Tired in Ministry

Yesterday’s blog, “Tired” focused on how the Lord desires to restore our soul when we are just plain worn out. Well, what about if you are in some sort of ministry? What if you are the beat down, worn out Pastor or his wife? You know that people are counting on you, but you are the one that can’t get out of bed. Well my friend, you are not alone. I have watched my dear husband rejoice over salvations, baptisms, and life change of all sorts on a Sunday and barely be able to get out of bed on Monday morning. This isn’t so abnormal, you know…

Consider Elijah, an amazing prophet of God. (1 Kings 19) Elijah felt attacked on all sides. After an amazing victory where God showed up for him and defeated the prophets of Baal, you’d think he would be on top of the world. But for many in ministry, it’s right after a major victory that deep fatigue and even depression can set in. Elijah was no different. The evil queen Jezebel had just threatened to take his life “by this time tomorrow so help me!”. He was running for his life in a desert. He was tired, hungry and had just plain had it. And he had a few bones to pick. When I read this passage I feel like I can see the sweat covering his weary face. I can hear the beating of his heart and the breathlessness in his voice as he arrives to this spot.

Ever felt this way? Do you ever feel like you’re serving in ministry and yet it’s not turning out how you thought? Had a major victory recently and now you can’t move? Feel unappreciated? Attacked? Tired? You aren’t alone. Now, look at what God did.

vs. 4 Finally, he came to a large bush and sat down in its shade. He begged the Lord, “I’ve had enough. Just let me die! I’m no better off than my ancestors.” Then he lay down in the shade and fell asleep.

Suddenly an angel woke him up and said, “Get up and eat.” Elijah looked around, and by his head was a jar of water and some baked bread. He sat up, ate and drank, then lay down and went back to sleep.

Soon the Lord’s angel woke him again and said, “Get up and eat, or else you’ll get too tired to travel.” So Elijah sat up and ate and drank.

The food and water made him strong enough to walk forty more days.”

Don’t miss what God did here. It was so Fatherly. He recognized an immediate need and supplied for it. Elijah was hungry, so he gave him bread. He was thirsty, so he gave him water. He needed rest and so he gave him a large bush (in the desert) for shade and a nap.

Your heavenly Father also longs to meet your needs. If you’re tired, do you honestly just need to stop and sleep? I’ve had friends offer to come over so that I could just nap when one of my a new baby’s was born. What a blessing! Do you need to go on a walk and refresh? Take a day off? What’s your immediate need? God longs to meet it.

The story doesn’t stop there. God sustained Elijah for the next steps that were necessary: 40 more days of walking. Because, the journey wasn’t over. God still had a job for Elijah.

And if you woke up this morning, then God still has a job for you too!  As a Christian, when you lose, we all lose. So rest up! We’ve still got work to do.

 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me,  for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”       Matthew 11:28-30

About shannalehr

My name is Shanna Lehr. I'm blessed to be the wife of Scott Lehr and mother to Ella, Ava, Janie and Gracie Belle. I love to cook, travel, run, and spend time with my family. My life has been changed by Jesus and I love to share him with others. Stop back often and join the conversation by leaving a comment. I love to hear from you! You can connect with me on Twitter: @ShannaLehr
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4 Responses to Tired in Ministry

  1. Heidi Yocum says:

    Thanks for inviting me in to read your God-inspired thoughts. I connect with the tired but perhaps, I cling to the hope that is offered during Elijah’s walk and the revelation that occurs following the wait. Tiredness within me isn’t necessarily physical but a deflection of words to lieu of the real issue…the real issue being…I lost my focus of God. You know that I am a mental health junkie. I love the process of the brain and behavior and how God intervenes within and without all of that. I see Elijah as depressed, sick, tired, angry, irritated, anxious and frustrated. He lays down and says, “Fine. I am done. Take my life…cause that alternative is the only one I have left.” He was stuck within his own perspective, limited that it was. But, here comes God. He knew that He couldn’t reveal himself to Elijah in his current state. He wouldn’t hear it. He was ‘precomtemplative’ if you will…yep, that mental health field comin’ through again. A well-known psychologist, Diane Langberg, reminds counselors that there is a need to ‘wade through the muck and mire’ with a client before they are ready to hear another perspective. And that’s what I see God doing with Elijah…his forty day trek was a walk through muck and mire. But, at the end of the trek…he was ready to experience the new perspective of God.

    Seriously, verses 10-18 rock my world when I read them. At first ELijah, still wearing muck on his shoes, says to God…”I am the only one left. They are going to kill me!” Actually, I kind of envision Elijah yelling those words up to God, perhaps using a raised fist. In other words, “I have done everything you wanted me to. Have you no control over these guys who want to kill me! I am scared!”At first, I think he was kinda mad at God. But then, after God reveals himself to Elijah…the post-revelation, Elijah, fresh in the experiental power of God, responds the same way. But, I wonder if his tone had softened somewhat. I know mine would have.

    As ministers and pastors wives I think there is something to be gained from this story. Our initial feelings of tiredness, depression or anxiety often occur out of fear that God isn’t doing what He said He would do or isnt who He said He was. And our fear clouds our perspective. We want to stay in bed. we want to shut out the world. We want to give up. We fear what we don’t know, we fear what we think we know. We feel overwhelmed and question if God has even heard our cries. (haha…yes, WE make a lot of assumptions) But, sometimes, He calls us to wait…just like Elijah…walk those forty days in order to understand not only God but also ourselves. The waiting time opens our minds to see God more fully.

    And I did notice the irony of God telling Elijah to go back the way he came to find people who were still loyal to God? Yah, that’s so God. “Go on back to where you were Elijah. You didn’t think there was anyone faithful to me there…how about meeting 7,000 new friends? You think you know…you don’t know.” How’s that for a screwed up perspective? Sometimes our reactions cloud our eyes from seeing what has been in front of us all along. But, isn’t that the point of a journey? Even if it brings you back to your point of origination, the journey of wait through the muck and mire creates in you a new person…an individual with a fresh perspective of the Sovereignty of God.

    • shannalehr says:

      Heidi, just love your insights! Thank you so much for reading and sharing this wealth of knowledge from your background. I’m sure it will be a huge help to any who read this. 😉

  2. shannon says:

    you know Shanna… Nathan’s been asking me when we are coming over again to watch the girls.:))

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