When I write, I try to write about things that are going on in my ministry. If you want to know what kind of week I had all you need to do is read the blog posts by me and you can see what kind of week I had. I always try to write about things going on in my own ministry because in all honesty, I write because it helps me process and if it helps you too then that is awesome. I really do hope it’s helpful and practical. In the idea of being transparent with what happens in ministry, there are times in ministry where anxiety comes on strong.
You know what I am talking about (and if you don’t, then count your blessings) it’s the heaviness that comes on randomly at times. For me, I seem to get it right in my chest. I can feel it coming and sometimes it’s paralyzing. I don’t know what brings it on but I’m guessing for everyone it will be different.
If I am being honest, I think for me personally it stems with my own ability to pull of the things we plan. Do I trust in God to move? Of course I do and He always does. But I think it stems from my own lack of ability to believe in myself. It’s a lack of confidence as a leader to communicate clearly, lead effectively and really lead the size ministry that I have. At times, it’s overwhelming. At times I think, “Am I cut out for this?”
Is this just me? I doubt it.
So when that comes, what do we do?
Stop, pray, identify. When “that feeling” (whatever “that feeling” is for you) comes on, I just stop what I am doing. I take a moment and I pray to God. I am reading Emotionally Healthy Leadership and it says to identify what is the source of this feeling and to identify where it is on your body, and to identify the feelings you are feeling. Surprise… it works. Shocker. Knowing where it is coming from, where it is in your body and giving it to God in that moment is an amazing feeling.
Make a list. I don’t know if it just my thing, but making a list of what I need to do helps so much. The app Wunderlist is my saving grace when it comes to feeling overwhelmed. I can right down all of the things I need to do and the best feeling in the world is seeing everything and then being able to check it off when it’s done (it even makes a little sound when you do, and it is so satisfying).
I read Matthew 6:25-34. I almost got this part of the Bible memorized now because I seen to read this passage a lot. Jesus warns us against being anxious about the various cares of this life. Using examples from God’s creation, Jesus teaches that our Heavenly Father knows our needs and cares about them. He says God knows what we need before we even know what we need. How comforting is that? Rather than worry over things we cannot control, we should “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things [the necessities of life] will be added to you” (verse 33). Putting God first is a cure for anxiety.
We may not be able to prevent anxious thoughts from entering our minds, but we can practice the right response.
I really don’t think I am alone in this. If you are a leader of any sort, you will get “that feeling”, whatever that is, and you will need to learn how to deal with it. I hope this is of some help for when that feeling does come.