Managing My Emotional Life
It happens in the life of every leader. Pain. Disappointment. Failed expectations. Betrayal. Unexpected set backs. Unrealized dreams. One day everything is rolling along with some degree of success and speed. The next day, you find yourself bent over as if you have just been punched in the gut.
The wind is knocked out of you. Everything within you wants to quit. But it’s Saturday afternoon and tomorrow, you have to get up and speak. So you process the pain as quickly as you can to be able to survive another weekend. But the nagging sense of despair begins to settle into your soul.
Weeks go by. More hits arrive. The despair deepens. But the show must go on.
I spend a good part of my week coaching and encouraging pastors and leaders from around the country. This is a story that could be told over and over again. Details and names might change. But the reality of the emotional toll that ministry takes on the life of a leaders is a fairly common story.
Here’s an observation that I will make. My ability to process, recover, and be restored from my own emotional pain is a make-or-break skill when it comes to leading in ministry. If you don’t learn how to process your own pain, you will end up stalling out at that very point of impact. But if you learn how to take your pain to God and be restored, the pain of the moment doesn’t have to stop you, it can actually propel you into a stronger state.
#1 – BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF AND WITH GOD
It all starts by pouring your heart out to God and not holding back. If it hurts, tell Him. If you don’t understand, ask Him. Don’t just grin and bear it. Unload it on the Lord.
#2 – MEDITATE ON HIS PROMISES
God will speak healing to you in the form of a Biblical promise. Read the Word to gain and specific ‘revelation’ about your situation. Then sit down and write out your thoughts and reshape your perspective based on His Word.
#3 – IDENTIFY THE ROOT
Every disappointment has a root cause. There is something in you that is not aligned with God’s best. Something of pride or insecurity that needs to die. What is it that this offense has touched.
#4 – SURRENDER YOUR RIGHTS TO GOD
Once you hit the root issue = then surrender it. Die to it. Put it on the altar. Let it go. Trust God with the results. Let Him take over the defense of your heart.
#5 – DO THE NEXT RIGHT THING
God will then give you very simple obedience steps that you are to take. They will be obvious and direct. Obey your way out of your pain. Your obedience will reinforce your surrender.
#6 – PLEASE GOD AND CARE ABOUT PEOPLE
Just go back to the basics. Enjoy God’s presence and His pleasure over your obedience. Get your eyes off of yourself by loving someone who is unloved or forgotten.
#7 – RE-ADJUST YOUR EXPECTATIONS AND TRUST AGAIN
Get a little wiser about who you trust and what you expect. But with your wisdom don’t lose your willingness to take risks on yourself and on others.
When it happens again, and it will, repeat the process. There is no reason why you should stay stuck in an emotional divot. Get up. Move on. Let God lead you forward.