionally feed on Jesus—the source of all life. When you remain attentive and fully submitted to God, you will know how to reject every false savior and push back against every seduction. Take hold of your thought life and refuse all speculation. Ask the Lord for help, be still, and listen. Do you need to relinquish any pieces of life to the Spirit of God today?