In the first part of this post we thought about the reality of almost constant discouragement in ministry. One part of our response to these things must be to look to God and press on. But then there is another side – look to God and renew.
Renewing ability to focus – Discouragement can easily steal focus from our lives. We might go through the motions and do what needs to be done, but do so without a real ense of focus and concentration. Ultimately this means we are not giving our best to God, family, ministry, etc. The ability to focus requires processing of discouragement and distraction with God (take time to pray through the issues and “cast your cares on Him”). Then there are other factors in focusing, simple ones like getting exercise (it helps the brain, endorphins and all that stuff), plus getting sleep.
Renewal of the EQ – Bill Hybels spoke a few years back about our EQ – our Emotional Quotient. He suggested that we’re quick to care for ourselves spiritually and even physically, but there are also the emotional needs that we have. Rest is important in multiple forms. Enough sleep. Days off. Times away from our normal role. Time with the family. Time alone. Time with friends to share the deep struggles. Time with friends to just unwind. Time to laugh and relax. I know you don’t have time for all this, neither do I. But if we don’t make the time then we will suffer and the EQ dial will start flashing warning lights at us.
Remember this – Loss of focus, discouragement, distraction, etc. are not a good excuse for sin. When our internal fuel tanks are low, temptation will usually hit us pretty hard. But sin will only compound the issues, not help us escape from them.
Being able to focus is important in any preaching ministry. What other tips can you share with us? What do you find helps you?