I am married to a youth pastor, as most of you know. Our days of youth ministry have changed drastically from when we first started. We began our first youth ministry job as an engaged/ newlywed couple and we did everything together. The kids were over at our house 2-3 nights a week, we were at the church at every opportunity and we did ministry as a team--most often the only adults present. At the next church we still didn't have children so we approached ministry in much the same way--involved in everything at the church, late night events, etc. Things began to change at the next church. I was pregnant when we began and my involvement was different from the very beginning. I tried to find ways to be involved and yet also to keep my priorities in front of me--my family. We would have teens over to the house, hold meetings there and would take different teens out to dinner, etc. Now that we have 2 children --and 2 little children at that--my involvement is very limited. I support my husband through prayer and encouragement. I can make food and offer my home, but that is really about it. My children are my top priority.
There are always things that happen in ministry that can cause you to lose heart. It is such a tough job! You watch your husband give and give and sacrifice family time and then what happens? Criticism. Judgment. You name it. Typically it occurs over something very small but then gets blown out of of proportion. Occasionally an encouraging word is spoken. Why is it that even if encouragement and criticism happen on the same day, you remember the criticism? The negative voices are simply the loudest. This is so true in life, isn't it? In a room full of 25 kids--if even one is talking--you notice because it is disruptive. You forget the 24 that are still paying attention. The one ruins it for everyone else.
I've been really thinking about this lately as we've had a few issues arise in our personal life. It keeps sticking with me. Then I began to think of the voices/ thoughts inside my own head. (Not like I hear voices--please understand!) I think I have expressed my own feelings of guilt over the loss of Callie. I think over and over about how I should have done things differently. I question the times I missed my progesterone pills or my vitamin. What about that time I fell? I should have spoken up when this happened.....I could have done this......the list goes on and on. Why is it that I have such a hard time telling myself that I couldn't have done anything differently. I had no control over this. It wasn't my fault. Yet as often as I say it....those thoughts come back. Again, the negative voices are the loudest.
I don't know what negative voices you are listening to these days but I want to challenge you to stop listening! Listen to the positive voices, the encouraging voice that tell you "You can do it." I promise it will change your outlook on the day and life!
2 Corinthians 10:5 "And we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ."