I consider myself a glass half full kind of girl. Even when things don’t tend to be going my way, I find myself looking to the bright side of things.
That’s why it is a bit hard for me to admit this…ministry is hard right now. In some ways, there are great things going on right now. (See, I can’t even turn off my optimistic side.) We’ve been short staffed for over 6 months and programs are still running strong. We’ve had a big Fall…and it’s been good.
Programs aren’t what leave me struggling. I am overwhelmed by the pain and suffering that our students are experiencing right now. I don’t know what is so unique about this season but I have never in my years of ministry walked along students who are in the midst of this level of issues and pain. Some of this pain is self-induced and some is caused at the hands of others.
There are tons of great resources in the youth ministry world about helping hurting students. I am grateful for these resources but in the end they don’t really do the “work” for you. You and I, we still need to sit with the girl who just loss her dad to a sudden heart attack or talk with a parent about their child’s suicidal confessions. Doing the actual work of ministry is exhausting and overwhelming. These moments are hard. There is no easy way around them.
I guess typically, here is where I am suppose to turn the corner on this post, tell you 4 ways to deal with the “work.”
But I won’t. Because I don’t want to make light of suffering… Our students’ and our own suffering and pain.
What I do want to leave you with is the Beatitudes. I have decided to memorize them, hang them in my office and tape them to my bathroom mirror at home. Because I think as youth workers we need to remind ourselves that our only hope isn’t a helpful tip or a new program* but the promises of Jesus.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Praying these promises for my students and for us.
*Don’t get me wrong- I love good programs and helpful hints…and these things are an important part of being a youth worker. I just need to remind myself sometimes that they are not the end all to my ministry…or to the suffering of my students…But Jesus is