Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as you are already doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
“In ministry, I have found that our own thoughts can be quite dangerous. We start second-guessing what we should have done, what should have been said, what could have been changed, or why we did one thing over another. The quiet times mulling over our thoughts can create sadness, discouragement, and sometimes even anger.”
This. From a fellow student of ministry in an ordination class I am taking. A class that for several weeks I have struggled to keep up with honestly. I’ll admit it. A class I am struggling not to fail.
This student had described exactly what I had been wrestling: loneliness, worry that I had goofed up, doubt. This need to have it all together. And, then the desperate want to just fall apart.
As pastors and shepherds, we are called to encourage. To guide. To lead others to know Jesus and His love in a way they have never known.
Yet, there are days I feel deeply discouraged and terrified that if I say the wrong thing I’ll guide and lead someone astray.
As His ambassadors of love, we are givers of grace, forgiveness, and apologies that we often have to swallow to give when we are the ones who have been hurt, because after all we are that “Christian pastor.” When what we want to do is scream at the abuser, lash out at the persecutor, or just plain scream at God for allowing the hurt at all.
We love even when it doesn’t make sense. And, most of the time it doesn’t make sense. Because it didn’t make sense for Jesus, either. And, we desperately want others to know this kind of love.
We follow His will despite doubt, fear, intimidation, and the flaming arrows of Satan.
And, on top of that we worry about every conversation. The devil beats us down about every flaw. He does one heck of a number on our heads. And, we often have very few we can talk to, because most look to us for the wisdom.
It’s lonely out here.
So, we offer the encouragement we so need ourselves.
For me…it’s twofold. Not only am I a shepherd. I also have the role as a counselor to children as my “day job.” I am looked to as their guide. The one to provide sound advice. Steer them in the right direction. Provide them with the “right” tools. Be an encourager. Sometimes even just safety, security, and even love.
But, I agonize over whether that guidance was right? What triggered that meltdown that I didn’t catch in time? Did I make a decision that may have caused hurt? Said something that triggered some emotional response?
Worried that one misstep could royally mess them all up.
It’s lonely out here.
But, the children still need guidance. Safety. Security. Love.
So, the encourager uses the words she needs to hear herself.
Can I offer a little advice? From a pastor? A counselor? A never-ending encourager?
If you have a champion in your life, throw that champion a floatie. Offer some words of encouragement for all those times they have saved you.
Because, it’s lonely out there. And, well…sometimes the encouragers need a little saving, too.
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10