God is so funny. Don’t you think???
Lately and especially one night recently I felt so discouraged in ministry that I just wanted to quit it all – seriously. Do you ever feel like throwing in the towel?
Let me explain – I am slowly realizing that ministry is harder than I thought it would be. Unlike corporate America where I am looking at metrics, knowing where I am, planning, hitting deadlines and feeling a sense of accomplishment, it is not always that transparent in ministry. I can’t always see if what I am doing is really making a difference.
Every time I feel rejected or have the slightest negative interaction with someone, I just want to retreat. I think about going back to public work where I will have more financial security, positional authority, etc. The only reasons I don’t/can’t is due to various commitments I’ve made in different aspects of ministry that I am involved with for the next eighteen months.
In my despair, I wrote in my structured prayer journal in the “My Heart/My Passion” compartment, “I hope You have me “hemmed in” with these obligations so I can’t quit because You ARE working through me/my ministry”. Those two words, “hemmed in” stayed on my mind through the following morning, as I continued to cry out to God for encouragement. So God, with His funny sense of humor, “sent” me the following Twitter notification that very morning!
I literally laughed out loud and then cried with appreciation for His encouragement. God is so Awesome! @HemmedIn is my new friend and ministry colleague, Suzie Lind, whom I had recently started following, not realizing that @HemmedIn was her Twitter name. We are both contributors to the new Must-Follow Women’s Ministry Leaders Pinterest Board. God used her act of following me back as very bold answer to my prayer request for confirmation.
This phrase that I had been meditating on and God was obviously confirming, sent me back into His Word whence my real encouragement comes.
You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
What about you? Have you ever been whining in your prayer journal, only to receive a funny word from the Lord??? Isn’t He AWESOME???
Tomorrow, I will be sharing more from my experiences in prayer journaling.
I am participating in The Nester’s 31 Days of Writing. You can go here to keep up with my 31 day feature on structured prayer journaling.
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Award-winning author Gina Duke is a wife, mom and the Director of Women’s Ministry at her local church. With a B.S. in Organizational Leadership, she is able to bring a clear word for authentic Christian living. Through her book, “Organizing Your Prayer Closet: A New and Life-Changing Way to Pray” (Abingdon Press), she imparts 1 Peter 4:7 with the gift of structured prayer journaling. You may also follow her on Twitter and Instagram @TheGinaDuke.