We are all overwhelmed at one time or another. Life has many dynamics to it, and we are often stretched beyond what we think we can do and beyond who we are.
And this is certainly true in ministry, where others are looking to us for answers and solutions and wisdom. In those times we are vulnerable to discouragement.
But I’ve discovered six principles that have helped to frame the challenges of our days and I want to share them with you.
1. Lead with Generosity
History has shown that those who position themselves to bless others are leaders in the land. A opportunity that is open to any one of us at any time.
“They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity.” 2 Corinthians 8:2
Generosity comes from the outflow of our relationship with the Lord and is based on who He is rather than our circumstances.
Generosity is a hearts attitude that seeks to bless others. It is a way of being in the world that is a blessing that honors and pours over others.
How might you lead in generosity today?
2. Confess Fear
There are many things to be afraid of and many times we are frightened and shrinking back in fear.
Being afraid and fearful is normal. There are so many verses in the Bible about ‘do not fear’ that we see fear to be a pretty normal problem for all of us in our humanity.
Yet just as many times we find these words, “Do not fear”, and in John we find Jesus saying this,
“I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27
The way to access the peace of Jesus Christ is to simply confess our fear, “God I am afraid.”
Rather than trying to not be afraid, “I will not be afraid, I will not be afraid, I will not…” which never works by the way (we cannot talk ourselves out of fear), open honesty about our fear secures us in the covering of God and submits our reality to him.
When we are afraid we simply confess, “God I am afraid” and the peace of Christ can takes its place in our lives.
3. One Day at a Time
We can only live one day at a time, and it is important to discipline our minds and hearts to remain in that ‘one day at a time’. In Proverbs we find good advice about staying in today and not living forward into tomorrow with pride,
“Don’t brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring.” Proverbs 27:1
And in Matthew we find the same kind of advice but this time about worry,
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today” Matthew 6:34
Both of these verses tell us to simply live in today. The tasks for today are enough for today. The blessings of today are enough for today. And all we need for today we have today.
The grace for tomorrow we do not have yet, for it is not yet tomorrow.
We simply live in today – One day at a time.
4. Do with What We Have
While it is easy to think that we need this or must have more of that thing etc, we can in fact move forward with the present reality and resources more than we believe.
While there are certainly times of preparation and waiting on the timing of God, when it comes time to move forward or to stretch into that next thing, we do so regardless of what we think might be missing.
‘Doing with what we have’ works two ways.
One, we put to rest the reasoning that we cannot do such and such until we have this or that. We simply get on with the work regardless.
And two, we experience today in all its fullness. What we need we have, and what we have we fully utilize. No longer do we live out in the future when such and such will come to be.
Rather we find gratefulness and fulfillment in the here and now.
Doing with what we have is the secret to joy and contentment in the here and now. And we find this truth,
“And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” 2 Corinthians 9:8
5. Be Poured Out
The needs of hearts and souls around us are many. Oftentimes we are insufficient for them, but in the knowledge of God and of who he is, and because we have found him in our own lives, we can follow His lead and give of ourselves.
“So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.” Ephesians 1:6
Because of God’s pouring into us, we can pour into others. Much like a healthy stream of water that comes from one place and goes to another, the act of being poured out ensures that there is a flowing spring of the spirit through our beings.
We take in the grace of God and we pour it out to others.
6. It’s Not Our Work
We come to see that as we minister to others that it is not our work. We simply show up, and the Spirit works through us.
We therefore do not need allow overwhelm to stop us, or fear to hold us back. Rather, we can boldly love and speak and minister because it is really the work of God that makes the difference. We simply offer our lives to God’s touch. He does the rest.
“There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.” 1 Corinthian 12:5-6
These six things, 1. Lead in Generosity, 2. Confess Fear, 3. One Day at a Time, 4. Do with What we Have, 5. Be Poured Out, and 6. It’s Not Our Work, provide a framework that gives strength to our days and direction for how we might be in the world.
The influence of our lives has little to do with us, and it has everything to do with God. As we live out of who God is, rather than our circumstances, we will find strength and encouragement in our days.
God bless each of you mightily, may you know him a little better today.