Monday, October 19, 2015

Monday Blues: To work or not to work?

Monday always comes. Whether you are a pastor, musician, volunteer, or church-goer, Monday comes. And if you've been 'on duty' Sunday, you'll probably feel some level of exhaustion. Maybe depression. Maybe crankiness. Maybe numbness. Lack of motivation. Lack of a good attitude, perhaps? Your post-Sunday feelings don't reflect how good you are in ministry or how spiritually mature you are. Many of the most famous, well-known and gifted pastors and evangelists have shared their bouts of depression and difficulty. We should not be ashamed of being worn out after a day of ministry; Monday Blues comes and goes with the work of ministry. It's our bodies' responses to the hormonal fluctuations that come with Sunday's spiritual warfare.

So what to do with Monday? Is it a good day to work? Or a good day to take a day off? If you're bi-vocational or a volunteer in ministry, you probably don't have a choice. You pull your boot straps up, put on your hat, and away you go to your day job so that you can pay your bills and afford to do ministry. It isn't easy, but you do it anyway because that's what you have to do for your family and your church.

 But if you're in ministry full time, what do you do? Some folks find that making Monday their day, so they can rest and recoup,  works best for them. They can chill out on their day off and get ready for a new week. But others feel like that's selfish -it takes away a good day from their family time and leaves the family with the worst, most unhappy part of the week. If you take off  Monday, do you work Friday and Saturday?

If you take off of work on Saturday, can you compartmentalize enough to avoid thinking about work to concentrate on family? Or do you need to work Saturday to prepare for Sunday?

My question is this: do we plan our weekly schedule around the feelings that we know are going to happen on Monday, around the needs of the church, or around the needs of our family? Or somehow find a way to balance all three?

Friday, October 16, 2015

Thought for Thursday

"Have you been asking God what He is going to do? He will never tell you. 
God does not tell you what He is going to do; 
He reveals to you who He is."
-Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)

Worship Tip Wednesday:When the Feeling Doesn't Flow

I would love to say that every worship service we all felt perfectly in tune to God, delightfully communing with Him, feeling His presence, His peace, His love. But the reality is, we are all human. And sometimes, the feelings just don't flow.

Worship feels empty. 
Or maybe dry. 
Or void because we don't like the songs. 
Or maybe we are caught up in the songs and forget to worship. 
And our feelings for God just don't flow. 
Maybe we're tired or stressed or distracted by the hard notes or the verse we just forgot. Or maybe we had a fight with our spouse, yelled at our kids, forgot to charge our tablets and ran out of coffee for breakfast. Maybe we are grieving the loss of a job or a loved one or we are losing hope. And those feelings of worship just can't flow. 

But it's ok.

It's ok to feel that way, because we are human, And it's ok to feel that way because we have a great big God who can carry all those troubles. And it's ok to feel that way, because our feelings don't change God. No matter how we feel, He is worthy. No matter how big or small, happy, sad, dry, or filled up we feel, no matter how dispassionate or passionate or utterly confused we might be feeling, God is worthy of our praise. 

So it's ok. It's ok to stand up and sing with tear-stained cheeks, or a broken heart. 
It's ok to stand up and sing when you feel empty because is still the one who fills us up and He is worthy. 
It's ok to feel lonely. Tired. Dried up. Burnt out. 
Because God rewards those who earnestly seek Him. 

We can praise God no matter what, because God's Word tells us how good He is, because His past work in our lives reminds us that God isn't finished with us or our lives, or our friends and our families. We can keep on singing - even when we don't feel it - because we know that God is good, and He will be faithful even when times are hard.

My prayer for me, my prayer for you, is that when we don't feel like singing, when we don't feel like worshipping, or leading the congregation, or when everything feels tired and dry and you can relate more to zombies than angels, that God will show us His grace. I pray we see His unending, undeserved grace to help us rely on what we know about God so that we can worship Him on the good days and hard ones. 

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