When feeling discouraged in ministry

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” – Revelation 12:11 (KJV)

I so easily feel discouraged.

Lately I find myself almost dreading speaking engagements, instead of thoroughly anticipating them with excitement. The reason? Because I wonder if the message I’m sharing will touch hearts at all.

It doesn’t seem to matter in those moments that I’ve heard encouraging feedback from people. I automatically seem to push aside any positive feedback and think, “They’re just saying that to be nice.”

Apparently, I’ve forgotten that it’s not my job to touch every single heart every single time.

All I’m supposed to do is faithfully share the story God has given me to share. He is the only One who can touch hearts.

And He will touch them, because His word does not return void — but He’ll touch the hearts how, when, and where He decides to.

Today as I was praying about this, and asking God to restore the joy and anticipation of speaking, I remembered Revelation 12:11. In that verse, we are shown to be overcomers because of two things:

1) The word of our testimony. I tend to think this is the story we’ve been given, of how God has changed our lives. It made me think again: All I’m called to do is share that story. That’s the extent of my job here.

2) The blood of the Lamb. The heavy lifting is all God. He’s the only One who can change hearts. I need to point to Him and trust that He is so big that my smallness doesn’t matter at all.

And then the verse says they didn’t love their lives too much — they were willing to give them up, even unto martyrdom, to make the Lord known.

And that’s the other key here: Maybe I get discouraged because I’m too worried about what people will think of me.

Maybe the real reason I’m afraid hearts won’t be changed, is because I’m afraid people will think I’m a fraud if they’re not changed.

But it doesn’t matter what people think of me. That just means I’m loving my life too much. 

Here’s what I mean by that: It’s good to love and enjoy the lives we’ve been given. What this verse means is that we should love God so much more than anything else in this world, that we’re willing to give up everything for Him.

When we love God that much, it doesn’t matter what people think of us or our ministry. All that matters is that we point people to Him.

And that’s all I need to do here. Point to the only One who can change a life.

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